Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Progressing Garden

A month ago, this section of the yard was useless patchy grass.

Today it is a hotbed of free organic produce. I may not be fully unpacked and properly moved into the house yet (renovations, ugh), but there's food growing in the ground. My priorities are evident. 

The community garden plot is flourishing as well, but more on that later. 

I started out preparing this area with a shovel. But the sod was quite thatchy, so I headed over to Home Depot and rented a Mantis rototiller.

This entire section was completed in under 45 minutes. The Mantis provided a fairly rough chop and my intent was to go over it again to fully chew up the sod, but the tiller broke down and I called it a day. I know I'll be fighting grass throughout the season as a result, but it was more important to get veggies in the ground the same day than to seek some sort of visual perfection.

I highly advise wearing steel-toed shoes when operating power tillers. The Mantis was quite manageable but it would jump occasionally when I hit roots. I found an old pair of Doc Martens in the closet and put them straight on.

My uncle chopped off three toes with his lawnmower, so power cutters of any sort should be handled with care. (Note: never a good idea to cut a lawn in flip flops.) The Mantis sliced right through roots this size. Imagine what it would do to flesh.

I added a mere ten bags of triple mix to the soil and started direct sowing seeds forthwith. Next the seedlings that were started indoors went in.

The raised bed, directly behind this bed, is in full swing now as well. There's been plenty of fresh spinach to enjoy (all eaten and already reseeded) and daily servings of delicious Mesclun salads for over a week.

Yesterday I noticed the first sugar snap peas on their way. It's amazing how quickly a kitchen garden can take hold and start feeding your family.

Will soon be able to dig into these lovely Manchester Turnips. Bet they'll be great roasted or in a stew.

There was even a bit of time to toss in a few flowers in a bed nearby to attract pollinators to the veggies. Hostas, Hibiscus, Gerbera Daisy, Bleeding Heart, Snapdragon, Impatiens, Pansies, Foxglove and some exotic varieties, which I can't immediately recall the name of, were my choices. All pink. It's my girlie section of the garden.

And remember that bag of potatoes I planted May 8th? Well, here it is today. Last night I opened the Velcro door at the bottom of the planting bag and retrieved a few new potatoes for dinner. Only complaint, I wish the bag were taller so I could hill it up more and get a larger harvest, but we'll see what the final count is in another few weeks.

I also container-planted some tiny Pinot champagne grapes and have been enjoying them for about ten days. Tasty!

I love berries of all sorts and was sad to leave a very productive berry bush behind. Starting anew, I've planted a few berry bushes on both sides of the yard. This section has blackberry, raspberry canes (taken from my last yard), honeyberry (aka Haskap), gooseberry and of course wild and ever-bearing strawberries.  Edging will have to come later.

Strawberries are planted throughout the yard, in hanging pots, strawberries pots and even in a broken rattan chair. Blueberry bushes are on the opposite side of the yard.

I'm trying to use every possible inch of the yard for food production, while keeping it semi-attractive and restful to the eye. It's a work in progress. 

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