Saturday, August 15, 2009

My garden

We're starting to harvest the fruits (well, vegetables) of our labors. We have a lovely sunny patch of yard--the only good place to have a vegetable garden--that one of the previous owners graveled over for a parking area. So this spring we built six 4x4 foot raised bed gardens out of 2x12 lumber. We dug up soil at our friend's property, hauled it to the raised beds, then amended it with peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and composted manure. This turned the heavy, clay soil into light, fluffy dirt. It's amazing to work with. There are three other garden beds along the kitchen and garage. They are approximately 20x3' (morning sun), 8x4' (full sun), and 15x4' (afternoon sun).

In these 9 beds total I planted:
  • 11 tomato plants (mixture of heirlooms, one cherry tomato, and lots of mystery tomatoes). 8 of my tomato plants look like they have some sort of blight: the leaves are getting black spots and then dying off. Fortunately the tomatoes are still ripening.
  • 17 peppers (bell, Thai chili, jalapeno, and many more varieties)
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 4 eggplants (I've only seen 2 eggplant fruits total from the 4 plants, not sure what happened)
  • beets, lots and lots and lots
  • carrots: rainbow mix and Danvers variety
  • shallots
  • leeks (not sure if they made it)
  • parsnips
  • watermelon
  • muskmelon
  • cantaloupe
  • 10 asparagus
  • 5 blackberries
  • 3 raspberries
  • potatoes (from mushy sprouted ones I found in my pantry this spring)
  • red, white, and yellow onions (from sets)
  • spinach
  • mesclun mix (mixture of lettuces and mustard greens)
  • mache (I eat this every day when I am in France...mmmmmm...)
  • kale: lots and lots of Winterbor (ruffly leaves) and Nero di Toscana (flat leaves), definitely like the ruffly one better.
  • strawberries
  • bush beans
  • zucchini (didn't make it)
  • summer squash (just starting to see the first ones coming on)
  • 3 broccoli
  • 4 cabbage
  • 1 rhubarb
  • acorn squash (didn't make it)
  • cucumbers (off to a slow start...not sure if we'll get anything)
  • butternut squash (didn't make it)
  • 8 basil plants (1 lemon, 1 lime, the rest sweet basil)
  • chocolate mint (in a pot so it doesn't take over everything)
  • 1 each of: oregano, thyme, sage, chives, sweet marjoram, flat-leaf parsley, dill (didn't make it), rosemary
We left town for 6 weeks and, amazingly, almost everything had survived when we came back! I attribute that in large part to using square foot gardening. The plants grow so close together that there isn't much room for weeds.

I am amazed at the variety of plants I was able to fit into a relatively small footprint. Next year I want to add a few more raised beds. I like the aesthetics of the square 4x4' beds, but I'm going to put in rectangular beds, still 4' deep but longer to use up more of the available ground. I also want to add fruit trees (apple, pear, peach, cherry) and bushes (red currant, chokecherry, blueberry, elderberry) and lots more raspberries.

Now the challenge this year is to not let anything go to waste!


  1. We're just coming up to our planting season here and I can't wait. I've got peas, beans, lettuce, parsley, kale, beets, garlic, onions, spring onions, coriander, spinach, silver beet and chives in at the moment, but I'm looking forward to spring.

    I've also got a few cherry trees and an apricot tree in, but as they were only planted this winter, I doubt I'll get anything off them.

    Oh and hi, I'm a lurker.

  2. nice rixa. garedening is like parenting. a bit hit and miss at times but overall wothwhile and rewarding. look forward to some pics!

  3. I am jealous. Our garden suffered this year for lack of attention. We do square foot gardening also, but even that needs fairly regular watering here in the south...

  4. My mouth is watering just reading about all those plants. We have an odd sun situation in our yard and so we tried container gardening on the back deck. It worked, sort of. We planted mostly tomatoes and cucumbers with a few basil plants and a parsley and a lavender. The plants are growing fine, but none of the foliage is very green, and we seem to be getting a lot of leaves and not a lot of vegetables on the plants. I keep hoping something will happen. I'm not impressed with how this year's garden is shaping up, though.

  5. Hmmm, I absolutely love mache! I was so excited to discover they sell it at Trader Joe's.

  6. Amazing :)

    You should grow cucumbers in a green house or at least under a plastic tent if your area is not hot enough.

  7. Pictures. Need pictures!

  8. Hey come to think of it. Have you tried cutting up a bunch of veggies, Put them in a container of mesquite mix and stir around. Then after they have soaked up the mesquite flavor a bit, I put them on a kabob stick and grill them. They taste great. You can get the mesquite dry mix in a packet in the grocery store.

  9. The timing of your post intrigued me because I was working on my garden notes and stopped to take a break and saw yours. I noticed your squash didn't take off. I have eaten 3 cucumbers. I am not counting my chickens before they hatch. I should take a photo of the one squash before my kids sever the vine or we have a hurricaine!


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