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Thing #25 – Overboard? What, me? May 27, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in 101 Things, Garden, Home, Plans.
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And here it is – the next Thing on my list!

The garden was kind of difficult one for me to determine.  I mean, the goal was to “develop a working vegetable garden” – technically, I guess I did that last year, with the herbs, lettuce, spinach and TONS of tomatoes, didn’t I? 😕

But that was not really what I meant.  I meant a vegetable garden.  Something that’s more than merely a few tomatoes shoved between the basil and the spinach.  Something that requires planning.  Something that will be an asset for years to come.

We do have a fairly small yard, and we really don’t have a roto-tiller easily available.  I suppose we could probably rent one . . . somewhere.  🙄

But Peeps tried a trick last fall that we picked up a few years back when we started our daylily beds, and it seems to be working quite nicely – so far anyway.  First, he built a frame for a raised bed (just like the herb garden), only this time it’s much bigger – 6 feet across by 24 feet long.  😯

We chose the best spot in the yard and laid it down.   Then he covered the interior (grass and all) with a few layers of newspapers.  Cover the newspapers with a layer of (commercial) manure and loads of topsoil.  And that’s it.  Over the fall and winter, the newspaper will help, um, squelch the grass, while getting soggy and rotting into the soil.  The manure and fresh topsoil will help enrich the soil, remaining soft enough to easily work in the spring.

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And so here it is, spring.  A little work with a turning fork (not a pitch fork), and we’re ready to start planting.  Here it was early April, so our planting options are limited – we still need to be careful about frost, you know!

First, we put in some sweet peas – is there anything quite like fresh garden peas?

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And there’s Mr. Helpful – helping us and supervising the planting.  And the raking.  🙄

The peas were planted in two rows – one on either side of a chicken-wire fence.  I used some of the inferior tomato stakes that I bought last year (the ones that didn’t actually support the tomatoes and had to be replaced mid-season) – four of them should be able to hold up a few peas.  I hope.

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We also planted a row of spinach (mmmm. . . baby spinach), a row of lettuce (fresh salad was so nice last summer!), and a row of carrots (we go through a LOT of carrots around here!) overplanted with radishes (by the time the carrots actually need the room, the radishes will be done) (and besides – radishes in salad!).

It’s a start.

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And a month and a half later. . . we’ve been nibbling on  radishes for about a week now, we’re planning our meal with fresh spinach, and after that, it’s all salad, all the time!  😆

And the public market is teeming with farmers with plants – flowers, herbs, and, of course, every vegetable that we could possibly want to grow!

So with May coming to a close, and the area reasonably safe from risk of frost, it’s time to Rock and Roll!  😆

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Remember Thing #27, the composter?  Well, I’m all for saving the environment and waste-not-want-not and all that, but that’s not the reason for composting.

On no.  Tomatoes are the reason for composting.  😯

Over the course of the past several months, we’ve been careful to dump most of our “vegetable matter” from the kitchen into the big black bin, to regularly water and turn the contents, and, surprise, surprise, a few months later, we’ve got some nicely rotted (and kind of smelly, to be honest) honest-to-goodness compost to add to the garden.  😀

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Wow.   I had forgotten just how much hard work it is, toiling under the hot sun, working the implements of gardening, turning the soil and all.  😯

But on the other hand, I got a decent workout!  😆

Once the compost has been (sort of) worked into the soil, it was time to plant some more.  😀

PhotobucketFirst  – about 2 feet from the carrot-radish row – is a row of green beans.  I blocked off a section about 5 inches wide for the beans.  I placed the seeds about an inch (about) apart within the wide row.  The row will be thick and bushy, and just about the perfect width for me (or Peeps!) to walk with one foot on either side of the row, picking as we straddle the bushes.

About 2 and a half feet from the beans will be 4 broccoli plants.  Broccoli can get big, and it needs plenty of room to spread.

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And yes, I used a tape measure.  😯

I like my garden to be . . . orderly, that’s all.  😉

And now, my beloved tomatoes. 😀

Here’s the thing.  😳

PhotobucketI so love my Jet Star tomatoes.  I love them a lot.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better for slicing or sticking in a salad or just eating cut into wedges with a little salt. . . they’re flavorful and not overly acidic – they’re the perfect tomato.  So I bought a six-pack of them.

The same vendor, though, also had San Marzano tomatoes.  Now certainly, I’m not growing these in volcanic ash, and I do understand the importance of where the fruit is grown.  But still.  We can a couple of bushels of plum tomatoes every year anyway – why not grow some of my own?  So I bought a six-pack of those, too.  😀

And of course, there was the guy with the individually-potted grape tomatoes.  Grape tomatoes are so nice to just eat – no muss, no fuss, nice in specific applications . . . OK, I’ll take two.  😯

Just in case you’re keeping score, that brings the grand total for tomatoes to 3 varieties, and 14 plants.  😳

There are two of us –  and Peeps doesn’t like fresh tomatoes.  😳

More for me, I guess. 😆

PhotobucketAnd finally.  Since there was room, and since I’ve never tried growing it, we picked up a six-pack of Swiss chard.

Greens are very good for us – we can do all kinds of things with them, and I think they last well into the fall.

It’s all good. 😀

Well, it was, anyway, until Excitement Boy planted one of his big doggy feet right on one of my chard plants.  👿

But it seems to have sprung back nicely . . . and the couple of days of rain forecast for this week won’t hurt anything, either.  🙂

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Boy, I think it’s a good thing that Peeps is going to be smoking pretty much everything in the freezer this summer – it’s looking like we’re going to need the space for vegetables.  😯

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Comments

1. Heather Solos - May 27, 2009

That is a lovely garden. I think next year may be the first great garden experiment, post-kids. We had a great garden the year I was pregnant with my first, but then I ended up on strict bedrest and watched it die from my bedroom window. With the family complete and getting to the point where they won’t wander into the road every time I turn my head for a moment, I think next Spring will be perfect.
I am jealous. 🙂

Toy Lady - May 27, 2009

Why, thank you! 😀

You know, it’s not too late. . . my intention last year was merely to start the herb garden.

Then we had room for a row of lettuce . . . then added a couple of tomatoes in a couple of pots on the deck, and before I knew it, I’d been bitten again by the gardening bug!

Such great memories of working in the garden with my Surly Boy during his first summer – he was not-quite-walking, and teething like crazy! I was constantly taking the rocks that he was gnawing on and exchanging the for hunks of broccoli or rinsed-off carrots. . . maybe that’s why I never had any trouble getting him to eat his veggies! 😉

2. Mazco34 - May 27, 2009

Hey, how old are those Birkenstocks now?

Maybe you can put a link in the things we like section to BirkenstockUSA.com.

Toy Lady - May 27, 2009

What, Peeps’s HIPPY shoes? 😯

He’s had them longer than he’s had me, that’s for sure. 😆

3. anne - May 27, 2009

That’s such a nice garden, I’m green with envy. I can’t have a garden because 1) we live in the woods and 2) the few things I DID plant, the deer ate. Within 24 hours. You could hear them burp.

So I live vicariously through those who succeed. 14 tomatoes? My DH doesn’t like them either, that would be quite the bounty!!!

Toy Lady - May 28, 2009

Yikes! You know, the other morning, I was enjoying my Saturday morning cup of coffee, and I looked out the window and what did I see but a DEER looking back at me! 😯

Do you suppose he (actually she, I think) was after my garden? 👿

I’ve heard that rosemary is suppose to repel them, though I don’t know how well it works. . . I do know that those pesky deer can be determined, though!

Gee, Anne, if you lived closer, I’d be happy to share my tomato overload with you this summer.

4. sjbraun - May 29, 2009

Your garden looks GREAT! I love the raised beds idea, to keep it more contained. What do you do about weeds? I always try to keep after them so diligently – but come July, they always start to take over for me. Our garden is probably 12′ x 20′, so similar in size to yours. We have spinach, peas, tomatoes/peppers as well, and a big strawberry patch. I also devote too much space to a pumpkin patch because it’s so fun for the kids to grow their own pumpkins. Enjoyed this!

Toy Lady - May 29, 2009

Thanks, sj! This is just the first year for this garden, so we haven’t had much of a problem with weeds – yet.

We put in the herb garden last year basically the same way – and so far, it’s relatively weed-free. We did our best to kill off as much of the grass, first, before putting clean soil in, though, which helps!

I know what you mean, though, about trying to stay on top of the weeds – eventually they just get away from you, don’t they? I’m hoping the tomatoes, at least, will fight back! 😆


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