Garden Update: New Greens, Old Kale

I am not a skilled gardener, but gardening was one of the original reasons I wanted to keep track of Notes for Next Year – what did I do again? When did I do it? Should I do it again? I’ve been gardening in the small planting strips along my front walk for three years now (the only space available) and each year has been a mixed bag.

Now that it’s my garden season, I think I’ll do a weekly update that I can refer to next year, and so that I can keep my other posts focused on their own topics, instead of throwing in garden notes at the end, like I did earlier this week.We had a stretch of dry, sunny, warm weather about the time I planted my seeds, and I was starting to think that I would need to water them, but the weather returned to its usual early April level of dampness.

Spinach in Front, Arugula in Back

I noticed that the sprouting greens I thought were spinach on Monday are actually arugula. I realized this about Wednesday, when the spinach started coming up and I recognized it from previous years. Spinach starts out looking like little grass blades (as in the foreground above) while the mini-arugula leaves are more ovular (as in the background above). I can see why I was confused, though, since the sprouting arugula leaves have more the shape of adult spinach, and adult arugula leaves are longer and thinner, by comparison.

The peas have also started sprouting, which I’m excited about — the little sprouts look like they’re reaching for the sky. No sign yet of the nestertia.  My current wild card is the kale and collards that I planted from starts last fall. They started coming back to life a few weeks ago, but I think they’re all in the process of going to seed. That means I’ll probably want to pull them soon and put something else in, since they’re taking up almost one whole side of the sidewalk.

Kale going to seed

Last year I grew heirloom tomatoes in that space, which was delicious and productive, so I’d like to do it again.  I grew the tomato starts from seeds and that was fun, but took over a portion of the dining room and made a bit of a mess, so I think I’ll just buy starts this year. (I think I’d probably need to be getting started about now, too, and I’ve got a lot of other things to do!) I’ll probably do that in a month or two? I’ll consult with some gardening friends, first.

I do want to try again for winter kale this year, but last year I clearly planted the starts too late (October, I think?). I waited that long because I needed to be done with last year’s tomatoes, first. This year, though, I think I’ll plant kale seeds much earlier, in the space currently occupied by peas, spinach, and arugula – I think (hope) these will have peaked by late August, at which point I can try planting kale seeds.

While I’m at it, I’ll also report on a garden project of my roommate’s – he’s got some raspberry bushes that he got from a friend, and he transplanted them into a fairly shady portion of the yard this winter. They were cut back to stalks, and seemed dormant for a while, but some new stalks and leaves are coming up on most of them.

Stay tuned to see what happens next!

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