Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Enough with the sadness, on with the garden report!

We did manage to pull ourselves together yesterday and do some yard work. We decided that it was very important to have a day this weekend (Jeff had four days off) that actually counted for something, so we set to it and even overdid it a bit.

I have to say that my gardening this year has been a bit half-hearted. For one thing, we worked really hard last year and spent a fair amount of money-- with poor harvest results. This was due in part to the lousy weather, with no substantial sunshine until mid-June, and also lack of experience in the Northwest. The other reason is that we don't plan to be living here much longer. Even if we don't move overseas, we plan to quit being homeowners--and regress a bit to renting and saving money. I guess I could write a whole post about that, but I don't feel like it. So anyway, it all feels a bit temporary and that automatically takes some of the gusto out of it. On the other hand, I don't have to think too hard about any choices I make, so I have decided to just have fun playing in the dirt, and whatever I get to pick and eat is a bonus.

One garden project I'm excited about is our potato box. We are doing something like this, where you build a box gradually as the potatoes grow and then you can harvest them progressively by taking the boards off of the bottom to get the bigger ones, and move up as the higher ones are the right size. I still need to start another one, and have a bag of blue potatoes that will go in there. Pictured are the eager shoots of yukon gold and baby reds-- it's almost time to add another layer.

Last year we didn't do any raised beds, and the sunniest spot in our yard was in "detox," since part of it was previously a parking spot. We planted some detoxifying plants and did some intensive treatments to help it along. Now we are putting some raised beds there, with a barrier in the bottom to keep roots in the more controlled environment of the box for a while longer. I am excited about the bean teepee, and have also planted zuchinni and watermelon along the sides to spill over onto the rest of the detoxifying plot. One more note, we have a lot of donated/ collected wood that all came to us for free to help with the chicken coop, so all of these boxes and things have not cost us a dime!

Many of the items planted last year that were disappointing in yield still produced plenty of seeds. For example we now have probably fifty fennel seedlings doing very nicely, and parsley starts scattered all over the garden. I recently planted a lot of the dill seeds I had collected last year, too. I'm happy to have these all growing with little effort and no expense. Also, the strawberry patch is going crazy, so I have high hopes in that department. Here's some of that young feathery fennel.
I'm having fun using a bunch of long sticks we have for some reason, and built a pup-tent-like trellis for cucumbers. We have some other trellisses here and there from wood cut from trees in our yard.Which brings us to the peas. They have been planted in three different plots, and we are now starting to pick them! I have been looking forward to having something available for Amelia to eat straight from the plants in the garden.Also coming along are the spring onions, lettuces and some herbs.

This year, we will actually have a little fruit from our own trees. I'm especially excited about our espallier- style apple tree grafted with four different varieties. Its branches are fully loaded with these little cuties:We also have a fig tree. I have a soft spot in my heart for fig trees, since my aunt in Whittier always had this little one in her yard that we played on and ate from. Also because the taste and texture of fresh figs is so wonderful!And we have a cherry tree with nine cherries growing. We'll try not to eat them all at once!

We have more work to do, with an empty raised bed and a freshly cleared garden bed. I have put a lot of various seeds in the ground this week, and am waiting to see what comes up. So far, radishes and dill. I'm hoping for more greens, but we do have broccoli and a few other little things growing nicely. I know this has been quite long, so thanks for sticking with me!


Gretchen said...

What an amazing garden! Aren't figs great? That tree in our yard made some great memories. =0)

Great Aunt Gretchen said...

For just"throwing some seeds in the ground" and "not putting much heart into it", you sure have a great garden!! Wow, I wonder what could happen with the right soil, sunshine and motivation!!
I'm impressed.
Aunt G

Sinfonian said...

Sinfonian here, great work! However, yukon golds and maybe the reds are early varieties. They will only set fruit in the bottom 6 inches of the soil. Always use mid to late season varieties in potato bins. I made this mistake last year. Good luck with your garden!

Grandma Seelye said...

Just playing in the dirt huh? Sounds like a great garden to me! We're eating our lettuce now and waiting for our tomatoes.Glad you're feeling better. Love you

Aunt Robin said...

Lovely pictures, too! Glad you're feeling better...