Urban vegetable gardening: Waiting to Plant

It is so, so hard to wait. In St. Paul, Minnesota, the last-frost date is May 15, and that’s how long you’re supposed to wait to plant your garden. Generally, I’ve taken this to mean Mother’s Day, and my mama’s day fun usually begins with a trip to the greenhouse and ends with me covered in dirt.

Up at the lake, zone 3, last frost is even later. I can’t plant my borders there until Memorial Weekend. Sigh.

To pass the time, I’ve been working on my vegetable-garden-on-a-city-lot project. Here’s an update:

  • Piles of phlox, iris, daylilies, and mums have been dug up to make room for produce. Four shrubs met their ends at the compost pile. (I hate shrubs and wish I never planted them. Maybe more on that later. All I can say is that I take inordinate joy in a shrub’s demise.)
  • Eggplant seedlings died in the windowsill for reasons unknown and have been replaced with two healthy seedlings from the greenhouse. I’m okay with this.
  • Green bean seedlings were too long and leggy for the window, so I took a chance and planted them outside. The cold didn’t get them, but the vermin (and by vermin, I mean rabbits) did. I doused the surviving plants with pepper and planted a sentinel wall of marigolds. I feel very strongly about these beans – to me, they are Noah’s plants.
  • Teeny tiny baby strawberries still teeny tiny in their little greenhouses. They have been joined by teeny tiny basil plants. We might be eating them by August.
  • The peas are more than ready to go into the ground, but their bed isn’t ready yet because our resident builder is too busy finishing spring semester of grad school. Doesn’t he know the peas are waiting?
  • Kale, spinach, radicchio, and more basil are now nestled in and around my perennial garden, accompanied by a flat’s worth of bright yellow vermin-deflectors. I hate rabbits.
  • Mint from all over my flower garden has been corralled in a pot so it can’t overrun the daisies, evening primose, sage, and oregano. (I planted a little tiny mint plant last year. I knew it was invasive, but I was really surprised at how much I found!)
  • Upside-down tomato planters have been ordered, along with a cool cucumber frame that leans up at a 30 degree angle, allowing for planting lettuces underneath. Can’t wait to try these out!
  • I bought a farm share with a friend as insurance that we will have veggies. I might pretend to pick them in my yard and carry them around in a cute basket. I might even believe it myself.

Only two more weeks of waiting! Happy gardening!

Garden border and archScott gave me this arch for Christmas 10 years ago. It had clematis vines on it for several years, until it got so heavy a stiff wind blew the whole thing over. This year I’m trying green beans on it.

Flower bed with veggiesOne of the sunniest parts of my garden.
I’m hoping the catmint in front deters the rabbits.

Mint planted in a potMint is a very aggressive plant. I planted one little plant last year and found tons of it all over my beds this spring. I saved a few but are keeping them corralled in this pot this year.

Baby cilantro plantsThese baby cilantro plants self-seeded from last year in the raised beds. I rescued them before the beds were prepped for expansion. This is next to our driveway in the alley. I read that keeping cilantro in the shade helps keep it from bolting.

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  1. [...] In the Garden, Waiting It’s so hard to wait til it is safe to plant, so in the meantime I tear out perennials to make way for my veggies. [...]

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