Friday, April 10, 2009

The State of the Garden Report

Okay, so I don't have pictures yet (they're on my home computer, and I'm currently at work), but they're coming soon. However, I thought before the Easter Break takes us into its grip that I would report on the current state of our garden.

I am pleased to report that our garden has enjoyed a steady growth rate in the first planting quarter, with the garden-share of our lawn increasing by approximately 5% over last year's end. This figure was carefully calculated by eyeballing the size of the garden, and then adding in the new additions, and then going "Yeah, that looks like maybe another 5% or so." But in more strict terms, we have reclaimed at least another 50 square feet from our lawn for the purposes of food and beauty.

Joining me in my gardening endeavors this year will be my husband Brian, who has finally let guilt drive him away from Civ IV and out into the fresh air and sunshine, which we have now conclusively established does not either set him on fire nor cause him to melt. Brian is not a natural gardener, but he is giving it a go this year by putting in a lovely potato bed. The bed itself is 8' x 4', and was dug out and planted by him yesterday. He'll be trying two different methods of potato propagation to see which one works better, since neither of us really know what we're doing with potatoes. Four of the potato plants are planted in standard 6" deep trenches, and will be hilled maybe halfway through the summer. Another four potato plants were also planted about 6" down, but after sprouting will be caged in chicken wire columns about 3' high and 1.5' in diameter, and then continuously filled throughout the growing season. This does mean that somewhere we're gonna hafta find a lot more dirt. Hmm....

Also, yesterday I put in two elderberry bushes, three grape vines, one blueberry bush, and one "mystery berry bush". I got the elderberry bushes from a friend's farm who was getting ready to pull them all anyway, and he said I could take whatever I wanted except the currents (curses!). I asked "What are those?" and he said "We don't know." "And those?" "Nope, don't know what those are, either." "These?" "I think these had something like a raspberry, except they didn't taste like raspberries." Okay, so I just chose one at random and dug it out. They're all edible, whatever they are. I'll try to post pics of the leaves for identification purposes later.

Otherwise, almost everything that can go into the garden now has gone into the garden:
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • beets
  • rutabegas
  • parsnips
  • spinach
  • onions
  • lettuces
  • chard
Other plants have been started, such as tomatoes, and lots & lots of herbs. Some of the herbs I bought, like evening primrose and echinacea, are direct seeded once the frost date has passed, but otherwise they're getting going in my house right now.

Also, if you look back at the old post that has my herb garden laid out, you will see a large tree on the right side labeled "Big Stupid Gumball Tree". Well, joy of joys!, that thing is coming down. Apparently tree service costs vary wildly from one to the next, but I found one who will take the whole tree down for $250 (including cutting it into pieces, but not hauling it away). That price is so low that I wouldn't trust it normally, except that this person just did extensive work for my neighbor and was perfectly good at what he did. So OKAY! Tree GONE! This will really open up my herb garden for planting, as well as help my main garden get far more late-afternoon sun. This is good.


  1. Hooray for more garden space! That tree was invasive anyway, right? :)

    Rutabagas...yum! I'm going to plant some. Like, maybe *right now*. I discovered by accident my new favorite way to cook them: throw diced 'bagas into heavily salted water and boil. When done, drain, then throw them back in the pot with the fat of your choice and a little minced garlic. dooooooooood.

  2. Totally invasive... I think it also doesn't like me much as a person. ;-)

    I will definitely try your 'baga recipe. Remind me about it come harvest time, just in case I ferget.

  3. I have an uncle (a fantastic gardener btw) who swears by the tire method of potatoes.
    throws a couple of old tires out in a stack and fills them with dirt. He claims that it gets both good drainage and the tires keep the dirt warm. When he wants to harvest potatoes, he can flip the top tire over, the dirt spils out along with the potatoes.

  4. I've heard of this--I've even seen versions where you put the tires on concrete, and fill the tires with compostable stuff (not compost, but stuff to be composted). I've heard of them getting built up to 6 tires high, even. I really do want to try that sometime, especially since we've got a big chunk of concrete behind our house that doesn't get used for much anything. (Except for kiddo bike-riding, and they can ride around tires--hey, that would be fun!)

  5. Your chicken wire columns could be filled with straw over the summer, instead of dirt - probably cheaper to get a bale of straw than lots of dirt!

  6. Katie--I've seen that, and it's tempting. The one thing holding me back from using straw (or at least, using *only* straw) is a story from Greenpa when he tried that method. At the end of the season, he found a whole bunch of fat, happy mice in the straw and no potatoes! =)