Vegetable Garden – Year 2 – garden journal

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June 10, 2004

I’m a frugal gardener, by that I mean whatever I can do on the cheap, by innovation, as close to free as possible. We reduced last year by choice to one income living and of necessity now, I look for the most inexpensive ways to enhance my yard and garden.

Got late start this year. But that didn’t stop me, no I bought some starter vegetables and reclaimed 1/3rd of my garden space from the grandkidlets who had homesteaded the space for a sandbox.

My husband, not much for the outdoor work, but very willing when I ask him had hand dug out the sod and lined out the space with railroad ties that he hauled from the neighbors yard across the street (it’s okay, they gifted them to us). I was sooo pleased and proud of him so couldn’t possibly let this garden space go to waste after his hard work.

I let my grandson have ownership of the tomato plants. I staked them using the aluminum prongs on an old antennae that came with the house when we bought it. My husband took that down last fall, and we figured if we saved it, the prongs might be useful as stakes in the garden. I used my mother’s tip for tying the tomato plants using old discarded pantyhose. Well it’s not very pretty, but hey, I’m practicing to be a “real” gardener so following wise gardening tips that I learn along the way.

To get the garden space ready, I put down newspapers, let the little ones hose them down (we have that breeze here ya know) so they wouldn’t blow away until I could take the next step. I went and collected all my old container pots that didn’t offer up any return plants after last year, dumped the used soil on the newspapers and that was the beginning.

I asked my husband, who I call Sweetie, to purchase some potting soil, (10 bags worth), then dumped that all into the space, bordered it off with concrete blocks and topped it with some top soil (only 3 bags, so thin layering). The concrete blocks are recycled from Sweetie’s brick and board bookcases. We got him a new bookcase for Fathers Day and I had said at 57 he was a little too old for bricks and boards concept of bookcases, that was better left to college students and aging hippies (lol).

So the little garden space has begun. I hope to claim another 1/3rd of it from the grandkidlets and convert them to caring for the garden plants, but I’m not real sure they are ready for that, as the corn plant already got stepped on.

The garden, begun in June when the plantings were just buds is growing and growing and growing. Lots of leafy plants, but few vegetables…yet! There will be vegetables, and I’m watching now daily for the plants that grew, produced flowering buds to now transform the buds to vegetables. Ah, the chance to examine how faith works, when not being scientific about the process of gardening, it boils down to trusting, following obediently the seasons’ and natures’ cues, and acting, in faith, that if you act (plant, nurture, water, protect, fertilize) the garden will grow.

Deersong

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Vegetable Garden – Grandchildren – June 14, 2004 Garden Journal entry

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June 14, 2004
It has rained all week here and actually, I got a lot done in the yard (see previous posts). Saturday, and I tackled another section of the yard, edging and shovelling out another flower bed. My daughter came to my rescue and helped me with the heavy manual work of hauling off the sod.

I planted the rest of last year’s iris bulbs and maybe they will take and maybe not as they sat in a black garbage bag through the winter. I saw green on the bulbs though, so planted those…we’ll see what we get. I had made a row of iris last fall from donations and they bloomed nicely this spring. I did not have beds enough to plant all the donations, so hopefully, I “wintered” them to salvage…as I said we will see.
I’m excited about planting my new Calla Lilly (discounted plant in container that I planted in the ground) and hope it will grow well. The local hardware store had bulbs on sale 1/2 price, so I bought 2 more Calla Lillies, in pink and yellow. I was too fearful of planting them directly in the ground, so put them in pots to see if they will grow.
I also got 4 varieties of gladiola bulbs, which I did plant directly in the ground, and have my fingers crossed they will grow, looking forward to seeing gladiolas in the yard.
I put the cosmos flowers in a grouping and tossed out some baby’s breath seeds. Forming a little beginning of a flower bed which I hope to expand. The foundation will be the gladiolas, then will gradually add differing heights of flowers. I realized though, I didn’t know what was an annual, what was a perennial, so I went to google on internet and created a list of perennials. I want to scout for them at the nurseries around here (not too many, maybe 3 within 50 mile radius). I hope to plant perennials and create a kind of wildflower garden.
I’m staying small here and keeping with the green grassed yard, don’t want to overwhelm my husband (or me for the that matter) but in years to come I’m looking forward to gradually claiming more to the beds I am creating and growing this project to have larger and larger beds of wildflowers and perennials.
The grandchildren (ages 3 and 4) helped me to plant all the vegetable seeds so we have little pots now all lined up with vegetables waiting to grow.We have:

green peppers
tomatoes full size
cherry tomatoes
cauliflower
wax beans
watermelon
squash
lettuce
pumpkins
radishes
corn
cucumbers
oh, I’ve forgotten the rest.My daughter gave me several packages of seeds this year and we made a grandmother, grandchildren project out of planting them all.

That about wraps up this week in the yard. Got so much done this year. I’m taking a break from the garden and yard for a bit. This week we will be doing some errands and driving around for my daughter’s family trying to get to Germany to be with her husband. Now that is another very long story of a different topic altogether.

The Harvest – August 2004.

The harvest in August. Now it’s September and the chill is in the morning air. Not sure how much more of my garden is going to grow to maturation…but, hey, the pumpkins are growing, and the cucumbers are producing, and some late squash are growing.


Ahhh, more produce from the garden. Look at that, I’ve got corn, eh! Not so easy to get a full season to grow corn where I live.

Barn Swallows – Oh No! I like them though, welcome at our home. Vegetable gardening journal

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May 4, 2005

Iris is blooming and gorgeous. My mother gave me these from her garden after she thinned hers last season and I got them planted in my yard last year. It was not the season for them to bloom, and they were fairly straggly. I cut them in fan shape as my mother recommended and sort of just crossed my fingers and hoped they might take to their new home.

(snipped – was unable to format it properly.  To view, click on date at top of post, will take you to my original blog posting).
Listing postings by dates that will not format to this new blog properly – click on the dates shown to see  postings at my original blog)
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Deersong

Growing tomatoes upside down – a diy project

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Now I really like this idea for the popular growing tomatos upside down – from Frecklewonder blog. She writes

her husband built an official upside-down-tomato-grower’s-structure of sorts.

I’ve seen the tutorials for ‘how to’ but I really like this diy idea; clean, clear and definite and I Want This in my yard!

Cut some holes in the bottom of the buckets to plant the tomatoes, and hang them in a sunny spot! The rain will water the tomatoes from the top of the bucket, and you can easily water them yourself if the weather is not cooperating.

Deersong

The ‘Victory Garden’ still has meaning for today’s generation

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I have long believed the WWll concept of everyone having a ‘Victory Garden’ of their own has more meaning for us now in these times in a quite different way. In the time of WWll, individuals grew Victory Gardens as a response to war-time rationing and as a united gesture of patriotic support.

As ‘living off the grid’, becoming consumer-less, corporate farming, global warming, terminator seeds (food seeds), sustainable living and stewardship for Mother Earth’s resources become relevant issues, I have yearned for us, as a collective country of concerned citizens get back to the idea of Victory Garden brought into the 21st century. Looking back at earlier decades – fashionably called ‘retro’, and repurposed or refashioned to the 21st century, why not look back to the Victory Garden concept of WWll and give it a 21st century facelift?

Deersong

Grandmothers still teaching; ‘The Three Sisters’ gardening

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I absolutely did Not know this – but I do now. I have often heard of The Three Sisters, without full recognition of the relationship. I will be planting my corn, beans and squash in a quite different pattern this year. In fact, I think I will plant it in that sunny space behind the house and actually name it My Three Sisters Garden. I came across this in my morning reads – attributed to a post at one of my listserv groups by Sweet Spring Farm.

The Three Sisters

The “three sisters” of New Mexican agriculture, corn, beans, and squash, were hundreds of years ahead of their time.  This system serves as the basis for inter-cropping systems currently being used around the world as tools to increase agricultural productivity in areas facing food shortages.  Why is this such a successful system?

Simply stated, each of the three sisters serves an important role. To understand the system one should first consider the three plants separately.  Growing corn in rows is a good idea but wastes valuable planting space.  Beans require some sort of support system and must be staked up to grow.  Finally, both squash and corn require additional nitrogen in the soil to produce adequately in New Mexico’s typically sandy soils which are also prone to losing valuable moisture due to evaporation.

As corn reaches for the sun, beans may grow up the strong stalks and the necessity of building a support system or frame is reduced.  One must plant corn some distance apart, leaving the ground bare;  however, planting squash between the rows of corn reduces soil mosture loss as the squash foliage acts as a natural mulch, reducing soil temperatures and helping to ‘hold’ moisture in the soil where it may be used by the plants and not lost to the atmosphere.  Finally, beans have the unique capability of being able to ‘fix’ atmospheric nitrogen, pulling it from the air and improving soil nitrogen status; essentially ‘fertilizing’ the other two sisters.

Contributed by Dr. Dann Brown, Professor of Botany, Eastern New Mexico University

Deersong