Let’s Grow Green

April 5th, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Vegetable Lovin'

It’s that time of year again. Here in Zone 6A the early spring like weather is upon us and has been hanging around for a while now. It’s time get some greens and spring vegetables in the ground.

Spring Greens

First up, I did my part in expanding one of our small, city lot beds into an ever-so-slightly bigger bed.

More Space

“my part” = moving the boarder to the edge of the tilled soil that Zak dug up a couple weeks ago.

One Foot Bigger

more garden = less grass to mow. Check it.

Slightly Bigger Garden Bed

We’ve had a small backyard garden for as many years as we’ve been home owners. (8 years!) Each year and at each house we’ve come to expand our garden repertoire a bit more. I still feel like a novice gardener, but I’ve come to really appreciate that it continues to get easier and less intimidating with each passing year.

Sort of like parenting! From tender seedlings to young plants, you care and look after them as you watch them grow, determining exactly what they need to survive and thrive.

And then you eat them.

(never mind.)

For the past few growing seasons now we’ve been growing greens in the early spring, and this has definitely become one of my favorite parts of gardening.

Why? Because!

1. free greens for ME ME ME! (or maybe I should say cheap greens for US, US, US)

2. it’s still too early to put other vegetables in the ground, but planting some spring vegetables helps you feel like you’re “doing something” while you’re waiting for the warmer weather to arrive

(starting seeds inside is another way to get a good gardening fix on too.)

3. by the time your greens are completely harvested in late spring/early summer, you’ve got room again in your beds to plant all those other vegetables you’ve been lusting after

4. re-read #1 again. #1 is important.

And so this afternoon, after I did all the manual labor of moving one long board approximately 1 foot north of where it was sitting this morning, it was time to plant.

One long row of peas along the back of the bed, a couple rows of spinach.

Row of Snap Pea Seeds Spinach Seeds

A few rows of kale, and a newcomer to our garden this year;

Kale Seeds Nasturtiums


Nasturtiums are edible flowers that are colorful and a bit peppery in taste (like arugula, perhaps? we’ll see!) The leaves are edible too, I hope to have a lot of fun with these guys in salads this summer.

(Please don’t be sad about my definition of “fun” these days.)

I was motivated to plant nasturtiums thanks to a book I read last summer called The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler. A great, inspiring read loaded with tons of ideas for making all of your gardening space into something edible, and beautiful to boot.

The Edible Front Yard

Duly noted that I planted nasturtiums in the backyard, not the front yard. Let’s see how it goes, then perhaps we’ll rock out with our nasturtiums out front next year.

Looking back, after planting in mid April last year, we had signs of chew-able life in the garden by mid May:

Garden Mid May 2011

And by mid June, things we’re really hopping just as the tomato plants were going in the ground. Peas climbing in the back, peppers on the left (planted where the spinach had been), red leaf lettuce took center stage and the kale was crowdy and rowdy off to the right.

Garden Mid June 2011

I almost forgot how much kale we ate last spring. Plant a lot of kale, eat a lot of kale, love a lot of kale. That should totally be a new saying.

The only signs of life today were some temporary, make shift row markers to help remind me what plants are where, and to help remind the kids and the squirrels that there’s no more random digging allowed.

Make Shift Row Markers

If you don’t have a yard to call your own or are simply looking to get your green thumbs wet, consider container gardening for starters. If you’ve got a plot of earth to spare out back, throw some spinach seeds in the dirt and call me when it’s time for salad.

And if you’re planting something new or fun this year, tell us all about it! Until then, I’m off to dream about kale.

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5 Responses

  • Pat says:

    I think nasturtiums also keep bugs and stuff from invading the other plants, so people plant them around the edge of the garden. And they are GREAT in salads. If you have more seeds, try them by your doors to keep flying bugs from trying to come in the house.

    • I knew that little pests left nasturtiums alone, but I didn’t realize they helped protect other plants! Rock on! I’m off to get another seed packet or two. Thanks Pat!

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you! I have been ITCHING to start planting after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Have you read that? Brilliant. Well, I was all set to dig up our backyard, but then saw your link on the container plantings. So I’ll spend a fortune buying containers at Lowe’s instead. Oh, and I can put down kale like you wouldn’t believe. (I just go up to it and say, “You suck, Kale!”) Feeling loopy tonight. Sorry.

    • I have not read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but I had another friend recommend it recently too, I’m on it!

      Container gardening! DO IT! You’ll love it.

      And I totally say “suck it, kale!”, loopy schmoopy.

  • Lisa says:

    Yay for gardens! We are getting our tomato plants started inside, but nothing else yet. Last year, we had our first garden at joe’s parents’ house —they let us use a corner of a field, and we were last minute so just planted seeds in the ground for everything. So the cucumbers didn’t grow, but I had 9 kale plants. That was a lot!

    Why haven’t I thought about planting spinach? Duh. I need to go buy seeds!