It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season. ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
I was so happy to begin thinking about my Wee Kitchen Garden after a long, hard winter! As my first season last year was such a difficult gardening year (far, far too much rain and nobody’s gardens did well), I looked forward with renewed hope to Season 2. Although there were trials last year, there were also great successes and I was also anxious to take the lessons I’d learned from last year to see how I might improve my gardening success.
The first priorities on the agenda were to amend my soil and to put up a bunny barrier. We have quite a number of rabbits in the area, but it wasn’t until my fall greens started coming in that the dwatted wabbits found my garden patch and promptly mowed my beautiful greens to the ground.
Since I want to wait until I know how much I’d like to expand the garden before putting up a permanent fence, I bought some short green wire rabbit fencing and put that around the perimeter of the garden, using my original fence posts and adding some short metal posts for support. Knowing that rabbits are pretty sly little garden thieves, I also bought some steel tent spikes to secure the bottom edge of the wire into the ground. That fencing isn’t going anywhere. And I have seen rabbits hopping around the outside trying to figure out how to break in. So far, so good.
Last year I started the garden with top soil and mushroom compost from the Monterey Mushroom plant. A friend gave me several bags of horse manure, but they weren’t aged enough to use. After having left the bags out to age a bit last year, once I cleaned out the garden in November, I put that manure in and mixed it thoroughly with the soil to further age over the winter.
In April I added peat moss and vermiculite for moisture absorption and aeration, then added more soil and some fish emulsion (which is the stinkiest stuff in the world but a great natural fertilizer).
You may remember my Wee Kitchen Garden Shed from last year? It’s a pie safe that I painted and converted to hold my gardening tools. Even after being stored in our barn for the winter, it needed a bit of touch-up paint and to be resealed. I used a new product being advertised by Rust-Oleum® called NeverWet. It is pretty unbelievable. The water bead up on it and runs right off.
Since I plant by the signs, I waited for a while before getting my garden planted. Last year I used only seeds I started, but this year I added a few plants I’d purchased. We had a particularly harsh winter and I lost nearly all of my herbs. The rosemary and thyme all died. The sage was the lone healthy survivor, with the oregano struggling to come back (and still struggling). One little bunch of chives survived, too. So I removed the oregano to a pot, since it wanted to take over the bed last year; I also planted new rosemary in a pot. The new bed has German and lemon thyme, more chives, cilantro, parsley, sage, basil, and dill.
Here’s the new herb bed:
Of course, I’m growing squash and zucchini. It is pretty tall already and beginning to bloom:
The radishes are thriving:
The spinach is beautiful and I have already clipped baby leaves for us to eat:
The peppers are all blooming, the peas and cucumbers are climbing their trellises, and I have baby green tomatoes!
The weather has been ideal, cool nights followed by not blisteringly hot (yet) days, and just the right amount of rainfall (I have had to water a few times). It’s just been a joy. A total joy to me to be out there in my little patch of heaven.
Mr. Saucy and I will walk down in the evenings and sit in some chairs I have inside the fence and just enjoy being with growing things. I hop up every few seconds to pull an errant weed, or the train a cucumber to the trellis, or to pet my plants and encourage them to grow and flourish. So far, they are listening. *wink*