Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mistress Mary quite contrary

How does my garden grow? I'm glad you asked. You did ask, right?

We planted a 35'x35' garden this year. It is surrounded by welded wire fence, to keep out the deer, rabbits and chickens. A couple of pocket gophers made a few mounds inside earlier this spring, but they didn't seem to do much damage, and were gone after a few days.

I took these photos last Tuesday after a frenzy of weeding, so the ground is covered with wilting weeds (mainly Canada thistle). You can see my two pathway experiments: cardboard covered with straw and steel sheeting. I prefer the steel already. Might get a little hot to sit on later this summer, but we'll see how it goes.

In the photo above, in the lane to the left you can see some of our sugar pie pumpkins. Above those are our sugar snap peas. On the right side in the middle is our carrot/rutabaga patch. It's full of weeds because the carrots are still tiny and it's hard to weed in there until they get bigger. That's my excuse, anyway. Above the carrot patch is a tomato patch with twelve plants. Against the far fence are the potatoes I saved for planting from last year's crop, garlic and onions. The yellow flowers on the far top right are the rutabagas going to seed their second year.

In this picture you can see my carrot/rutabaga patch again on the lower left. The patch in the lower center has jalapeno peppers, one extra pumpkin plant, and my brussels sprouts covered (mostly) with the row cover. I'm going to have to take that cover off this week -- the sprouts are getting too big underneath.

The upper half of the pic is dominated by my potatoes. I bought a 50 lb bag of Kennebec seed potatoes this spring for $15 at the local feed store. I planted about 30 lbs of them and gave the rest to a friend. Obviously, they are growing well. The chicken litter potatoes are on the left, and the non-litter potatoes are on the right. Just beyond the potato patch is my green bean patch, which you can't really see here. I got the beans in pretty late this spring so they are just now popping out of the dirt, about 3" tall. But that patch is all chicken litter, so I am expecting a bumper crop of beans this summer.

There's another patch of sweet corn and tomatoes that didn't make it into a photo. But so far, everything is doing very well. I am cautiously optimistic, as long as I stay on top of the weeding and no evil bugs attack us. The main bug problem I have are cabbage worms, and I hope the row covers have helped with those.

I planned this garden in conjunction with the CSA share I talked about in the last post. The weekly vege box is more for fresh eating, while my garden is more for preserving. I'll store the carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, onions, garlic and squash in our root cellar (when it's finished this summer--cross fingers). If I get enough of them, I'll turn the tomatoes into spaghetti sauce and canned tomatoes. Some of them will also be mixed with the onions and jalapeno peppers to make salsa. The snap peas (the ones we don't eat fresh) will go into the freezer for future stir fries. The brussels sprouts will be frozen as well as the sweet corn. The green beans will be canned. If I find some extra time, I might also dehydrate some potatoes, tomatoes and garlic -- we'll see how it goes. Which means I probably won't.

One last picture, this one of our new kitten. She is very playful. And bitey. When we let her run loose in the kitchen (she can't mingle with our existing cats until her vaccinations next week) she attacks our ankles, tiny sharp pinpricks sinking into our skin. The boys love playing with her, giggling at her antics. We have to keep a very watchful eye with them and her, otherwise she would be the unfortunate recipient of fierce bear hugs and forceful kisses. Sometimes the boys are unable to curb their enthusiasm and we make them sit on their hands while the kitty plays with them, nibbling on their kneecaps and climbing up their shirts to reach a tasty ear. This puts the giggling into high gear.


Karen said...

Your kittie is soooo cute! What is her name? You probably told me, but I can't remember!! Very impressive veggies too!! I'm sure the chicken s*@#/1u=t will plump up your beans wonderfully!!!

Jo said...

I've named her Freya. Simon's response from hearing that was 'huzzah!' (As in Renaissance Festival goofiness.) Seems Freya is the name of a Norse god or something. I just like the name.

Thanks again for all the lovely comments you leave on my blog! I love reading them.

Anonymous said...

Wiki link to your cats name:


Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Hey Jo, The garden looks good. My experience with the chicken litter is that plants use the nutrients for non-fruiting growth. The first year I put my strawberries in soil mixed with aged litter the plants just suckered like crazy. No fruit though. I guess it is all the nitrogen. Since potatoes are vegetative growth it should help them a lot. Not sure about the beans.