We had amazing April weather here in central Indiana, allowing farmers to get most corn fields planted, and gardeners to do their thing before this current stretch of cool, rainy weather set in to begin May. I’ve seeded over 130 varieties of perennials, herbs, flowers and vegetables for my new potager. Add to that the wholesale berry and perennial plants I ordered (the reason I kept my business license and am doing shows for a while); the plants I moved from the farm, and the bulbs planted last fall, and it’s nearing 300. Over 3,000 seedlings have already moved through the basement and my little hobby greenhouse. You can see some of the flats hardening off on benches outside the greenhouse in the above photo, and some plants are already in the raised beds. Three thousand doesn’t seem like much to me, since I’m used to doing that many seedlings in less than a week, but retirement is supposed to be downsizing, isn’t it? It’s rather like learning to cook for two, after all the kids suddenly leave home. You’re going to eat lots of leftovers. Fortunately, our little garden club is having a plant sale May 21st, so I can move the surplus. There just won’t be room for all of them in my potager.
Here’s how it looked as May began. Most of the beds in the potager are filled with early crops. All of them have been mulched to prevent weeds and to hold moisture. The few empty spaces are for the eggplants,tomatoes, beans, peppers, etc. that need warmer weather. The bare squares you see in the garlic bed (upper right of photo) will each have a different variety of summer squash. There is still a lot of planting space in the interior borders on the south (shown in the photo on each side of the bench) and west sides. That’s where bush winter squash, indeterminate tomatoes, rhubarb, and extra cole crops will go. Of course, climbing crops like pole beans, miniature melons, cucumbers, etc. will go on the arbors, which look very bare and forlorn right now. In the front bed is “Chiogga” beets, red onion sets, and salsify which has yet to germinate. Behind it are “Little Marvel” peas, parted in the center by purple kohlrabi.
This was an earlier photo, but I wanted you to see the strawberries in bloom. They have hundreds of berries forming now. You can see the “cross” of garlic more clearly. In front of that bed (bottom right) are red cabbages and another diagonal of garlic.
Here’s the same red cabbage as of May 9th. They’ve really grown. That’s broccoli on the other side of the garlic. This next photo shows the beds nearest the front gate, along the northeast interior border.
This is a more recent photo. If you compare it to the third photo in this post, you can see how much the lettuce in the flower border has grown. It is Black Seeded Simpson, and I sprinkled it on the snow in February to help hide the dying tulip foliage. We’ve already begun to harvest it for salads. The raised bed front right has “Knight”peas, white kohlrabi, and more peas with a viola border along the center path. Behind it is pak choi. yellow onion sets, and arugula. The bed front left has radishes as a nurse crop for “Parisian” carrots, purple pak choi, and “Little Gem” lettuces.
I planted radishes with nearly all my slower-germinating small seeds to help mark rows. Here the upper left triangle is radishes planted with “Danvers Half-Long” carrots. The center bottom triangle is “Bronze Mignonette” lettuce and the upper right triangle is radishes with Golden Beets .
The same bed a week later, and the radishes on the right have nearly all been harvested so the emerging beets have more space. The carrots are not appearing, and it could be that the seed was too old. Not to worry. I have plenty of seed flats still in the greenhouse like the one below. I won’t run out of plants!