Backyard Garden Update

Few things are as exciting as watching life spring up from the ground, grow, and produce fruit.

Our backyard is sloped, on the small side, and when I Called-Before-I-Dug, the guy remembered our yard from last year because it has such a ridiculous number of wires in it. Still, it’s amazing how much you can grow in a backyard without sacrificing every inch of play space to garden beds.

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After a harsh and long winter, the first warmish days in March practically demanded a day in the dirt.

I picked up a handful of soil and it felt like rich crumbly chocolate cake. Just like the author of Back to Eden predicted, keeping the soil covered with mulch kept the soil loose and moist and practically eliminated the need for a shovel.

My only concern is that the mulch might have provided a home to the many bad bugs that found their way into our garden last year. Only time will tell. At this point the mulch seemed to be a pretty amazing addition to the garden.

Before planting, I just scooted over the mulch, mixed in several buckets of rich well-aged horse manure (thanks Elissa!), and planted lettuce, carrots, peas, spinach and kale seeds in one of the beds.

As the weeks ticked by and the seedlings refused to emerge, I feared that the snow had killed the seeds. But finally lettuce, spinach, and kale appeared. Three weeks later, the pea seeds still showed no signs of life. I soaked peas again and poked new holes by the original pea seeds. Guess what I found while making holes. Yep, a lovely little pea sprout.

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I was going to save the second bed for summer plants, but after finding this recipe for spinach chips, we have been burning through the spinach at a pretty ridiculous rate.

Thrilled as I am that the kids are scarfing down spinach, spinach is a vegetable I like to buy organic since it’s one of the dirty dozen and the bill was definitely adding up. So I decided to devote the second bed to spinach (and a bit more lettuce) to hopefully keep up with our latest “addiction”.

A month later, we’re just beginning to enjoy the first baby leaves of spinach and lettuce. Yum!

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Meg adores the chicks!

See that BUSH of oregano behind Meg? It isn’t called creeping oregano for nothing. That stuff is crazy. It survived the winter just fine and is threatening to take over. Thankfully, oregano is one of the best herbs for chicken health, according to Fresh Eggs Daily, and the chicks gobble up any we feed them like candy.

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Raspberry multiplication

Only one raspberry cane survived the winter, but as spring warmed up dozens of new canes sprung up! Here’s to hoping the birds and bugs let us enjoy some.

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My sweet little helper

I’ve wanted to plant strawberries for over a decade. This spring, I finally got to.


See that? Now we just have to wait three years to enjoy it. 

Since I was ordering strawberries anyway, it just made sense to add some asparagus too since it’s another family favorite. Right?

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  1. says

    Have you considered Swiss Chard as a substitute for spinach? It can handle the heat of a midwestern summer (and cold temperatures down to 20 degrees F), while spinach begins to bolt when it gets too hot. It works really well in most spinach recipes.

    Your beds look great! Our beets and peas took awhile to get going too, but when we planted a second round in warmer weather in a different bed (just beets) they sprouted really quickly. I think temperatures have a lot to do with it.

    Our oregano is taking over too – it truly is a monster plant! But one that makes me feel like a good gardener, so I’ll let it stay there. 🙂

    • anna says

      Haha! Exactly my thoughts about the oregano. It makes me smile, even though I know I should probably tame it better! 🙂

      No, I haven’t tried Swiss Chard, but thanks for the recommendation. I need to give it a try–it sounds delightfully hardy! We’re loving having TONS of spinach, but I know it’s going to get too warm soon.

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