April 2015 Garden TourPosted: April 20, 2015
I figured it was time for a photo tour of the garden. It’s all pretty brown right now, but we just got a nice soaking rain, so thing should speed up quickly, even with cool temperatures forecasted much of this next week.
This is the view looking at the front of the house from the street. Not pictured (would have been in the immediate foreground) is a bed between sidewalk and street – which all my neighbors seem to think is illegal – planted to snap peas. The bed in the foreground has one rhubarb crown in it and will be planted with the gooseberries and raspberries when they arrive.
One of many pea shoots coming up. Interestingly, the plots not fenced in, and with poorer soil, seem to be emerging faster. Hoping we get a good crop. Otherwise, I’ll be picking snap peas along with strawberries at Barthel’s come June 🙂
Better view of the rabbit-fenced quadrant of the yard. Asparagus and strawberries in the bed to the far right. Brassicas in the next bed. Peas in the far left-hand bed. The other beds have strawberries planted in the center as a row, and will get companion-planted with bush beans or salad greens.
A good view of an asparagus trench I planted on Friday.
Our one existing (heirloom) rhubarb plant. The genes on this one go back to the family farm I’ve talked about in previous posts.
Survivors of bunnypocalypse. They seem happy though they were quite root-bound when I planted them. Really thinking I’ll go to soil-blocks next year if I can save enough $ for the equipment. (I’ll start with <2″ small dimple for germination., 4″ square dimple for up-potting.)
View looking west from the back of the property. The long bed on the right will get potatoes soon. (I have the seeds but need to chit them first.) Not easily visible by the side door are beds with rhubarb, strawberries, and the future home of our hardy peach tree. To the left in that lawn space and behind you are a couple more sizeable beds I have not tilled in yet, but will this week. Those beds will probably get fenced in if needed with the remaining materials. Somewhere in that zone will also be our sour cherry tree.
Our not elegant but quite rodent-proof (per city requirements) compost bin. It’s about 2.5 cubic yards, which seems overkill for garden wastes, but I hope to begin experimenting with humanure composting this year if my other family members allow me. Where the wheelbarrow is will more than likely be the future home of our chicken coop in 2016, pending city approval (and funds).
A lot of folks ask about the costs of growing your own food. Still other blogs convince people to garden by using the same financial arguments. I hate that. As Ben Hewitt very correctly argues in The Nourishing Homestead, the argument itself is a trap. Of course industrial-scaled food makes sense if you weigh the cost to acquire it versus the value of materials (and your time). Granted, food grown in truly healthy soil (mine isn’t yet) can’t be bought at any price.
Gardening is something you have to enjoy intrinsically. Sometimes I imagine myself like the Druid in Kevin Hearne’s series, because I find a connection to the earth to be so powerful. Growing your own food connects you to your terroir in a way nothing else can. Also, in a neighborhood like mine, where it’s quite abnormal, the eccentricity has allowed me to meet many more of my neighbors than ever before. People love talking about it, even when they don’t do it themselves. There’s a huge evolutionary misstep, I think, in our modern fixation with cities and outsourced nourishment – one whose consequences we’re only slowly realizing via the recent resurgence of the ‘back to the land’ movement.
I think I’ll write a separate post on this last bit when I’ve got a few more weeks of use under my belt, but I’m loving my new weeding/cultivation tools. I can weed the entire current garden space in about an hour. Currently I’m doing it every few days because spring always brings the biggest weed pressure, especially in new beds like mine are. I use the wonderful collinear hoe designed by Eliot Coleman to “sweep” the ground, shaving off seedlings before they get established. When I encounter recalcitrant grass and other tougher perennial weeds, I either hand pull, or chop them out with my equally wonderful forged Dutch hand hoe (that’s a lefty model, but of course they have a righty as well), which is a very powerful chopping hoe that I can easily carry in my back pocket (lacking any jean loops) until I need it.
Lots of folks swear by mulch or other smothering methods, but when you have very limited funds and can’t produce (much) of your own, shallow cultivation is a very good method. Plus, it forces you to walk each garden row regularly, constantly keeping an eye on plant progress and health.