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22 March 2011
Ode to Spring
the Great Garden Experiment continues

eat more kale!
eat more kale!

I could not be more excited about the arrival of Spring. Even though we didn't have nearly as brutal a winter as last year, there's still an exquisite pleasure in witnessing the renewal this season brings.

Continued experiments
This year's garden experiment continues some of last year's endeavors, like start seedlings in the basement, in all manner of recycled containers. (I didn't get a chance to snap any pics, but just imagine a small army of greek yogurt containers sprouting tomato and pepper seedlings.)

raised beds raised beds, view from the street
Last year's raised beds did well and will be put to good use again this year.

I'm always on the lookout for free supplies, and am a frequent visitor to the City of Falls Church's free leaf mulch pile. There are also a ton of great places to get free (or nearly-free) seeds, including events like Rooting DC and Washington Gardener Magazine's annual seed swap, or organizations Wintersown.org and the America the Beautiful Fund.

The lawn takeover continues, little by little. I forgot to take a "before" picture, but handily enough, Google Maps hasn't refreshed its image of my yard since about 2009, so here's a snapshot from a much greener time of year:
street view, spring 2009
here's the street view from January:
street view, Jan 2011
and here's a view from the house in March:
yard view from the house

Besides the additional raised beds, the bushes near the mailbox and around the center island have been removed to make way for herbs and veggies, and there are two new "lasagna" beds in the main part of the front yard.


New experiments

sprouting garlic
I planted some garlic in November, and it seems to be coming along nicely. It should be ready to harvest in June, about time for the tomatoes to take over this bed.

potato grow bags
I really wanted to plant potatoes, so I splurged on some potato bags. Blue and purple taters went in this past weekend.

wintersowingwintersowingI thought I'd try wintersowing this year. The concept is putting seeds out over the winter in little mini-greenhouses. Supposedly they sprout once the weather gets nice enough, and are hardier than plants started inside. So far some items have sprouted, some not yet; will see how the seedlings do in comparison with their pampered inside brethren.

raspberriesI put in some raspberry & blueberry bushes, right out front! I'm simultaneously excited and terrified by this prospect. I fully expect a scene from Hitchcock's "The Birds" to play out in my front yard, but if there are any berries left for the humans, it should be pretty cool.

lasagna bedI'll do a separate post on my lasagna bed project. No, I'm not growing lasagna in the garden; the term refers to a no-till method of layering materials to create garden beds.

Along with the lawn takeover comes a renewed interest in edible landscaping. This includes putting out attractive veggies like nagoya kale  (pictured at the top of this post) front and center alongside traditional flowers, or mixing blueberries with alyssum.

I'm going to try to post some pics each month, so you can see how the garden is progressing. Here's a snapshot of what's growing now:

leeks return of the chives tarragon  thyme and oregano
leeks, started indoors in January returning chives tarragon thyme and oregano
cilantro overwintered kale mystery items mystery items
cilantro overwintered kale mystery items

* browse all garden posts
* view all garden pics
* City of Falls Church free leaf
* Wintersowing resources
Wintersown.org | A Garden for the House | 
Dirty SC8 
* lasagna gardening
* edible landscaping/lawn replacement
Rosalind Creasy | Edible Front Yards |
Lawn Reform Coaltion 
* Rooting DC
* Washington Gardener Magazine
* America the Beautiful Fund

If you enjoyed this post, please help us spread the word!


Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments
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Re: Ode to Spring
I look forward to seeing updates on your garden as the season progresses. I am particularly interested in hearing how the garlic and blue & purple potatoes evolve, as I have never tried raising those myself. My sister-in-law grew potatoes for the first time last year and said that they are pretty low-maintenance. Yay, spring!!!
Posted by mary on March 23, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Re: Ode to Spring
Good to know, thanks Mary! I'm all about low-maintenance veggies. :) So far the garlic has fit that bill, and hopefully the taters will too. I'm growing lots of dill as well, so I predict some nummy potato salad in our future.
Posted by sonia on March 24, 2011 at 1:55 PM

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