During my blogging hiatus, I did a lot of little projects — and one of them was cleaning out the vegetable beds in prep for planting. I still need to order compost but I’m waiting for my new fence to go in because I want to build a new raised bed. But I spent a glorious warm Saturday cleaning out the dead stuff. I’ve learned the last couple of years that although it looks messy all winter, it makes more sense to clean up in the spring instead.
First I pulled all the dead stuff out of the herb garden — there was green parsley at the bottom, and the chives are starting to come back in. As for the annual herbs, the cilantro and savory and chervil, we’ll just have to see what self-seeded and then I’ll throw a new batch of seed in when it warms up some. Savory was the big surprise last summer — I fell in love with savory. Sarriette as the French call it (or at least that’s the French name on the cover of that big seed packet from Seeds of Italy).
The next chore was dealing with the bean trellises — I built trellises out of copper plumbing pipe a few years ago (I’m still waiting for them to turn green — we have so little moisture here that it’s taking a while) and then I used zip ties to fasten nylon trellis material to them. Those actually lasted several years, partially due to the fact that I had such trouble getting beans to grow until I cut down all the hollyhocks near the veggie patch to control the flea beetles. But last year I had a bumper crop of beans and so this spring I bit the bullet and just cut the nylon trellis material and pulled it all out, dead bean vines and all. I’ll have to replace it this spring but they’re not expensive.
Finally I tackled the dead greens. The chard plants all came out entire, no overwintering for them, but the chicories and radiccios seem to have made it through the winter with some little nubby heads left. So I cleaned all the dead stuff off of them, and we’ll see if I get some spring greens out of it.
The beds are all nice and tidy now — waiting for a new load of compost and some early spring planting. I’m going to do some spinach and broccoli rabe in the next couple of weeks, and onion sets are starting to show up at the local grocery store. But we’re having a real winter this year, we’re still having snow flurries on a regular basis, and my bulbs have barely broken the surface. So I’m going to take my clues from what’s out there, and not get ahead of myself. I hope. Really. I’m going to try.