Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mole Hole

Well I know who was living in my raised bed now. Unfortunately the field supervisor brought this poor little guy in tonight. I saw her skulk past and suddenly noticed something dark and furry in her mouth.

The mole was already quite dead, so no use trying to free it. This is the first mole I've ever encountered in a garden. Its fur was like velvet. They eat primarily earthworms and my garden is rich with plump, healthy worms. Somehow I don't think he is the only mole out there though, because the field supervisor was dying for a second go and quite miffed at being locked in.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A backdoor in my raised bed.

There's a den entrance in the middle of my raised bed. The garden supervisor found it. This explains why my basil has been repeatedly uprooted. I don't know who it belongs to yet: mole, vole, groundhog or rabbit. I've only seen rabbits in the yard so far.

Good thing I'm digging out more beds.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Digging Dirt

Well, the digging begins and what I am finding below the grass is not encouraging. 

Tree roots galore and hundreds (thousands) of stones, small and large. This is gonna be a chore. Pacing is key. Fortunately I have a few plants in a raised bed already. Part of the bed took a hit overnight from some raccoon shenanigans but I can replant. Plenty of time.

This is the section of the yard I am digging out for now, leaving the other side for the fire pit and grape arbor. Every shovel full is pure elbow grease. Gonna need a lot of amendment I'm afraid. It'll be fun to see how much food a small parcel like this can produce.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Everywhere Tomatoes

On shelves, on floors, in windows and under grow lights. This is just a small selection of what is all over my kitchen.

And this is where they are supposed to go. I haven't had the time to dig out the new plot and the seedlings are begging to be planted out. They keep out growing their pots.

In my utter overwhelm, a certain person, who shall remain nameless, decided to assist me and repotted three dozen tomato plants (Yes, I have that many. I make a lot of sauce, salsa and gazpacho.)

Unfortunately... I neglected to pass on my secret organizational system and all the varieties were intermingled. I now have no idea which plants are Black Russians, Yellow Pears or San Marzanos. Gonna be a crap shoot this season.  It's funny how every season your garden gets away from you at some point. Usually it's at harvest for me. Seldom at commencement.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Growing Potatoes in Bags

This is a potato planter (14 X 20 inches) with a velcro side flap that opens to allow to you pick a few new potatoes at a time so you don't have to harvest your whole crop at once.  To plant, you roll down the sides, add about eight inches of soil to the bottom. Plant three or four potatoes and cover with soil. As the leaves grow, you unfurl the bag a bit at a time and add more soil until fully extended.

The planter has side handles to easily reposition the planter as needed. These are reusable bags and perfect for the small garden (like mine).  The material is very similar to a tarpaulin. It has drip holes in the bottom. Potato planters can also be fashioned from wood with a sliding side door at the bottom to achieve the same aim.

I have planted French fingerlings in this bag. Great for BBQing. I love fresh potatoes from the garden. Teaming with vitamins and ever so delicious. They are a whole food. I already have Russets dug into my community garden plot and purple skinned Russians in another bed, but I want more (always more organic veggies) and this is a solution for me since I am somewhat strapped for land. Too much deck, not enough soil. Veggie and fruit planters will have to populate the deck at my new home this season until I can take the wrecking bar to at least part of the structure. Here is the deck awaiting its fate.

Already strawberries are growing in terra cotta pots and from a Topsy Turvy hanger that was gifted to me.

I wish my property had more land, but there are always compromises. I opted for proximity to hiking trails and waterfront in lieu of more land for now, knowing I could rent a community garden plot and enjoy the weekly farmer's market in my area. Lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Catnip, Herbs and Early Veggies

Lots to do setting up a new garden and starting from scratch. I dug up herbs from my previous garden, transplanted them and added a few new ones from an organic supplier. The herb section is slowly starting to fill in. This year, so far, I have winter savory, sorrel, English thyme, rosemary, mint, curly and Italian parsely, chives,  marjoram and more. I don't think I'm putting in another sage. The last one took over a huge section of the garden. I dried tons of it and find I use it infrequently.

I do always plant some catnip for my kitty though. She enjoys the garden just as much as I do. Catnip is hardy and will come back year after year. Pick it frequently and it will keep producing. 

Here is the first leek of the season. I braised it for a quick side dish.

The flavor was surprisingly strong.

And look who is peeking out from the soil. The first potato leaves. And so it begins... happiness.