Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quite Contrary

Some people have a back forty; I've got a back decimal point.  But it doesn't matter how big or small, it is what you do with the space.  I love my back decimal point, a plot of land tucked between the back of our garage and the wood fence that separates us from neighbors on two sides.  This is my patch of country in the city.  This is my garden.

Here, my mid-summer journal with some hastily snapped iPhone photos.


Last year was our very first attempt at gardening edibles, and I've decided I need to keep track of growth, successes and failures.  Besides occasional questions to my gardening friends and a google search every once in a while, I'm just figuring it out as I go.  I should get more studious about this.  Mister and Sophie made three great raised beds measuring 4x6, and I've used surrounding earth for overflow and larger plants.

Last year I ordered three varieties of pumpkins (Fairytale, a white Casper, and a grey/green Jarrahdale) from one of Martha Stewart's favorites, Homestead Seeds.  Only the Jarrahdale produced last year, but I planted quite late.  This year, because they're heirlooms, I tried them again.  Jarrahdale was a bust, but one of the Caspers and two of the Fairytales are winding through the empty dirt paths.  I planted a whole month earlier this year, in mid-May.

I tried broccoli this year, experimenting with both seed and seedlings, because my family loves to eat it so much.  Survey says... probably not a repeat.  Why?  This is silly, but it is hard to clean all the little grooves, so I'm paranoid we're eating invisible bugs.

Herbs:  I've planted thyme, rosemary, green onions, dill and chives.  I love the funky purple flowers and soft spikes on the chives so much, I may just add them to my flower beds instead next time.  Mister has his own Chimichurri garden in containers on the back porch with two types of parsley, rosemary, thyme and basil.  We have two pretty purple sage in our flower beds.

 Our new favorite:  Peas!  I accidentally overseeded, which was fortunate, because the girls and I snap these off as snacks every day!  Next year -- MORE!

The strawberries are back with a fury again this year.  So sweet, and constantly bearing.  These are also integrated in our flower beds, and the plant keeps expanding.  The only trouble is we toss half to the birds, because the slugs have beaten us to the berries.

We ended up with three zucchini plants last year, so I've pared down to one.  My California friends are already haughtily posting their huge zuke pictures on facebook, but we're so much further behind with a shorter season due to the cold, all I have to show so far is a blossom or two.  There's a spaghetti squash creeping behind, my only two squash this year (besides the pumpkins, of course).

I tried corn this year!  I have about 8 plants in a patch of dirt, and about 8 more in a box.  They're fun to watch, and we're getting little tufts from the ears.  I want to try to plant earlier next year, then protect the little guys from snow and frost with milk cartons.  I like this photo, because there's an abandoned kid's shovel sitting haphazardly in the corner, documenting all the hard "work" my girls contribute to the garden, namely digging dirt and making mud and crawling on the rocks.  


My favorite addition this year is a home for the girls.  We moved Millie's playhouse to the garden area, so they can play while I work.  The house is surrounded by sunflowers, which have grown taller than the girls themselves!

FINAL INVENTORY:

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • beets
  • peas
  • broccoli
  • artichoke
  • tomatoes
  • radishes
  • dill
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • green onions
  • corn
  • eggplants
  • spaghetti squash
  • zucchini
  • pumpkins
  • strawberries

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