I haven’t been cooking this week (my spring cleaning involves eating our way through the contents of the freezer), but I have been gardening.  A trip to the farm store last week resulted in several additions to our seed collection (the little packets are so colorful, and the kids are incorrigible impulse shoppers), notably beets, radishes, and marigolds.  We also picked up a few handfuls of onion sets, which are tiny, 1-inch bulbs that can be grown to full size or harvested as green onions.

I gave the kids free reign over three old flower boxes filled with planting mix.  12 onion sets went in one, and they “sowed” radish and lettuce seeds in the others (results should be interesting).  Evening temperatures have been consistently above freezing for a few weeks now, so hopefully they’ll fare well.

Construction of the raised bed is complete!  With $34-worth of dimensional lumber and deck screws, we assembled a 4×6′ frame (loosely following this plan) and leveled an area in the northwest corner of the backyard (the west edge of the frame is buried 9″ into the soil to compensate for the slope of the lawn).  The bed will be filled with a combination of organic topsoil, planting mix (which is topsoil plus compost and peat), compost, and composted manure in a 6:6:1:1 ratio.  The northern edge of the box will be planted with tomatoes, the rest filled with red and green leaf lettuce, red and yellow onions, bush cucumbers, radishes, beets, carrots, parsley, basil, and marigolds (which, I’ve read, help control pests).  To keep things orderly, I’m going to divide the box into quadrants (a la the square foot garden) using bamboo skewers and kitchen string.  Hopefully onions, lettuce, carrots, and beets will go in this weekend, with cucumbers and marigolds following the week after and herb and tomato plants as soon as they become available.