Friday, January 25, 2013

Vegetable Garden 2012

It's actually 2013 but I just realized that I never posted about my vegetable garden last year. Dave delivered a huge gift to me for Mother's Day. After two years of whining about my sunless garden spot in the back corner of our lot he decided to build me a new one. I was so excited!!!

He first built four square gardens. I don't know if you can see but he even drilled holes in the boxes and laced twine back and forth through the garden to make them Square Foot Gardens. I first borrowed Mel Bartholemew's Square Foot Garden book from the library a couple of years ago and I'm definitely converted to his method of gardening. The idea is to produce a large variety of vegetables for a family in a small space. Instead of growing rows of vegetables you grow small blocks of vegetables. Each square garden contains 16 - 1x1' squares and each square can potentially hold a different type of vegetable.

In these pictures Dave already built the garden boxes. Together we mixed the soil and filled the boxes. It's a mixture of vermiculite, peat moss, homemade compost, and horse manure.

 You can barely see my little plants in the garden. They were all started from seeds indoors or sewn directly into the soil. The cardboard is covering the newly planted seeds to keep them from drying out.

In these four small gardens I grew: 5 types tomato, cucumber, tomatillo, ground cherries, basil, cilantro, parsley, catnip, oregano, nasturtium, dwarf sunflower, marigold, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, carrots, bell pepper, serrano pepper, radishes. All from seed. 

By July the garden had really taken off. Here you can see how he finished the frame of the fence, covered the grass with garden cover and pebbles, added a gate, and entry stones. It's a beautiful garden. 
We saw many firsts. First tiny tomato
First tiny cucumber
First harvest: lettuce and radishes. This was actually earlier. I'm thinking late May.
First flower

By the end of the growing season I was definitely appreciating Dave's hard work. And my hard work tending the garden was really paying off!

I grew tons of veggies. We'd never eaten fresh veggies in such large quantities. It felt good! Dave picked up this basket at a garage sale for $1 and this $1 basket worked hard. I can't even say how many times we filled it.

As we came closer to the fall the big tomatoes really started ripening. I par boiled, peeled, seeded, and froze lots. We're now well into January and still using frozen tomatoes in recipes. I've made tomato sauce, meat sauce, enchilada sauce, tomato/kale/barley soup, you name it. I also froze a huge stash of bell peppers and made a yummy bell pepper soup. It was sort of like goulash.
As the Spring approaches I anxiously await the start of gardening season. I save my unused seeds from the previous year and use them again. (I keep them in an airtight tin with plenty of those little dry packs that keep moisture out of foods.) I didn't buy any seeds last year. But I have bought a few new ones to add to the mix for this year. They arrived in the mail last week. I can't wait to get them started!


A Goldsworthy Note said...

You're right, this has inspired me to get started! I loved your garden. If only you could come and get mine started!

The Hillbergs said...

WOWWOWOWOWWW!!! I love it!!!!! I even dragged Chad over to see what your husband built for you!!! (he said it was 'cool'). I'm going to get that book you mentioned. This is my dream garden!!!!!! You saved soooo much money growing them yourself! Someday I want a garden!!!!!!!!! Take notes so that when I finally get one - then you can tell me exactly how to set it up! I would never know to put cardboard over my seeds!