Garden Progress

We have officially eaten food grown in our little garden — and it was good!

Early July progress (I need to get a picture now, things are much fuller):

Last week the harvest from those green beans gave us our side dish for dinner. And again — they were surprisingly good. The plants themselves seem to be losing leaves and color fast… I’m guessing pests are having at them?

Our strawberries aren’t very sweet, but this is the first year. I’m hoping a year establishing roots will give us a better crop in 2018.

There are surprises too. Last week I pushed aside the enormous carrot leaves and was startled to find a nearly full-grown pepper biding its time:

I’m already thinking about next year — both crops and aesthetics. We visited friends last weekend, and their small garden produces a solid crop and looks beautiful. I’m taking notes…

Garden Update: It’s All Happening

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I shouldn’t say how long this plan took, but it was all of January.

Thanks to a 65 degree Saturday in mid-February, things got underway! First up: the bed for strawberries. Off to Lowes for lumber.

To keep my costs down, I wanted to make a bed out of a single piece of wood. I settled on a 3×3 bed made from a 2x12x12 untreated southern yellow pine (standard lumber). Lowes will cut lumber for free, so I had them cut it into 4 pieces to fit the wood into the car. I also had them cut a 2×4 into 18″ lengths so I could secure the corners of the bed.

Total cost: $22.

Screwing things into wood is about as handy as I get. This project took a little over an hour to complete.

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I am curious to see if a 12″ board will pull away from the corners or split over time. If it does, well… lesson learned. But this was much faster than joining 6″ boards together.

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This bed will sit near the fence on the northern border of our property in the back yard, which gets the most sun. When I’m sure this is the right spot, I’ll flip the bed over and bury the 6″ of overflow to keep the bed from moving.

Then I’ll hope I can grow something worth eating…

2017: Bumper Crop or Bust

At least once a year I spend an unreasonable amount of time romanticizing vegetable gardening and making my plans. “Everyone says homegrown vegetables taste delicious! Think of the money we’ll save not buying carrots!” I imagine the kids, faces smudged with sweat and mud, filling baskets with our yard’s bountiful yield without throwing dirt on one another or “accidentally” spraying anyone with the hose.

I’ve attempted container gardening twice. Let us not speak of the first try. The second time two baseball-sized watermelons inexplicably rotted on the vine. By late summer, however, our watering efforts had produced something “edible”: bitter cucumbers and flavorless carrots.

img_3883Bless our kids, they chomped down the resulting cucumber slices with gusto. I took one bite and threw mine away. Later I surrendered the remains of my carrot to my oldest daughter.

“Turns out you have to harvest the carrots late in the fall,” I read aloud to Renate from a gardening post. “For the best taste you should wait a frost or two.”

“Ah,” she replied, her tone suggesting she might not be all that interested as to when carrots should be harvested.

It’s going to be different this year. This year I’m PREPARED, and it’s only January. I have researched seed companies; I have identified the simplest plants to grow; I know my USDA Plant Hardiness Zone (6a); I have researched wood with which to build a raised vegetable bed, and loamy soil with which to fill it. “Loamy” is a word I now know.

Also I have three garden companions aged 4, 6, and 8 who like to fill the watering can and dump it out. If the cucumbers are gross, at least we will have made them gross together.

But the cucumbers won’t be gross. This year the cucumbers are going to be DELICIOUS. Loamy soil!