Sunday, April 09, 2006

Garden Journal, Week 1

I've always wanted to keep a garden journal but never really had a good format to do it in since I am pretty lazy when it comes to actually picking up a pen and doing it the old fashioned way, and besides- writing it like this I can add pictures. In the words of Jared, "Tech keeps me old fashioned".

April 9, 2006

I planted our peach tree almost two years ago when we moved in to our house. We had this old old decrepit plum tree (which finally blew down last year (good ridance since the falling plums always stained our walkway (this triply embedded parenthetical comment is dedicated to JonnyF))), but I wanted some more fruit trees, and I think our favorite tree fruit is peach, freshly picked. Due to our lingering winter, it is only now starting to bloom. Last year it set too much fruit and it all ended up withering away, so note to self: remove most of the fruit once it sets, and water more frequently.

As an afterthought during the previous fall, I planted several bags of tulips and daffodils in our little front yard flower patch circle. This is where the plum tree used to be, and where we'll probably put a new tree this summer. This bed is shaded most of the day so the tulips aren't blooming yet, and for some mysterious reason the daffodils never even came up. D'oh!

Desperate for our long winter to come to a welcome close, Jenny and I planted some pansies in pots to frame our front door. I love pansies, but most people (especially businesses and large instutions like BYU) never do them right- they always space them very far apart like little tiny islands of color in a sea of brown mulch. I like them bunched together to make mountains of color atop plains of green.

Of all the herbs I planted last year, the only one to survive was the parsley. It came back with a vengeance, the one green spot in our late winter garden. Last time I put all the herbs in one place- next to the parsley, though this year we might just do basil and oregano, possibly somewhere else as the soil here is not that fertile. I bought some basil seeds this year that are advertised to grow up to 4 inches long and wide. We'll see about that.

Parsley is pretty up close and personal.

Last year the guy that put in our downstairs bathroom offered to dig up his whole strawberry patch and give it too me since he was going to till it anyway. I planted about 50 of them and all but 5 didn't survive our 100+ degree weather that lasted over a month last summer. This year I bought 25 new plants and put them in better soil that will get more water. Maybe this time we'll actually get a strawberry.

Some of my favorite flowers are zinnias and marigolds. I planted about 48 seeds of each in these seed containers, along with all the basil and cucumbers. I ran out of potting soil so I used sand mixed with regular garden soil with a little manure mixed in. Let's hope they survive. If they do, that will be the most zinnia, marigold, and basil I will have planted in one season (well, that were planted AND survived). It seems we can never get enough basil during the summer, especially when its a good tomato year.

This time I planted the pea seeds along the garden fence so they will have good support. Last year I tried training them up on sticks and branches for a more natural look, but since they didn't get very much sun we didn't have a harvest.

I planted the salad bowl lettuce, red sails lettuce, and red swiss chard two weeks ago. If I time the planting just right we should be still harvesting our lettuce when our tomatos are ready in July. I bought a different kind of spinach this year (Olympia) that is supposed to last a lot longer than regular spinach. If it doesn't, I guess I'll have to settle for the New Zealand spinach, which technically isn't even spinach but supposedly tastes like it and lasts all season long. I guess I shouldn't judge since I haven't tasted it yet.

The red and yellow onion sets I planted two weeks ago are just starting to poke their stalks above the ground.

Last year I planted about 30 garlic cloves as an experiment. The harvest was ok, but the ones I dug up were pretty small, probably since the soil wasn't the best and it got too hot and dry for them during the 100+ month. I put them in a spot this year where they'll get a little shade at midday. Since I forgot to dig up most of them, all of the individual cloves that grew on each garlic sent up their own stalks late this winter, so I just transplanted them into rows. Being in the ground since last fall let them establish good hardy roots over the winter so these should do better.

Over the winter, Maggy's paws aren't too healthy for the back lawn. You can see her regular play areas, some of which I doubt will come back. I'm going to put in a sprinkler system any way, and then reseed in some places, so this is the "before" picture.

The potatos I planted last year tasted amazing, but never got very big since they were planted in the shade. This time I'm going to put them where the shed used to be (and still kinda is) since that spot gets tons of sun and has very loose sandy soil. We love the Yukon Golds, and I threw in some Norland Reds as well. Freshly dug up immature potatos taste very good as baked potato chips.

And of course I was helped by the puppies, who in my absence went back to make sure the pea seeds were still there under the soil. Thanks Maggy. That's Coleford, Maggy's boyfriend who comes and stays with us for a few days every week or so.


Jenny said...

Here's to a good garden year ... and plenty of tomatoes for homemade salsa!

(I did notice several themes here in this post: poor soil, too much shade, too much sun, and not enough water. Hopefully now that we've had a year to figure out how all of these elements actually function in our yard we'll be better able to manage things this summer. Erin, if only you were here with your "growing things" wisdom!)