The Garden-July 2013

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Hi, welcome to my home. I know, it needs a paint job. Wild grapevines are also trying to swallow our hill, I weedwack them back every week.

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These were the first two garden boxes I made when I first moved in. Up until a week ago they housed spinach (the front one with the swiss chard in it) and peas (the rear one with the peppers in it). I plan on planting New Zealand spinach (supposedly stands up under the heat) and bush beans.

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This box is also one of the first I made, and it houses onions, swiss chard, and formerly lettuce.

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I also planted blueberries when I first moved in, and the second year I was here (I’ll plant more this year too, if I can get them on sale). We sustained heavy deer damage the first year, so now I keep the ones by the road netted, and planted the second planting right next to the house where the deer won’t come. This year we got a handful of berries. I’m hoping next year all of them fruit.

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I even have tomatoes growing out of the compost pile (the one I used up this year).

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I planted one raspberry plant when I first moved in, and this year it has arrived! We are harvesting at least a handful a day. I plan on putting in more raspberries, because they are so easy. And they reproduce themselves!

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This is my newest garden that I dug in the backyard. I bordered it with the rocks I dug out of the ground, but I didn’t have enough to go all the way around. It’s planted with potatoes (which I planted really late).

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We also have loads of tomatoes in the backyard. The fenced in part I had lettuce in. That’s also a movable fence, but now the tomatoes are using it for support, so it’s not going anywhere this year. I am replanting it with chard and spinach, but we’ve had so much rain, it’s hard to get anything to come up.

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The roses are my one nod to landscaping. I don’t plant things that I don’t eat. Although in a pinch, roses are edible. But I love to cut one and put it on the table or windowsill.

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This picture is at a crazy angle, but these gardens are right in front of my front porch. The raised bed one that is half out of the picture used to have lettuce in it. They were lovely huge heads of red leaf lettuce-nine of them. I ate them all in about 2 weeks.

The far box had broccoli in it, but the groundhog snuck in while I was on vacation and decimated it. The middle box has lacinato kale (aka dino kale) that is struggling. It’s full of holes. I remember at the farm I worked at the dino kale was always full of holes too, maybe the bugs just like it more than the curly stuff? The final box has strawberries in it. This is my first year for them, so we’ll see how they do next year. These front boxes I just used whatever there was laying around to frame them. Rocks from the ground, old pieces of concrete, old bricks from torn down houses, old boards and logs, anything goes.

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This is to the left of the other front yard gardens. We have 2 volunteer pumpkin plants growing from seeds in the compost that are just going crazy! I’ve been pruning it back from the peppers, because they have first priority. We also have 4 celery plants in there that are loving all this rain. And there is a pot of dill there in the middle for some reason.

We also have collard greens and cauliflower. The cauliflower was a mistake. It was labeled collard greens, and at the baby stage, it’s really hard to tell the difference, but we’ve been eating the leaves of both. The collard greens we must have had eight or more meals from already.

Next to the collards, there is a volunteer cilantro plant that came up from seeds I planted last year, that never did anything. It’s going to seed, so I’m going to have some coriander for free.

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I also dug these this year. They are to the side of the house, but still in front of it. There are some strawberry plants, basil, tomatoes, patio tomatoes in the right hand one, and some butternut squash and pole beans (climbing up the ugly evergreen bush) in the other one.

The squash is covered with chicken wire, so the cats wouldn’t step all over the dirt and prevent the seeds from coming up at all (which is what they did the first time). It seems to have worked, now I need to fence it to keep the groundhog from feasting on the leaves.

If you are wondering why I didn’t just connect the two, I certainly would have. The ground however was too hard for me to dig in between them-super rocky.

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Finally we have the herb patch, well more of a tangle. There is mint (obviously), rosemary, oregano, tarragon, french lavender, chives, and in one of the pots, which is hiding behind the rosemary, there is chamomile. I also have a pot of basil (which I keep letting dry out-somehow the rain isn’t enough. There are also irises in there. They pre-date me.

The other pot has an almond or peach tree in it that grew from seed in my garden. I think it’s a peach. Someone was careless with the hose this past weekend and broke the top of it off (and it wasn’t me!).  I also have a cherry tree (not pictured) on the side of the house that is doing well considering all the deer damage (and those *&^%&#^%$@#$!! japanese beetles!!!!).

So there you have it-my tenth of an acre homestead! I keep thinking about adding some ducks to eat the bugs for me, but I don’t think I’m fit for animal husbandry (and I’d have to sell their eggs, because I don’t really eat eggs). Plus then I couldn’t disappear for weeks on end. Still some ducks waddling about eating pill bugs would be nice….

I hope I’ve inspired you to use whatever land you have (or can use-the part up where I park my car isn’t technically mine per se) to grow your own food. Convention says don’t put your garden in your front yard-I say do what you have to. Of course if you are in one of the housing associations with rules and whatnot about those sorts of things, well, you dug your own grave. Around here, no one cares.

But you can make a garden look pretty. Blueberry bushes are attractive shrubs, and useful unlike the dreary perennials in most people’s landscaped front yards. Raspberries can be trained along your fence. You can plant fruit trees anywhere you have room. Or even a nice small hazelnut tree, which is my current lust, though I don’t really have the space for it.

My next experiment will be growing things on other people’s property-not like in their yards, like in abandoned lots and waste areas. I’m looking for a nice, safe place for that hazelnut tree all the time….

 

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