Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than Emperors.

The above quote is attributed to Mary Cantwell (a writer for The New York Times) and I think it totally describes DB and his relationship with the garden.

*Another quote I found that also perfectly describes DB and his relationship with the garden is: A garden is never so good as it will be next year – Thomas Cooper*

It’s true – DB dreams big, big dreams when it comes to the garden. Sometimes, they end in spectacular failure (our attempt at seeding broccoli using just a fluorescent light, the 180 onions we planted last year to net 1 edible onion the size of a golf ball…) but most of the time, he’s totally justified in dreaming big.

We’re well on our way to getting all of our big plans for the year underway. Here’s a bit of a garden tour/update.

The raspberries are starting to fruit, which is very exciting. We spent a good hour or so last weekend digging up the bermuda grass between the plants and filling the gaps with garden soil. (Note to self: Do this when you plant the bushes next time. Much easier that way.) We still need to mulch the entire bed or we’ll never be able to control the bermuda, but at least we’ve made a start! We’ve also discussed building a little lip around the raspberry bed, but that has been put on the “Get done at some point before we die” list, not the “Get done before LB goes to college” list.

They're not red yet, but they will be!

The hops are growing crazy – one of the sets of vines has reached the roof of the shed and now needs to be trained to grow back down. Hopefully we get enough  to do at least one batch of fresh hopped with BCB hops beer. At the rate they’re growing, I’m pretty sure that it’ll happen.  We still need to replace the one plant that died last year, but we haven’t gotten around to ordering a new rhizome from Northern Brewer. Add another item to the “before we die” list…

Look at all that potential delicious bitterness!

We got our tomatoes in about 2 weeks ago. DB was convinced that they were all going to die (have I ever mentioned that he’s an apocalyptarian?) but they seem to have rallied from a slight case of transplant shock. The red discs are Tomato Craters, which we are trying for the first time this year. The other rings are my own invention and one of which I am very proud. My dad puts rings of sheet metal around his plants – cheap and durable but very, very dangerous, particularly if you’re going to have LB toddling around in the garden at some point. So I got the awesome idea of cutting 5 gallon buckets into rings. The buckets are about $4 at Home Depot and you can get at least 2 if not 4 rings out of each one, depending on how tall you want them. They make it super easy to water and fertilize, although you do have to be careful not to drill holes in your dirt with the stream.

Looks like I may not have to eat crow after all...

We got our first couple pepper plants put in last Saturday. We went up to this family-run nursery near our house that had awesome plants and a very impressive cultivar selection last year, only to be disappointed with this year’s selection. So we got 2 Red Knights, 2 Orange Bell, and 2 jalapeno just to get our bed started and will have to commence the driving around to a million stores to find the fancy varieties DB craves…  Also in this bed are our beans. We remembered to innoculate them and plant them eye down (so they can see where they’ve been, of course) but DB planted his a little deep. All of my beans came up within a week. His beans took a little bit longer and popped up just when we were getting ready to sow another crop. (He has since been taken off seed planting duty. For someone who can look at something and tell you that it’s 3/8″ not 1/4″, he has a hard time planting things only 1/2″ deep.)

We got our melons going, too. (Busy weekend, no?) While I love watermelons, DB does not. So we planted personal-sized seedless melons to keep me from drowning in watermelon. We also planted personal-sized cantaloupes (although they’re actually muskmelons, but whatever. Nobody in America seems to make the distinction…). We had these last year and they were so good! And it was nice having melons of a size that you could eat the whole thing in one sitting if you wanted; sometimes with the larger melons, you’re stuck with leftovers that go bad before you can finish them.

I have big dreams for you, tiny melon seedling!

And finally these are our cucumber seedings. The ones on the right are the Marketmore 76 and the ones on the left are Piccolino. Oftentimes, when you buy crazy cultivars, you don’t get a ton of seeds for your money. So when you have a less than stellar germination rate, you’re faced with a dilemma: do you shell out another $0.70 a seed to try it again with your swanky cultivar or do you buy a packet of cheap, run of the mill seeds at Lowe’s and just be grateful to have vegetables? I think we’ll look for unique cucumber seedlings when we’re on our quest for DB’s mythic peppers and go the Lowe’s route as a last resort.

Unfortunately, the Piccolinos didn't do so well.

This isn’t actually even the whole garden. I didn’t want to make this post so long no one would ever read it (epic fail on that count, BrewsterMama) so I skipped the okra, the beets, the carrots, the shallots, the onions, and the leeks. I told you DB dreams big!

But, as he keeps telling me, half the fun of growing things is giving them away. If that’s the case, we’ll have plenty of fun this summer. 🙂

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