Monday, February 4, 2013

Downsizing my Winter Garden

Kids' Garden in Orange
As my summer garden waned in the decreasing day length of October I began to formulate my plans for my winter garden. Last winter’s warm and dry season found me running out to my vegetables them almost daily to hand-water. Now that my wife was going to school full-time it would be impossible for me to be hand-water my garden while getting myself and my family ready to leave for work and school each morning. Something just had to go. 

The rope is meant to keep stray balls (and children) from falling on the plants

I decided that I could grow only the size of garden that would work with a small soaker hose. The only location that was currently unoccupied with “stuff” was the kids’ garden. Though this had previously been a place where my kids could much on veggies at their leisure, I had a family discussion and explained that I would need to commandeer their garden plot this season to retain my sanity. My children understood and reluctantly agreed.

Bull's Blood Beets

Downsizing a garden is really difficult for someone who really enjoys growing as much as possible. I am literally trying to do the same thing as before, but with less space. The Red Creole onions came to me via the Pima County’s Seed library while my chickpeas came to me via the USDA. Should I want to save these seeds for future generations I will definitely have to grow them out again in a larger population to avoid the bottleneck affect that leads to inbreeding depression and poor plant vigor. This inability to select plants based on vigor or trueness-to-type is one of the reasons why this winter’s garden is mostly an “experiment with a few varieties” rather than an actual full-fledged garden.

Onions, such as this Red Creole, take a while to grow

My first herbs ever, Cilantro plants, next to one of my Chickpea plants

With exception of the Atomic Red Carrots and the Bull’s Blood Beets – both of which I planted in greater numbers - the population of my veggies has made it so I’ll have to grow these same varieties out another winter before I can obtain a population of plants in which to save strong seed from.

Some onions growing in my winter garden


  1. I so admire your tenacity in growing veggies and collecting seeds...I learn so much every time I visit. I have not collected seed yet but one of these seasons I hope to start.

    1. Thank you Donna. I find that the more I grow plants to seed the more I am able to control the quality of plants I grow. I highly recommend reading the sections of "Seed to Seed" that relate to the plants you want to save seed of before you decide to save them. I wish you the best when you decide to start saving seed. The results can be quite rewarding!

  2. I agree with Donna about your tenacity in collecting seeds.

    1. As always - Thank you for all your support and your comment, Giuseppe!


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