Our first official harvest. A mini-serving of baby spinach and argula, and a few radishes as well; perfect for a simple salad, direct from the garden --- just add a little olive oil, balsamic & garlic.
It's been pretty hectic between the nursery, client work, and teaching but we finally got back out to the "farm" for a work party on Sunday.
We got a tremendous amount of work done in a short time. We got our remaining two raised beds into position and filled with soil; bringing our total to the ten 4' x 8' raised beds, as planned.
We had some extra soil so have started an additional in-ground garden space. We'll grow the large scrambling plants like summer & winter squash in these beds and we'll choose an area of this bed where we'll grow sunchokes on a permanent basis (you can't easily remove them once you get them started, so think carefully about your placement before planting).
We did some additional sowing of our cool season crops such as spinach, argula, carrots, and scallions and a first sowing of a couple of interesting broccoli varieties and kale, and some other things that I've likely forgotten at this moment.
It's so exhilarating to see the seedlings emerge. We had our first taste of greens direct from the soil ... thinnings from our arugula and radish sowings from a couple of weeks back. Can't wait until we have enough for a real meal!
After our big push two Sundays ago, we took a break so this was my first trip back to the plot in two weeks. What a thrill to see the first of our seedlings emerge! Radishes, spinach, peas, and arugula that were sown on the 16th are beginning to emerge, no sign of the carrots yet ...
The broccoli starts and onion sets are settling in and starting to grow. Potatoes and shallots were planted on the 16th also, but won't be showing themselves for a while yet.
Today's activity -- a power planting session. We were short on time and only had a little over an hour to spend but wanted to make sure that we kept on track with successive sowings. We planted a second sowing of peas, arugula, radishes and spinach and transplanted another round of broccoli starts. We also transplanted some cauliflower and kale seedlings. We made our first sowing of scallions and baby bok choy. I'm probably forgetting something, but you get the gist.
Even with ten raised beds, feels like the garden is filling up fast!
A "photo documentary" of our most recent work party.
First of all, I wanted to make sure that we captured a true "before" shot, warts and all, of where our garden will be.
After last week's visit to the lumber yard we were all set & ready to get busy right away. Henry Ford's got nothing on us; we set up a veritable assembly line and built ten boxes in 3 hours. (Special thanks to today's guest helper!)
Laurie clearing the decks - brambles beware.
A long day behind us; good progress has been made, but enough for one day.
Next week we'll finish setting and leveling the boxes into their final positions. Soil is scheduled for delivery this week. I hope that we'll have at least of couple of the beds ready for planting by the end of our next work party so that we can get our early plantings in -- peas, potatoes, and broccoli for starters.
Well, first of all, a few changes since the last update ... alas, isn't that the case with all projects?
We'd planned on building in the front yard, but have had to move to the back yard. And not for reasons you might guess ... there wasn't any objection to a front yard garden per se, as Angela was asking about in her comment on my previous post. There's quite a bit of front yard gardening happening around here, veggie and otherwise. (More on that interesting topic in a different post.) No, the reason was that some repairs to the house's water line will need to be made this summer and our garden would have been disrupted as a result.
The back yard that we'll be using is equally sunny and as large, so we're still going to end up with plenty of room for ten 4' x 8' raised beds.
Today's milestone - we traipsed out to the lumber yard and got our materials for next weekend's building party. We got twenty 2" x 8" x 8' and twenty 2" x 8" x 4' of green doug fir for the side panels, and six 4" x 4" x 12' posts that will be cut down to size for our stabilizing corners and "posts." We're using fir because it will be much, much more affordable to build with and although it won't last as long as other materials might, such as cedar, it will last long enough for our purposes. Certainly several years, probably more. It all fit perfectly well in the back of my Toyota Tacoma. The hardest part was lugging it all into the back yard, where it waits now for our next step. Stay tuned.
Photo: That's Laurie with today's haul. Sorry for the crummy photo ... I left my real camera at home and had to use the camera on my phone!
A while ago, I mentioned that I was planning on creating a new vegetable garden with my friend on her front lawn. Well, we finally met yesterday to mark out the location of our beds and to plan our next steps.
If you look closely at the picture below you can see where we've painted out the bed lines.
We're planning on (10) 4' x 8' raised beds with additional in-ground plantings around the periphery. Of course, I'll still be keeping up with the kitchen garden here at Bloomtown, my home garden, but I'm really excited about the prospect of having a larger plot to work as well.
Lots of big ideas. Even though we're both really busy people, I'm confident that we'll be able to pull it off because we're both really excited about the prospect of growing more of our own food.
In any case, we should have loads of fresh produce, enough for both our families all summer long. But we're also planning on growing crops that will store well over the winter, and if all goes well, we'll do some canning, tomatoes for starters.
So far so good ...all smiles now. I'll keep you up to date on our progress. This is going to be a really exciting project, but a little daunting until we get a bit farther along.
Wow, time flies … and it's been awhile since I've posted. I guess I've been taking an unofficial and unscheduled blog-break.
It won't be very long at all and the spring frenzy will be upon me - client projects will be in full swing, and I'll be busy getting the nursery ready to re-open.
But in the meantime, winter is a pretty sleepy time here at Bloomtown. I have a tendency to cozy-up in the studio; work on client projects lined up last fall, do various "housekeeping" types of projects that have built up over the busy season, as well as work on developing new business ideas to explore in the coming year.
I also try to catch up on my reading and catalog perusing. Right now, I am scanning the Territorial Seed Catalog trying to nail down my spring seed order for the vegetable garden. You'll be hearing more about my vegetable gardening efforts this year. For the moment, I'll just say that I am greatly expanding my efforts towards the edibles.
While I'll still have the kitchen garden here at Bloomtown, that I've posted about before, I'm also going to be incorporating more edible plants in my ornamental garden. I've already planted several more blueberry shrubs and added another in-ground columnar apple, to complement those that I have growing in containers in the existing kitchen garden. And finally, this very exciting news; I will be co-gardening with a friend on a new project. We are planning to create a vegetable garden on her front lawn and sharing the bounty between our households. You'll definitely be hearing more on that as things evolve.
A photo showing the overall layout of the kitchen garden is posted above.
The planting beds are raised. In addition to providing an ideal growing situation for a variety of edibles, the changes in elevation coupled with the angular lines contribute to a more interesting space.
The back "wall" is an open wire mesh suitable for supporting tomatoes and vining plants. The top of the fence is embellished with an iron, stone & glass element fabricated by Keith Yurdana of Taproot. Some detail photos of the finials are posted below.
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