Part II: The Market and The Planting
After following my mother’s directions on prepping my soil (see Part I: Getting Ready), my life got crazy and I planted nothing for two weeks. BAD IDEA!!! I had to turn my soil over again! That was a killer, but very necessary because my soil had all dried up. Setting aside this mishap, the next step is to get your vegetables.
I am starting my garden early June, so I am growing my vegetables not from seed, but from baby plants. I have decided to start small and grow the basics: tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, peppers, lettuce, beans, broccoli, shallots, parsley and a few herbs (basil and rosemary). The one I wanted to grow but can only plant in the fall is garlic.
My mother and I have always gone to the same market to get our plants, Marche Jean Talon. When I was little, this farmer’s market was a place straight out of Greece (or most likely anywhere in the Mediterranean). The smells of fresh produce, the arguments of people bartering and the hustle of all the immigrant community and first generation children being dragged to the market to experience a piece of their homeland was a beautiful sight. I loved the feeling of being part of something so vibrant and strong. We went to The Birri Brothers who serviced us incredibly and gave us solid advice. Here he is:
Now the planting begins and here are the tips my mom gave me:
- Always plant the vegetables a little more than a foot apart to give them room to grow and to avoid competition.
- Once you’ve inserted the plant into the dug up hole, fill it up and pat it down real tight to help the plants stay steady.
- Create a barrier around your garden bed and raise it if necessary with mulch and organic matter. Keeps away the dog too!
- Most importantly, WATER. Best to water in the evenings when the sun has set but if the weather is real dry, water once in the morning as well. The baby plants will need a lot of it to continue their growth.
The tasks up ahead are:
- Weeding: Weeds block sunlight and create competition. You are helping to increase harvests by eliminating weeds.
- Mulching (which is new to me): It helps to combat weeds, conserve moisture and modify soil temperature. You can use straw, grass clippings or pine needles between rows.
- Pruning: It will eliminate dead or weak branches, reshape them, promote further growth, create a bushier form, increase air and sunlight circulation and limit the plant size. Here is a link to help with the process.
Now we’ll see how good I am at maintenance, I think this is the hardest part. Wish me luck!