There wasn’t much cooking going on this week, but I did get a lot done in the garden and picked up a new garden book I’m recommending for any gardener new to their region or anyone just starting to raise vegetables in your unique climate. As with any garden, it changes constantly so I also made a point to get out and take some photographs of what is blooming this week on one of our beautiful overcast rainy spring days. Entirely without my SD card. LOL. Photos attached were taken today in the sun.
Parts of the vegetable and herb garden are planted: bush beans, some tomato seeds, various summer and winter squash, basil, cilantro and I replanted some lemongrass starts. While I had hoped to start seeds indoors this year, that never happened. Southeast gardeners can, ans should, take advantage of the second fall season after the hot summer, so I should be able to start some seeds in July for transplanting later. Basil that went to seed last year has re-seeded its self, but I tossed in some more seeds, because, um, pesto.
This is my second try at keeping lemongrass year round. It doesn’t like cold freezing winters (hellooo polar vortex), though I was able to baby it though the two previous warmer winters. I’ve not quite found the right spot in the yard to take advantage of any micro climates: a spot on the southwestern side of the house might be best, so I’ll be starting a second set over there to compare results next year.
This is only my second year with raising vegetables in North Carolina after years of gardening in the Midwest and being raised by Midwest gardeners. My Grandma kept a farmer’s Almanac to consult about planting and my Nana canned the pears from her backyard tree. I dove in with gusto last year after D and I built two long raised beds in the backyard for a combination of flowers and edibles. There was no reading or consulting experts. As a result, last year was a great learning experience: we had okra that grew 10 feet tall (apparently you can prune them for easier harvest, who knew), and we ate early peppers and cucumbers, but it was also unusually cool and wet, there were massive insect problems, and deer. Since I actually want to eat things grown out there, I’m grateful for stumbling over the Timber Press Guide to Vegetable gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace.
There are Timber Press Guides for every region (The Southeast has an illustration of okra – how appropriate). here is what I like about them so far:
- It presents clear and simple directions. Expert gardeners may want more info, but beginners like me can get overwhelmed with too much info when what we want is to just get started.
- The book is organized by month, so you can easily review what you can or should be doing that month in your garden or for your garden. Many seeds and plants are temperature sensitive, beans can go in late April, but okra seeds need slightly warmer temps to germinate. Everyone can benefit from a build in calendar guide.
- There are tips and directions for inexpensive options for everything from cold frames to mulch.
- In the back and scattered through the book are easy to understand charts and guides on specific edibles.