Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

The Solstice is here. Summer is officially ON! And the garden is officially planted. All of it.

  • Box 1: Tomatoes - 3 varieties
  • Box 2: Peppers - sweet and spicy varieties
  • Box 3: Radishes, Carrots, Beets
  • Box 4: Lettuces - 3 varieties, Spinach; 3 Sunflowers at the corners. 
  • Box 5: Squashes and Pumpkins - 16 plants total - and a net lattice for them to grow up on. 
  • Box 6: Onions - Red, Yellow, White, Green
  • Box 7: Snap Peas and Garden Beans
  • Box 8: Wax Beans and Sweet Corn
  • Garlic Bed with 80 plants
  • Herb Bed with perennial herbs

Now all we need to do is water, weed, and wait. Oh - and fill in the paths with rocks scavenged from our walks. I have the bucket in the stroller basket and we are all ready to hit the trail in the morning for a load. 

I also have a long bed along the fence that I will prep and fill in hopes that we can afford raspberry bushes next year! But this can happen in bits and pieces whenever I get a few minutes. At present it is filled with all of the river rock that I had bordering the vegetable garden last year and a pile of sod and weeds from cleaning out the garden a few weeks ago. The sod and weeds just need to go out back behind the fence to help choke out the weeds that grow back there. The rocks will have a home in my flower and shrub gardens as 'features.' 

Flower/shrub gardens: All weeded, refilled with cedar mulch, and a few plants added. The irises I planted last fall have come up nicely. All of the perennials have come back in full force: firegrass; yarrow; echinacea, seedums. I added some columbines to the front garden to help hide the unsightly power boxes. The burberry bushes are looking a bit sad, but I've noticed that all round town as well. I will give them another month, but they may need to be replaced. The low juniper is doing great. 

Baby Trees: Are budding! They look quite happy and I am more than pleased with the fact that they are budding and flowering. 

Potted: Added some color out front with a few multicolor potted plants. Also filled the big pot out back with a few annuals and the pot on the bench got a nice new annual as well. Loving all of the green and growth we are getting. Everyone is looking very happy so far! 

Compost: This is our third summer in this house and I have yet to start a compost pile. I would really love to do worm composting indoors, but we don't have a suitable place to put that kind of setup. I have been eyeballing one of those rolling composters from Envirocycle. But they are over $100 and I'm not sure I want to spend that much to get started. I may just get a few GeoBins from the local Garden Center and go with the more labor intensive, slower composting, yet infinitely cheaper route. Anyone who has experience with either of these methods, give me a shout. I am also open to building something, as long as it's not complex and expensive! 

Still have to upload photos of everything. I will update when that happens! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Bed is Raised


I had all of the best intentions to start all kinds of garden plants indoors this winter. I has a wish list all filled out with heirloom seeds with short growing season. I had my mini greenhouse all cleaned out and organized and ready to go. I had peat pellets and potting mix and an army of 3" pots for transplanting. And a toddler. And a baby. And a hospital bill. So needless to say, none of it got done. Not only were my hands way too busy with  the babes, my budget was all tied up in paying off Rowan's last bills from her birth. 

We aren't totally empty handed though! Grandma Simons gave Ophelia a couple of those mini kid window greenhouses and we planted those (just flowers) - and I busted out my own bigger window greenhouse and started some squash and pumpkins. And we also started a few herbs in the windowsill as well. And I was able to hit a seed sale last month at Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply. 

The first batch of window sill starts went out in the greenhouse about a month ago. And promptly got frozen to death by our lovely May winter that blew through. Oops! The second batch is still happily growing in the window sill and are about to make a few days out in the real weather to harden before going into the ground. 

And that leads me to the biggest news! I finally finished making my raised beds! I raised and planted the garlic patch in the fall. A few weeks ago I went and purchased all of the lumber to make the remaining raised beds for the rest of the garden. I started with the Perennial Herbs, which got a 5' x 4' box to match the garlic patch box. Then I made up 8 boxes that are 4' x 4' for the vegetable garden. I have them in 2 rows of 4 each, with about 18" of path space between each box. I even added a trellis pole to one box so I can grow our squash and pumpkins up on a net! Yesterday, I took Rowan to the garden center and purchased enough amendments to fill the herb bed and 4 of the garden boxes. Today, I finished the last four boxes and got them installed. And as soon as Rowan wakes up, we are headed back to the garden center to pick up the last of the amendments for the last four boxes. Then everything will be ready and we can plant seeds and starts throughout the week! YAY! 

I am very excited about our garden this summer. The past two summers have not produced much in the way of vegetables. I am hoping that raising the beds and filling them with a very plant friendly growing medium will give us some good results. We are putting in corn, peas, beans, onions, squash, pumpkins, carrots, radishes, turnips, spinach, lettuces, peppers, and tomatoes. The herb garden has perennial chives, mint, oregano, cilantro, and lavender so far. I plan to add a few more from the garden center this afternoon! 

My last bit of gardening news: Baby Trees! When we were at Cashman's Nursery yesterday, they offered me a free baby apple tree for my baby. I graciously accepted and them also purchased a second tree so both girls could have their own tree. We planted them today and I am loving the prospect of having more trees in the yard as well as having apples in a few years. 

I will add photos to this post later this week. The sun took a dive right as I was starting to take some progress shots today. 

Happy planting!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Blog for Chronicling our Gardening Efforts

The first two summers in our new home did not bring good things in the way of gardening. Yes, we have a great space and great sunlight. Yes, we tilled and composted and pepped and soiled and watered. The only thing we were (sort of) successful with was the garlic. And those ended up being rather small.

This year, I hope, will be different. We are planning to employ the technique of "Gardening By The Square Foot." Each bed will be raised and sectioned off into one foot squares. I raised our garlic patch this fall. In the same space where I was able to plant 45 heads of garlic last season, this season I was able to plant 80. And since the bed is raised, I didn't have to deal with our difficult clay soil. I used a mixture of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite to fill the bed. The plan is to raise the herb garden the same way and to install 6 more 4' x 4' raised beds in our existing vegetable garden plot space.

In the mean time, I have all of the ingredients to get the majority of my garden plants started indoors before the outdoor growing season arrives. I am keeping my fingers crossed - last year my starts started out great, but didn't survive the transition into the ground.

I also have aspirations to start some berries: both strawberries and raspberries. And maybe even blackberries if I can get my hands on some starts.

Here are a few shots of our gardens from the past few seasons. The small garden at our old house was producing about 5 pounds of tomatoes a week! The most beautiful thing in our new garden is our daughter tip-toeing along the paths.