Thursday, November 17, 2011

While making my first Garden

My Old Garden in the early spring.
Given the fact that I do not have money to pour into my garden (I’m a teacher) my need to be creatively resourceful is relentless. For my first garden, I found slats of wood that someone was giving away for free. With a few of these I shored up the sides of my garden in my attempt to keep Bermuda grass out. Once those were installed I dug at least 1’ down and put compost under the 1’ of soil. After amending the soil with sulfur and fertilizer I made rows and put newspaper on the bottom of the rows. On either side of the newspaper I ran my soaker hoses. Then on top of the newspaper (on the trough between the rows I laid the rest of the boards that I didn’t use for the sides of the garden. To keep from compacting the soil I walked on the boards, sometimes like a circus tightrope walker. Once the bounds of the garden were set and the soil was prepared I got set on planting.

Some of the first things I planted in my winter garden were Green Globe artichokes, Purple Dragon carrots, Tyee Spinach, and Chartwell Lettuce (a Romaine variety). I also planted some Fallstaff Brussel Sprouts to the dismay of my whole family. Lesson learned: Don’t plant any food crop the family does not want to eat.

Fallstaff Brussel Sprouts
I really miss growing carrots. Purple carrots are fun and very tasty. I think I’ll try growing some again for seed this coming year. I’ve just got to remember to pull out the little ones and let the big ones grow for stronger seed next year!

Purple Dragon Carrots

If you ever get a chance, Little Marvel Peas are great to grow.

Little Marvel Peas
 Some pics of the Spinach and Chartwell Lettuce. My wife loved the Spinach and the lettuce was a big hit with everyone I shared it with.

Tyee Spinach, Chartwell Lettuce & Carrots

Then there was the artichokes. I figured the adults could eat the larger tough leaves and that we could save the heart for the youngest children. My thinking paid off well. Our kids loved them. One day my oldest son was describing to me his favorite vegetable. It took a while, but then we figured out he was talking about artichokes!

Green Globes can get quite large
The beauty of the Artichoke

As you may notice from the pictures a good 1/4 to 1/5 of my garden area was taken up by the compost pile. Deciduous trees usually drop their leaves here between the second week of December and February, depending upon the weather. It usually took half a day just to rake them up and collect them into bags to store for later composting. I used leaves, coffee grounds, and manure from a local horse ranch along with some added kitchen scraps to make my compost.

Garden with old compost pile (lemon grass in the left corner)

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