State of the April Garden

State of the April Garden

Just a little tour to show you what’s happening in my garden in April. I have my garden divided up into several plots for herbs and vegetables. You can see a plot plan here.

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My herb plots are a mixed bag of successes and failures. The stevia overwintered and is coming back; it is about 18″ tall now. The mint is growing again. My oregano overwintered and is growing out of its space. I will need to divide it real soon, and put some in other parts of the garden and around my fruit trees.

I planted more stevia in the same plot,and it is just now showing above ground.

In my second herb plot, the Thyme might be just sprouting now. I see a small seedling that smells like Thyme. Cilantro is another plant that overwintered, and it is trying to go to flower and seed. My Italian parsley is growing very well next to it. Finally, I have about 4 Dill plants sprouting up slowly.

I planted Rosemary seeds in the third herb plot; they haven’t sprouted yet. Neither has the Tarragon, Sage or Lemon Balm. Makes me wonder if they should be started from transplants? More research needed.

Herb plot 4 is also a mixed bag of results. Basil, cumin and cilantro did not grow. I can’t say about my Parsley seedlings–it looks as if something tried to dig them up.

The Ginger is still not visible; I don’t expect to see it above ground for a while yet. My chives are growing well.

My Vegetable Plots are growing well. I have kale, lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard in one, along with a leftover carrot from last year. The Swiss chard is growing like wildflowers. I’m waiting on the carrot to go to seed.

I just planted watermelons in plot 6, and they haven’t come up yet.

My root crops–beets and carrots–are growing well and I have some more leftover lettuce here. I’m trying to see if I can harvest some seeds from second-year lettuce.

Plot 8 is my fallow ground. I’m growing peas and beans. My plan was to grow them until they began to flower, then cut them down, but I didn’t follow through on that. I heard the beans and peas were good for increasing nitrogen in the soil, until they began to flower and fruit. At that point, they use the stored nitrogen for fruit production.

Well, the plants began to flower, and then my wife was harvesting beans from this plot!
I will have to do some more research on that subject.

My other fallow ground crop is Clover, and those plots I am cutting back regularly.

I have a trellis for climbing beans and peas in the center of the garden. In the shade of the beans and peas, I will try to grow lettuce and other shade-loving crops. Perhaps they will survive longer in the hot Texas summer by growing in the shade.

Last year the trellis was for cucumbers and beans. This year the cucumbers will grow along the garden fence.

Plot 9 is last year’s leaf crop. Everything overwintered well, but the Swiss Chard is overwhelming everything. I had to trim it back severely to get some sun to the kale. We don’t need that much Swiss chard; so next year I’ll plant less. Once again, I am surprised at how big they get.

I transplanted tomato plants into the garden in plot 10. They seem to be going well but I bought two more tomato plant as insurance. I also bought a pepper and eggplant. I tried to transplant pepper and eggplant seedlings, and they did not do well at all.

Plot 11 is planted in Potatoes. They were in a low spot, and two rows out of three were drowned.

Plot 12 was another fallow plot I planted in beans and peas. Only a few came up, so I planted winter squash there.

Plot 13 was the first plot I planted in early spring. It was a mix of Nasturtium, lettuce, onions and dill. It was my first try at inter-planting, and looks like a real mess. But I do notice butterfly caterpillars and small insects around the flowers, so it may turn out alright in the end.

Then I have my other tomato plot. I have a transplanted tomato here which is growing well. I also bought a pepper to keep it company. I’m going to plant basil here shortly.

Plot 15 was planted in corn from 2011 and 2014 seeds; however the only plant that grew was my 2014 variety. The others did not sprout. I bought some more corn seed and am mow waiting for them to sprout.

I have one more fallow plot of beans and peas. This plot I am keeping trimmed for mulch and enriching the soil.

Plot 17 is Cantaloupe, and Plot 18 is Pumpkin. They were transplanted from earlier in the spring and are just now beginning to run and flower.

And finally, up against the garden fence is a lot of Malabar Spinach, volunteers from last year, as well as some transplanted Cauliflower. I have not had much success with spring Cauliflower, so we will see what becomes of these plants.

So, the spring garden is planted. I have some spots for Okra and Zucchini, which I will plant later. Now comes a summer of weeding, watering and doing “bug patrol.”

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