Monday, July 08, 2013

Garden 2013

I think my first introduction to gardening came from both sets of my grandparents.  One side of the family were beef cattle farmers and the other lived in a smallish urban city and had two or three cherry tomato bushes in the front flower beds.  Later years in culinary school, I started getting the bug to garden.  I thought about it for a few years and finally planted some basil.  You have to start somewhere right?

Now we have seven small beds in half our back yard.  It's fenced off to keep the noisy dogs from getting into everything. First we had chicken wire, then white plastic fencing and now we had graduated to real metal fencing.  There is a mail box right outside the gate that is filled with our quick need gardening supplies such as clear plastic bags, hand spades, mini cutters, twist ties and gardening gloves.  It's our old mail box from a few years back.  I saw the idea on some garden show years ago and stored that idea away for another time.  
I would have hated to throw this box away so here it is.  It opens from both sides.  When mail started disappearing in our neighborhood, we opted for a locked mailbox.  This one got moved to the backyard for more use.
Here is the loaded down box.  It does come in handy.  Why should I store plastic bags for the yard under the kitchen sink when they are just as safe here and closer to the source where they will be used.
We decided that our water bill could not stand to be any higher than what it was.  I saw water barrels on a gardening show and decided we should give them a try.  We have five in all and are going to add two more if possible.Each one holds a different amount of water anywhere from 50 gallons and on up.  The down spout from the gutter empties into one main barrel which is then connected to all the others for overflow.  I have to say whatever it saves in our water bill, it sure takes it's toll on toting water back and forth to the garden.  If we had been smart we would have made our garden on the side of the house with the barrels.  The next garden will have more thought into it...I hope.  
We wanted to do some composting so here is the lone barrel.  We want to have one or two more but we are trying to decide where we can put them.  
Last year we had to order 1500 lady bugs to get rid of aphids.   We had stressed the plants by putting them too close together so we cut our tomato plants by half and they seem to be doing much better this year.  There are five plants in the bed.  They are loaded down with tomatoes this year.  Last year, it was touch and go.
This is bed #2.  There are potato plants in here as well as birdhouse gourds on a trellis.  Last year we had a hard time with the gourds not producing, but this year they are going crazy.  

Bed #3 has one tomato plant, one basil plant and the rest are green beans.  We eat a lot of green beans.  
In the foreground there are two containers loaded with carrots.  We tried them in the ground once and got the stubbiest little carrots so we decided two years ago to do them in pots.  It's worked really well this way so this might be the only way we get carrots.  They are taller than they ever have been.  So we shall see.
Beds #4&5 are both loaded with more green beans but the trellis has one penguin gourd plant. We tried sprouting others but they just never came up.  This one is going really well.  I will be excited to see happens to it as the summer goes on.
This is just another angle of the same beds above.  You can't see it but there is a little path between two small beds.  
This is bed #6.  It looks kind of strange because it has Jacob's Cattle beans (on the far end).  They are dried beans.  We plant them and leave them alone until fall.  They dry right in the bed and then when they are brown, I go collect them and pop them onto a cookie sheet and let them dry the rest of the way in the house.  Then when they are super hard, they go into a jar for eating this winter.  The other half of the bed has red potatoes and some really small bell pepper plants.  They are no doing so well so I am thinking we are not going to get bell peppers this year.  
Bed #7 is our lost bed.  Yes, I said lost.  We are not sure what this bed is supposed to be.  We had asparagus last year and left them alone.  This year only half the ferns came up.  We have never grown them before so I am not exactly what has happened.  The plants in the front are Boston Bib lettuce and some other mix that is going to see now.  This bed needs to be used better so I planted some kind of trumpet vine that hummingbirds will love and it will grow over it and give it some shade.  I think we are going to relocate the asparagus to some other bed because this one will be shady eventually.  I can grow more lettuce in this one, I think.
This is just a long planter where I used burlap when the coconut lining fell apart.  It works perfectly.  I have three that have the burlap lining.

So that is our city garden right now.  I think we are going to build the beds up and a few more boards in the fall.  I would like taller beds.  My back is killing me!  I will be back when we have more things from the garden to show.  


Geraldine Kiser said...

I am so impressed with all your gardening! I tried a tomato in a pot and a bell pepper in another. No go. The squirrels ate all the fruit and then chewed on the plants. It's the farmer's market for us I think! 8^)

vlb5757 said...

We have made so many mistakes over the years that I think we are doing better. We struggle every year with bell peppers. We just never seem to get the results we hope for but we keep trying. I would love to try and grow things right in the soil bags themselves like I have seen on the internet.

Beverly Frankeny said...

I think your garden looks great!....very happy and lush. Are you going to dry your birdhouse gourds and make birdhouses???
I think gardening is always a learning process. Each year I do things just a little different, based on what I learned the previous years. But then, Mother Nature always has a hand in how it turns out despite our best efforts!!

Leigh said...

I loved the tour and all your garden goodies. Very clever use of the mailbox!

vlb5757 said...

Beverly, I would love to make bird houses with the gourd if we can get them to maturity. We had at least a dozen start last year and ended up with three that dried out. We are constantly thinking about the next year and how we can improve but like you say, Mother Nature's plan isn't always ours! I think as long as I can do something with my hands we will always have a garden.

vlb5757 said...

Leigh, we are no where the same kind of gardener you are but I always learn something new from reading your blog. I am hoping when we retire we can have a small place in the country and I can try bigger and better things.