Sunday, April 6, 2008

Planting - first report

As the grass, bushes and trees turn the new, clean green that only spring can offer, it's time to start putting things into the ground. We started last Monday (March 31) with a row of potatoes and a half a row of peas. In a separate patch, we put in some daylilies at the same time.

The potatoes were bananas, French fingerlings and Russets that I had ordered from Romingers in Colorado. I particularly wanted the French fingerlings. We started buying those from a farmer at the Abingdon, VA, farmer's market several years ago, and they are one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. I have wondered since then if I would ever be able to grow anything like that. Our potatoes didn't come up last year because we planted them too late, and they were done in by the drought. We shall see this year.

That was all that we were able to do this week because of an exceptionally busy schedule at the University and because it has rained just about every day since then. We are not having a drought so far this year, although the predictions for later this summer are that it's going to be hotter and drier than normal. That doesn't sound good. But up to this point, we have had lots of rain, and we are enjoying that. A couple of days of dry weather wouldn't hurt because we have some other things to get into the group.

Some of the daylilies we set out came from the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. We toured the place in March with our friends the Rables, and we bought some of the bulbs from the garden shop. We purchased some other locally and set out about 15. Daylilies are supposed to be practically maintenance-free. The ones we had in Tuscaloosa certainly were. We have created a separate patch for them in the garden. They've already popped their heads out of the ground, and I am anxious to see how they do. (The picture at the right was taken in one of the greenhouses of the Biltmore House.)

We drove the truck to the back of the farm this afternoon and dug up some iris that had grown there for several years. We're going to put those in the daylily patch and see if they bloom and spread as they should. We haven't gotten those into the ground yet because despite a beautifully clear day today, it's still too muddy to get into the garden.

On another front, I completed a painting of the Gorgas House on the University of Alabama campus this year to donate to a student organization's auction. You can see it here.

Update, Monday, April 7: The garden continues to grow. After a couple of dry days, the mud has been chased below the surface, and we were able to get a few more things in the ground. So, this is how things are shaping up so far:

Row 1: potatoes -- bananas, Red Russet, French fingerling (March 31)
Row 2: peas (March 31); potatoes -- Yukon gold (April 7)
Row 3: lettuce; red onions (April 7)

We also put in some of the iris that we dug up on Sunday. We placed those in the daylily patch along with some freesia.

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