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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Will You Keep a Vegetable Garden This Summer?

over-wintered radish greens
ready to harvest to add to soups

For the past 2 weeks, I've tried to get outside to the vegetable garden for an hour or two each day. I still have a lot of work to do before April begins. I'm filling a bed with soil and compost so I can transplant 2 blueberry bushes this spring before the growing season begins. Several years ago, we planted 4 blueberry bushes where we thought they'd do well. Turns out that wasn't a good spot after all (too far from the main garden so I couldn't keep an eye of the bushes for water and birds). Last spring, my husband built a raised bed near the vegetable and berry garden. I filled one-third of the bed with soil and compost, mounded to one side, then transplanted one of the blueberry bushes. It did well over the summer and winter, so this year I'm moving 2 of the other bushes over to that bed. The 4th bush will go near the other 4 bushes that we have planted and have done well over the years, but maybe not until next year when I can get a spot prepared. Anyways, I'm moving soil and compost for the blueberry bed.

I'm also preparing a potato bed this week. I've grown potatoes for the last 15 years, saving some from each year to use as seed in the next. Well, at the end of last fall, I felt like I'm getting too old to be out digging potatoes for hours in the cold and wet weather we have in fall. I thought I would be done growing potatoes. My plan for vegetable gardening was to only do simple plants from here on out. Guess I was wrong on that plan. 

over-wintered kale to stir fry or add to salads

Anyway, I've been thinking about how important this year's vegetable and fruit garden will be. I expect there will be some inflation on food in the coming months. If ever there was a time to vegetable garden, this summer is it. Gardening will provide my family with fresh produce even if I can't get out to a store for months or even if produce prices are higher than normal. So, I decided to grow potatoes after all this year. The problem is since I thought I wouldn't grow potatoes again, I told my husband to go ahead and use any of the potatoes that I dug last fall in cooking. Men love their potatoes, right? 

Well, thankfully, my husband doesn't listen to me. When I was cleaning in the garage 2 weeks ago, I found a bucket of seed potatoes from last fall! So, I've been working my tail off getting a bed ready for them. Since we weren't going to grow potatoes again (or so I thought), we put a walkway where the potatoes used to grow, so we could get to the raspberries without walking all around the garden.

In addition to raspberries, we grow a lot of strawberries each summer, here. I have 5 dedicated beds for them. Last week, I moved all of the strawberry plants out of one bed and into the other 4 beds, so I could use that one bed for my found seed potatoes.

six itty bitty tomato plants
from those seeds I started a month ago

I really thought I'd be taking it easier in springs and summers, as far as vegetable gardening goes. Despite the hard physical work, I am grateful that we have this space so I can grow a large part of our produce. I encourage anyone who has sunny garden space to plant a few seeds this spring and summer. There are so many things that we can't control with COVID19. Growing some of our own veggies is something that many of us can do. Not only could it save us some money on fresh produce, but also, by not buying as much produce ourselves, we could ease the possible tight supply of produce in the markets enough so that others who can't garden could find more affordable produce for themselves in the stores.


  1. Yes I am definitely having a garden this year... more important than ever! With the virus issue, I have been able keep grocery bills under control because of the garden and canning. I will need to replenish my shelves after this I am sure. Keep healthy, keep safe and keep positive! Lisa

  2. Sounds like a lot of hard work, but lots of yummy produce as a reward! Ironically, in our area, produce seemed to be the thing left on the shelves as people snatched up the frozen foods, bread, and such. So I was able to get plenty of that, thankfully. I'm also working on our garden, but it's not large-scale so will be more of a supplement and hobby. I had really cut back on gardening the past year as backpacking took more of my "free" time.

  3. Ahhhh, gardening will be a challenge this year. I'm hoping dad gets strong enough to have himself a little garden. He might need a bit more help that is if he ASKS for help. He's a stubborn guy and will probably try to do it himself. I'm willing to help but having a garden put in will be good for him later this summer when he can tend it himself.

    He's very unhappy where he right now. Not much rehab. time from the staff so I think I'll pull him out before the weekend.


  4. Lili, have you ever blogged about how you compost? We bury our kitchen greens somewhere in the garden, just to add organic matter but that is not the same as making compost. The problem I think is we don't have enough brown matter, like dried leaves. Our soil this year is poor according to my husband. So we were planning to not garden much this year, but like you, may be forced to change our plans. We are currently relying on volunteer plants, like basil, a Chinese spinach plant, Chinese parsley, green onions, and small wild tomatoes. We continue to sprout lentils indoors. About two weeks ago, my husband planted a bed with seeds, but soon after came a week of torrential rain so we probably lost all of the seeds. Next time we should grow starter plants indoors.

    I think we may continue in lockdown mode for at least another month. That would force the curve to flatten enough so hospitals will hopefully be in better stead than otherwise. I am optimistic that by then we will have better testing and maybe a breakthrough in antiviral treatment. IMHO, it still will not be all clear, until a vaccine or herd immunity is realized, and the timetable for that is 18 months, or three seasons when at least 70% or thereabouts have gotten infected. Until then, we will be practicing a semi lockdown mindset, like social distancing and avoiding public gatherings. We definitely will be curtailing normal activity. This virus has changed our awareness of contagious infection, as well as how dependent our economic health is dependent on a consumer driven service economy. Oddly, those two elements are in conflict, which is why I think the result of this contagion will be a metamorphosis, where we will want to be more self reliant and less dependent on society to provide all our needs in time and on short order. This does not bode well for the Federal Reserve and central planners of monetary order, but we were heading too far and deep in that direction anyway. There needs to be a balance of power and equitable distribution of resources than what we have now. Just my opinion.

    Stay safe,

  5. Wow, Lili, you are getting a major workout by your gardening activity! Sounds like your husband may know you better than you know yourself. :)

    My husband has been working in the garden quite a bit this past week. Fresh fruit and veggies seem like they are far away ...

    Alice, I don't blame you for getting your dad out. Hope it all works out.

    My mom fell last night. She is supposed to shower with aides but they only provide 2 showers a week and she wants 3, so she sneaks in and takes an extra shower. Doesn't appear to be a bad fall although she did hit the back of her head--her primary physician was hoping to keep her away from the ER as covid is ramping up in our area, and I have to agree with him. Normally I'd want her to have an MRI but she was alert, oriented, and seemed to be making sense (mostly .... but she always has her vague moments) so for now the staff are checking up on her a lot. It may be related to her atrial fibrillation, as well. Not the news I was excited to get today but am thankful it's not worse than it is. I was able to visit her outside her window (her nurse was in the room, bonus!) and we both emphasized her need to be careful and to not shower alone any more.

    Continuing to pray for all of you!

  6. Hi Lisa,
    I'm glad to hear that gardening and canning has helped so much this year. Like you, I'll need to replace everything I preserved, too. I'm wondering if now that Americans have all become bread-bakers, preppers, and overall stockpilers, will they also become canners this summer? I may want to buy lids, vinegar, and sugar early.
    I hope you and your family are doing well.

  7. Hi Cat,
    I'm glad that you're finding lots of good food in your stores. Good luck with your garden this year. I hope we all have very productive ones.

  8. Hi Alice,
    you're probably right in that your dad's garden would be a good ting for him later in the summer. It would give him daily "work" and a sense of productivity. I hope he continues to make rapid progress with his recovery.

  9. Hi YHF,
    I'm glad that you have so many volunteers right now in your garden. We've been enjoying the free watercress in ours.

    I agree on many points with you and how this virus will change us. I think it will change us individually and will change how our states see their relationship with the federal gov't. Now if only I can help my food storage last another month or more. There will be less before there is more.

  10. Oh no, Kris! I will keep your mom in my prayers. This is scary. I am glad that the staff is checking on her often, now. Maybe they'll do so from here on out for her.
    take care of yourself, too. This is a stressful time for all and to have your mom take a fall adds to the stress, I'm sure.

  11. Kris,

    Praying for your mom too! The elderly have to be reminded that extra caution is in order especially now during this uncertain time. Even the not-so-elderly need the reminder.


  12. Your garden looks lovely. Last year I was so busy with work that my garden suffered. Planted lettuce, kohlrabi, turnips and mustard seeds today, along with green onions. I hope to have a steady amount of greens before it gets too hot.


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