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Quote of the Day: Spring had really come

March 31st, 2013

“Spring had really come.

The south opened like a mouth. It blew one long breath, humid and warm, and flowers quivered inside the seeds, and the round earth began to ripen like fruit.”

Jean Giono (found in Provence: A Country Almanac)

working in the garden in spring 6
It’s certainly starting to feel like spring outside. Yesterday was warm and sunny, I spent most of the day outside working in the potager. If you remember, I showed you what it looked like last fall.
Le Potager du Chiots Run
This spring, it’s finally starting to take shape.  Over the winter, I decided to divide the garden into four sections on the diagonal.  Since our back door opens up to the corner of the garden, that seemed to make to most sense.   When you come out the back door, you’ll be looking straight down the main path of the garden.  Yesterday, I started making the pathways and the central feature.
working in the garden in spring 1
working in the garden in spring 2
Instead of having the pathways intersect in the middle, I figured a large circle with a garden in the middle would visual interest.  Tomato stakes were put in the four corners of the garden with twine strung between them to mark my two main garden paths.  To make the circular path and garden, I put a stake where the two main strings intersected, then I used the rope with a stick trick to make the circle.
working in the garden in spring 3
working in the garden in spring 4
It actually worked quite well, the circle is as good as it can get. Since there is an abundance of rocks here, I decided a rock border would be a nice way to hold back the soil in the slightly raised circular bed. I’m still on the fence about lining the main walkways with stones as well. The walkways will be covered with wood chips for now, perhaps I’ll use crushed limestone in the future.
working in the garden in spring 5
I have a lovely trellis that will go in the middle of the circle, I didn’t install it as I’ll need a helping hand. Mr Chiots was busy putting up firewood all day.  Instead, I started planting the beds with vegetables.  After much deliberation, I settled on rows that followed the central curve.
working in the garden in spring 7
working in the garden in spring 8
While I have a hoop house of spinach, fall planted garlic bulbs, and a few overwintering perennials that are hindering the completion of the walkways, it is starting to look nice.  The top of the garden dries out faster than the lower portion, so were also a few sections that were still too wet to work in, those will be finished up when things dry out.   This view below is the view from the back door, as you can see, dividing the garden on the diagonal was a great idea!
working in the garden in spring 9
I even had time to plant yesterday. The circle in the middle was planted in: ‘Little Gem’ and ‘Winter Density’ lettuce, along with ‘Scarlet Frill’ Mustard. In one of the triangles I planted two rows of ‘Windsor Broad’ fava beans with a cover crop of ‘Idagold’ mustard interplanted between them. In front of the beans by the walkway there is one row of ‘Green Fortune’ pak choi and ‘Bowles’ Black’ pansy. The small area in front of the low tunnel was planted in ‘French Breakfast’ radishes. (click on variety names for seed source). It certainly feels good to tuck a few more seeds in the ground.

Has spring officially arrived in your garden yet? Or are you lucky like Maybelline to not have any “off seasons” in the garden?

If you’re interested in making your kitchen garden a little more designed & formal, check out these books. They’re full of lovely images and layout plans to help you create a stunning potager:

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.