Thursday, April 14, 2011

My First Harvest and a Major Project!

This was the first thing I harvested from our garden:

A 'Purple Plum' radish.

A few days later I harvested this:

Some baby spinach leaves, a few basil leaves, some garlic chives and more radishes.

I turned it into a delicious salad for that night's supper.

I harvested more spinach leaves and radishes today.

When we first moved into our house a few years ago we cut down two huge holly bushes next to our front porch (the berries are poisonous and we didn't want to risk our kids eating them).  There was also a small brick planter under our window which wasn't wide enough to really plant anything, but somehow, previous owners had squeezed in three boxwoods.  A stray mimosa tree was also growing there.  So, a few weekends ago, my husband and I tore out the brick planter and dug out the bushes and the tree.  On Tuesday, I used a soaker hose to outline the shape of the bed and turned on the water to make digging easier.  I dug a shallow trench along the hose and put in the border.  Wednesday I laid down newspaper and compost on half of the bed and finished it up today with a layer of cedar mulch.

This is the result:

I plan on using this bed as a flower and herb garden next spring.  For now, I'll use some pots of strawberries and other plants.  I decided that the stumps could just be incorporated into the bed instead of trying to get them out.

This post is part of Harvest Monday on Daphne's Dandelions.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Off to a good start!

Here is where most of the action will take place this summer.  This is a 4' x 4' raised bed that my husband made for me out of some wood we had.  I lined it with black plastic to make it last a little longer.  It took 10 bags of topsoil to fill it up.  I added organic fertilizer for some nutrition.  I measured out the spacing and hammered in some nails to tie garden twine to so that I could have a Square Foot Garden.  The boys and I planted onion sets on March 3.  This is what it looks like today (March 25):

The onions are in the front four squares with Tonda di Parigi carrots in the next four and Swiss Chard in the four squares after that.  Those were all planted on March 22.

In our front yard we have a raised brick bed.  I planted spinach on March 3.  This is what they looked like on March 17:

The seedlings look like blades of grass at first, but today, they look like this:
We also planted radishes in this bed.  The first sowing was March 11 and the second was on the 22nd.

I just love their heart-shaped leaves.  They are Purple Plum radishes.  We also planted a lettuce mix on the 22nd, but they won't start sprouting for a few more days.

Yesterday, I bought a basil plant and some onion chives to fill in a gap in this bed.
Last weekend we went to Sam's Club and I found a raised bed kit for around $40.  It is about 4' x 8'.  I put it together in about 5 minutes, no tools required.  The kids and I gathered up our fall leaves and some kitchen scraps to start composting right in the bed to prepare it for next year.
I'll keep adding shredded newspaper, grass clippings, coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable peelings throughout the year.  I told the boys we needed to get some worms to put in it.

That's all the planting for now.  In a few weeks it will be time to plant cucumbers, melons, squash, and zucchini.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Seeds Are In!

I ordered them from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, Missouri.

This first one is Lungo Bianco zucchini.  It is a bush plant that originally comes from Italy.

I thought the Lemon Squash was so cute!  It is said to have great bug resistance and flavor.

I love the color of this purple plum radish.  They have a sweet taste.

My kids chose this Tigger Melon to grow.  The fruit weighs about a pound each and the color is amazing.

This Burmese Okra is a native of Africa.  It has no spines and thrives in the heat.

Dragons Egg Cucumbers are small and they are great producers.

These are Tonda di Parigi Carrots.  They grow to about 1-2 inches and have a sweet taste.

And finally, I got these Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberries.  They are said to be preferred by the finest restaurants.

I also bought Clyde's Garden Planner.  It is a handy tool that tells when to plant based on frost dates.

I'll buy onion sets, tomato plants and pepper plants locally.  Can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gardening Resources

These are the gardening books I own that I'm using to get started.  The first is Starter Vegetable Gardens by Barbara Pleasant.  It has several sample plans to use along with detailed information on how to implement them.  The next is All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.  I love the idea of using raised beds and hope to eventually have some of them.  He has great ideas about spacing and vertical gardening as well.  The last book is Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail.  This book has inspired me to give veggies a try.  The pictures are beautiful.  She also details many types of vegetables, fruits, and herbs as well as harvesting and storage help.

Some online resources I'm using are the Old Farmer's Almanac which has a feature to choose your town and it displays what to plant when, and Garden Guides which has great articles and videos about all aspects of gardening.  Another great resource is my local cooperative extension office.  They have knowledge about what plants will grow best in my area.

Hopefully, with all this information I'll be able to have a successful garden.  Only time will tell!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting Started

I received the most beautiful seed catalog in the mail last week.  It is from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  There are so many unusual varieties to choose from.  I love flipping through the pages and dreaming about some day growing every one of them!  I've never tried to grow vegetables before, but this spring I am going to give it a try.

Instead of doing a traditional row garden with all the tilling and hoeing, I am going to try a unique and easy garden: bags of topsoil.  I got the idea from an article in Mother Earth News.  All you do is poke holes in the bottom of a bag of topsoil and cut a hole in the top for the seeds or plants.  Sounds simple enough for me.

I've made my list of seeds I want and will order them from Baker Creek soon.  My garden will be small this year.  If it is successful, I'll expand it next year.