Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden Update: Argh!!!
So much to know...
I said I was not going to get crazy with the garden, and was just going to stick plants in the ground. But I am an info-maniac by nature, and am googling like crazy and trying to avoid making basic mistakes. I am realizing now garden planning is a winter activity. Because it takes a longtime if you do it properly.

We on the other hand thought we would just throw up some raised beds. We made one, and quickly realized it was gonna take quite a load of dirt to fill. So the strawberry bed went in, not raised. So we could save on dirt. We just loosened the soil, added amendment, and topped with some cut up plastic bags to prevent weed growth. One bed down! Strawberries aregrpwing!

Then we set to fill our raised bed with dirt. We have a big rich looking mound in the front yard we thought would be a good source of dirt, so we got our wheel barrow and shovel and began dragging loads from the front yard mound to the back. Soon, we realized what the mound actually was in it's former life- a burn pile for the old house materials that used to be here. So, when we suddenly starting seeing charcoal, we got it was a burn pile. Then when hinges, nail, and shingles started showing up, we had to halt the project. No use growing organic veggies in a pile of industrial waste! So out came all the dirt from the raised bed, hauled BACK to the mound, and covered again to rest in peace under the beech trees.

So we drove to the store and shelled out about $50/ 300 kr for dirt. And it filled the bed half way. So SwedeDaddy is off buying more dirt now. We WILL get these plants in the ground!

I am tasked with googling how to get this stuff in the ground safely, and now my head is spinning with square foot gardening tips, as I was just trying to figure out how to get the zucchini in with out taking over the whole growing space we have. Now it seems I need metal framing and white nylon mesh to train up the vines? I am warned my stakes will just break off and the plants will be destroyed in the collapse if I use wood or anything not very strong. Ugh, more money and shopping!!!

Not to mention companion planting. No tomatoes near potatoes, or was it corn? Corn near squash, and where should those peppers go? And now I know dill improves flavor of cabbage, we will put it near Kale, but keep it away from tomatoes as mature dill destroys tomatoes. So much to know!

So, I think the plan is this: in the precious raised bed with the 'pay dirt', we are putting in on the pumpkin, the tomatoes, a cuke, and some leafies like lettuce and herbs. In the other bed, which we will leave a a ground bed and amend with compost and peat, so we don't have to fill the big raised container, we will put in the zucchini, yellow summer squash, corn, a pumpkin, and the kale. Of course, after putting in a foot or more of good dirt from the store, I read that in square foot gardening, you really only need six inches of good dirt. Well, now I know!
Swedegirl and her neighborhood friend helped out
Next year, I am planning in the winter. That's my first lesson ion garden, don't start mid May, and be overly time optimistic. It is not a weekend project after all!!! But it is a good start!

For now, I am appreciating all the more the effort that goes into growing our food. This gorgeous cornucopia of fresh food came from the local produce stand. The tomatoe variety was amazing, so I had to put them out in the sun and warm them up, so I could eat them warm and dream of what will hopefully come from our own garden soon.

But if all else fails, we have this great produce at the moment to hold us over!


Karen said...

I have done FAR too much reading about gardening than just doing it. This year? We made a raised bed and I just "did it". It has been my first successful garden ever. It's been SOOO nice and I'm so proud of myself- but I can tell you there was virtually no thought to companion planting and some of that other stuff. I just wanted to get things in the ground and did.
Of course I have a longer growing season, so more leeway with time, but I'd say at this point to just try something.... and if you don't succeed? There's always next year, and you've still had some great times digging and connecting with the earth!

Rose said...

Wow. Those tomatoes are GORGEOUS!!! Glad I'm not the only one who takes pictures of her produce!