Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Nowruz, y'all

Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, celebrated on the first day of spring, precisely at the vernal equinox, which happens today at 6:21 p.m. Central Daylight Time this year. (You can read all about the wonderful traditions of Nowruz here, here and here.) Don't you just love the idea of New Year's being on the first day of spring instead of in the dead of winter? I do! So Happy Nowruz, and happy spring.

No delicious Sabzi Polo Mahi for me this Nowruz, but I do have a new raised bed for vegetables, on the south side of the garden shed. 7 feet by 3 feet by 8 inches deep--that's half a cubic yard of composty-growin' goodness right there.
New raised bed
My friend Penny suggested I put a bed here. I did have my compost bins here, but last Memorial Day, Penny and I were in my garden, talkin' bout gardening, and Penny mentioned the best squash she'd ever grown were in a bed on top of where her compost bins once were. My ears perked right up when she said that, because I've had very limited success in growing squash. Not so much the dreaded squash vine borer, but just low production from wimpy plants. So Penny said, 'why don't you move your compost bins over to that shady corner, and plant squash here in this sunny spot?' So I did. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to plant in the cinder block holes: something fun (or maybe something that repels squash vine borers!).

I also converted my 24-foot-long flower bed into a vegetable garden.
New veggie bed
This bed gets tons of sun, whereas my other beds get a few hours of morning sun followed by too much afternoon shade. So, I'm moving the cosmos, zinnias and hollyhocks elsewhere, and growing sun-loving veggies here. To ensure those crazy cosmos don't crop up in the midst of my veggies, I used the sheet mulching method that was very effective in stamping out weeds and grasses when starting my other beds, only this time I used corrugated cardboard instead of newspaper.

Finally, I erected cages around the tomatoes I planted.
Tomatoes in cages

The first to bloom: Juliet. It's funny, because I broke her stem in half when I planted her, and I thought I might lose her, but I put some rooting hormone around the break and stuck her back in the ground. She seems to be just fine.
Juliet tomato - first to flower

Seeds planted:
'Eight Ball' squash
'One Ball' squash
'Baby Round Zucchini' squash
'Costata Romenesco' zucchini
'Hale's Best' canteloupe
'Crimson Sweet' watermelon
'Sweet Delight' honeydew
'Contender' bush bean
'Blue Lake' pole bean
'Yellow Pole Wax' bean
'Purple Peacock' pole bean
'Scarlet Runner' pole bean

Whew! Lots of work, but hopefully with a nice payoff in a few months. What did you do on the first day of spring?

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Looks like we had some similar ideas this weekend, Caroline. Good luck with all of those veggies. Here's to a good "payoff"!

  2. Looks great! I can imagine that bed filled with big beautiful vegetables. Yum.

  3. New beds are so exciting! I love your long bed. I'll be digging my 5th and 6th bed this weekend. I probably won't be able to fill them with soil yet but I'll dig an area and get the cedar boards in place. Keep us posted on your progress.

  4. It was good meeting you on Saturday, Caroline.

    The new beds look good, especially the long one. Would love to be able to create a bed that long.

    Have you had issues with squash vine borers in the past?

  5. You are going to have quite a crop in that new bed. It looks like you have some really good soil. Good luck with the squash. Remember to go out and check for eggs every day. The only way to get a crop if the moth overwinters in your soil.