Tiptoeing into the vegetable garden

Raspberry canes

I’ve been avoiding the vegetable garden. Not out of a lack of enthusiasm. I want to be in the garden. But I’m trying to be strategic about where I spend my time right now. I want to finish the office and I want to give the flowerbeds some attention. The garden has to wait.

I’ve set May as my start date for any serious work in the vegetable garden. I say serious because I can’t deprive myself avoid it entirely.

There are a few things that needed to happen sooner.

First is unwrapping the grapes. I had covered our new vines in burlap last year hoping it would help them survive the winter. Now that the temperatures are warmer and the sun is shining, I wanted them to have the benefit of the nice weather. I’m still not entirely sure how many vines survived the winter, but I feel like at least a few are alive.

Uncovering grapes that have been wrapped in burlap

I planted a rhubarb plant that I stole from my parents’ garden. Rhubarb has been on my list for a few years, so it’s exciting to have our own plant finally. This plant seems quite happy. Transplanting early in the season is working very well for me this year. The ground is wet, temperatures are mild, sun is shining. I’ve been moving a number of plants around and they all seem to be thriving.

Rhubarb early in spring

Matt and I cut up our seed potatoes. We planted our potatoes the first of May last year, and it worked out great, so we’re trying to get them ready. The cool thing about our potatoes this year is that except for one new variety our seed potatoes are all potatoes that we grew ourselves last year. We have Russian Blues, red and Kennebecs. The Kennebecs were our favourite last year and lived up to Karen’s hype. This year we’re adding Basin Gold, which are a big baking potato. Matt had bought these at the grocery store and they happened to sprout before we ate them, so into the garden they go.

I’m not sure where I read about this chitting technique, but this has worked for us the past few years. We cut the potatoes so that each chunk has about one eye. Then we let them dry out for a few weeks so that the potatoes don’t rot when we put them in the ground. I know people say these white stringy sprouts are not desirable, but they worked well for us last year and our plants seemed to grow faster.

Methinks we’re going to have lotsa potatoes.

Seed potatoes

The other exciting garden development–and one which I’ve done nothing for–is asparagus. It’s alive! Our scraggly little plants that we started from seed last year have begat a few slender stalks. Spindly might be a better term. A step up from scraggly, but not quite slender yet. Size does not matter in this case. The fact that they’re alive is a win.

Asparagus

We’re just a few days away from May, so my self-imposed hiatus will be coming to an end shortly. Then it’s full speed ahead on the vegetable garden. I’m excited with what’s to come next.

What gardening have you been doing? Do you have any transplant or potato growing techniques?

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8 thoughts on “Tiptoeing into the vegetable garden

  1. Things are looking very exciting!! Is that raspberry cane in the first picture? The asparagus looks so cool. I’ve never seen it actually growing in a garden before, looking just like regular asparagus. Your garden seems primed to just burst at the seams this year!
    Our grapes looked quite dead for awhile (they never are) and we’re just now getting very small leaves. It makes sense that yours would be behind them. If yours flourish even half as well as ours, you will have more grapes than you know what to do with! Our vines are like Jumanji, we’ve had to cut them back and cut them back in order to be able to see out the kitchen windows in July and August. Last year we cut them so far back that now we can attempt to train them to grow up and over this little part of the roof that comes out over those windows and the front door, instead of under it. Then they can go as nuts as they want.

  2. The rhubarb that I planted last year is enormous! I am excited to actually use it this year, last year I just let it grow.

    My asparagus is leaving something to be desired. Apparently, I need to get advice from my brother, this is his second year for asparagus and it is already over a foot tall!

    • I was wondering if I’d be able to pick my rhubarb this year or if I should just leave it alone. I was also wondering what your asparagus was like. I remember it super long last year before you even made it to the garden.

    • The reds and the basin golds were from the grocery store. We did just fine with them, although I know some people say their potatoes don’t sprout. We tend to wait until the eyes have sprouted before picking anything to plant.

      • We find they sprout just when we leave them alone in our cold cellar. It’s completely dark but somehow they start to grow. That’s why the sprouts are long and pale because there’s no light. Once they sprout we cut them so that there are one or two eyes per potato. Because each sprout is a plant so we can get multiple plants from one potato. We let them dry out so the cuts heal and the potatoes don’t rot when we plant them. You should be able to find seed potatoes at seed stores or online now. If you want to go the grocery store route you can certainly give that a try too. I find it harder to stop my potatoes from sprouting than it is to get them to sprout! Leaving the potatoes in the light will likely encourage them to sprout too. Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions if you want more info.

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