It was the perfect week for planting here at Cowlick Cottage Farm. My dear friend, Susan, drove a few hundred miles from the mountains of Virginia to spend the week, give us a hand in the garden, and soak up a little Florida sunshine. We planted five different types of heirloom tomatoes, four types of squash—three summer and a winter squash from seed I saved from Monticello Vineyards–two different types of lettuce, all interspersed with Jewel Mix Nasturtium to add color and attract beneficial insects. The Coop de Grass is done and waiting for the chickens to arrive (hopefully this weekend). The addition of a few chickens is a dream come true and will make our garden feel more like a farm!
The strawberries are going strong this spring and are loaded with fruit. I hope we have enough to make some homemade jam, along with my nibbling them warm from the sun for breakfast while I’m working in the garden. And I need to save plenty for our grandson, Jacob. He loves them SO much, he has to be convinced to wait until they are really red, ripe and ready to eat.
The Shinseiki pear tree, planted a few weeks ago as a bareroot, is leafing out beautifully. The Flordahome peach tree, also planted bareroot, is blooming. It will be gorgeous in a few years when it’s a little bigger and covered in pretty pink blooms and later on sweet, juicy fruit. The blueberries are blooming also. This is their second year, so we will get a little more fruit. Next year, they should take off. Sleep. Creep. Leap. That seems to be how it is with most perennials. The fig trees are budding. I planted two—one for us and one to appease the birds and squirrels. I cannot wait to grill a few ripe figs on the Big Green Egg with some local goat cheese, a little wrap of Serrano ham and a drop of honey. Divine!
In the Allium family, all of the different types of garlic are doing well, and just starting to bulb. I thought we planted enough to sell some, but given how much garlic we eat, I think I really only planted enough for us to eat, share with friends, and save to plant for next year. If we are lucky, we will save a few hundred cloves to plant in the Fall! The onions and shallots are happy to see Spring, although we are definitely behind schedule this year. The first little shallot scapes are shooting up. What’s s shallot scape? A pretty little curl of a bloom!
The Pontiac red potatoes are poking through the ground, and I will be adding a few more inches of soil to their pots each time they sprout a few new leaves. I am experimenting with growing them in big pots this year. I hope they do as well as last year, when we harvested almost 60 pounds of potatoes from a 4’ x 8’ raised bed! Have you ever tried a new potato straight from the garden? They SNAP when you cut them up, and they cook much more quickly. A little butter and a sprinkle of sea salt and herbs is all they need. Well, maybe a little goat cheese. Or parmesan, if you really need some comfort.
The chives, lavendar, tarragon and oregano survived our cold winter. We still have plenty of greens to eat for a few more weeks. We planted the beautiful Malabar Red Spinach to grow on the trellis along with the clematis. I hope it will be a lovely combination.
We gave everything a feeding of worm castings—black gold for the garden. We spread almost 40 pounds of the stuff this week. I hope to emulate the local vineyard and organic farm that uses only castings for fertilizer, disease prevention, and insect protection.
Plant something and enjoy Spring!