salixbabylon: (personal writing)
[personal profile] salixbabylon
More than you ever wanted to know about my garden project....


• We had a good crop of lettuces for a couple of months. They finally went to seed, so I ripped them out and planted a new batch, which haven’t come up yet.

• The herbs are going fine (parsley and basil) – small bits, but about as much as I need for cooking.

• The strawberries have been very disappointing – maybe 2 strawberries per week, for 3 varieties, 14 plants. They do NOT like the direct sun and heat!

• The peas (snap and shell) did okay, with two good harvests/generous handfuls/meal for two. They dried up pretty fast, though, despite frequent watering. It got hot really early this year, and then cooled off in July/August (which is normal for here – hotter in the spring and autumn than actual summer). I guess next year I need to plant them just as the winter ends. I planted some more a few weeks ago, to see what would happen.

• The first round of green beans were demolished by the deer (grr!). I planted some more at the beginning of August, and they’re starting to come up.

• Carrots did okay, although they seemed to be taking forever, so I pulled them all up at once. None of the carrots were huge, but they were delicious. I snacked on them for about a week!

• Beets were also disappointing – the deer got the top leaves, and I ended up getting one beet about the size of a golf ball, and two the size of big marbles.

• The spinach did okay, except that it went to seed really fast. And on top of that, I just didn’t like it. I normally love spinach, but this variety was weird-tasting to me.

• The cucumbers gave me about 6, but then the leaves dried up and died. I’m not sure what happened there. I am hoping it might bounce back?

• My butternut squash is full of healthy leaves, one big butternut that’s almost a normal size, and one baby. I hope we get a few more, but I don’t know how likely that is.

• The squash (zucchini and crook-necked) seemed to be going well, lots of flowers, but we’ve only had about 4 make it to maturity. I added some fish fertilizer to everything, and they are flowering again, so hopefully they just needed some food.

• The deer also did their best to eradicate the sweet potatoes, which were doing okay, at least above ground. They didn’t die entirely, so I’m hoping it will be okay . (The books said deer wouldn’t eat potatoes! Liars!)

• The regular potatoes have had their leaves nibbled, but not nearly so badly. Today I noticed about 4 flowers, which are super pretty. I guess that means the potatoes should be ready in the next month or so.

• And our dwarf lemon and tangerine trees are doing all right. They’re about a year old and haven’t blossomed or fruited, ever. The deer got one of them last year, although I managed to keep it from dying. I’m not sure how long it takes for them to produce fruit, even without being traumatized like that.

• The Japanese/dwarf quince tree is doing well and is fruiting, but I’m not sure how to tell when the fruit is ripe. I need to look that up…

It’s sort of a gamble, this food-growing thing. I knew this year would be entirely experimental, because I didn’t know what would grow here, and what the deer would go after (everything!), or when to plant. I’m disappointed about the low yield, but I’m not sure if we simply didn’t plant enough or what.

On the other hand, the landscaping project in general has been wonderful. We’ve lived here for 11 years, and finally it doesn’t look like a barren wasteland outside. Lots more to do - this weekend I’ll be evening out some dips in the ground, and next up is fixing the flagstone pathway – gophers have tunneled under it so many times that about half of it is uneven and dangerous.

Here are some pictures, although the garden isn’t very impressive at the moment, as the old crops start to dry up and the new crops are just starting to push out of the ground.

potatoes and elephant
Here are the regular potatoes, salvaged tangerine tree, and elephant sculpture with bougainvillea and lantana.

sweet potatoes
On the other side of the front door, the sweet potatoes and lemon tree.

vegetable garden
Beds, left to right:
- Zucchini and yellow squash
- parsley, strawberries, basil, 2nd crop of lettuces (barely sprouting), last of the sweet pea flowers, and 2nd crop of peas (sprouting)
- butternut squash, strawberries, cucumber, 3rd crop of lettuces (not even sprouting yet), green beans (sprouting)
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