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I am so glad it has stopped raining, as now I can get to work in my raised bed garden. We’ve certainly got a stretch of great weather right now, breezy, sunny and bright.  Now’s the time to pull weeds, cut back ornamental grasses and turn the soil and plant cold-tolerant seeds and plants.  I see lots of earthworms, so that’s a great sign!

Raised bed gardenI use the square foot gardening approach in our 8′ x 4′ raised bed, since I enjoy growing several different things in our small area.  It works out really well, since there are certain things we always like to grow (carrots, green beans, eggplant, beets, radishes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and herbs). Tomatoes are definitely a staple,  but I plan to grow them in large containers this year, since they shade the other items when they grow in the raised bed.

I am going to plant some seeds (lettuce, spinach and broccoli are cold tolerant candidates).  Unfortunately, I discovered that I overbought some seeds this year – forgetting I had lots  left over from last summer.  Every year, when the seed packets and plant bulbs are on display I go a little crazy – especially when they’re on sale.

It’s really fun to try a few new things every year, just to learn whether it has certain tolerances and is easy to grow inthis climate.  It allows me to learn from the experience, and add new favorites to the lineup. This year, I am thinking about bulb fennel – simply because it can be kind of expensive around here and it can be used in hot and cold dishes.  I also purchased some Delicata squash seeds to try out, but those will get planted outside of the raised bed, since squash will take over the entire bed if given the opportunity.  I’ve got Edamame (soybean) seeds I may try, as well.  It should yield interesting results. vegetable harvest

I am relatively new at vegetable gardening, and am just getting used to the timing of everything, so I haven’t yet ventured into starting seeds indoors.   I never seem to think of doing so until it is too late in the season.  I may try starting some seeds in containers that I can cover with plastic sheeting to create a greenhouse effect. I will likely try this for Jalapeno and Poblano peppers, Black Beauty eggplant, and Roma tomatoes.   It would certainly save lots of cash, since buying the plants can really add up.  We had an overload of Cayenne one year and Jalapenos last year, so I  threaded the Cayenne and hung them to dry out.  I let the Jalapenos ripen until they turned red, put them in the smoker, let them dry out, as well.  I then blasted both batches of dried out peppers in the processor, one year we had a nice sized jar of home grown Cayenne, and this year we have a jar of ground chipotle on hand.

Let me know about any cool new things you may have tried to grow and how they turned out.

Well, I’m off to dig in the dirt, happy gardening!

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