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)

Date: 2013-08-24 11:18 pm (UTC)
nverland: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nverland
It looks wonderful. Strawberries take 2-3 years for the plant itself to be mature enough to really produce, but then they come on very nice

Date: 2013-08-25 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salixbabylon.livejournal.com
Thank you! Oh good - I thought strawberries were annuals and was really annoyed at the wasted money. I'll just leave them in, then, and hope next year is better. :)

*hug* I really should do more research on this stuff, but honestly, I'd rather hear from people who *know*, rather than a website that has no concept of my growing conditions.

Date: 2013-08-25 11:55 pm (UTC)
nverland: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nverland
Just cover them with some straw before it gets very cold and they'll do great

Date: 2013-08-26 04:44 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-08-25 12:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jackieville.livejournal.com
Yay for gardening!!! I really should grow veggies along with my flowers. *g*

Date: 2013-08-25 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salixbabylon.livejournal.com
So far, the only real success/thing that was worth the effort were the lettuces. You can just put those in a big pot or something, and then snip off the top leaves every week or so. Easy-peasy, and more tasty than the bags from the supermarket! :)

Date: 2013-08-25 12:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baileymoyes.livejournal.com
This is wonderful. I totally love the elephant, as you know. *kiss kiss*

Date: 2013-08-25 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salixbabylon.livejournal.com
Thank you! You and your art helped inspire me. :) And you're on LJ! *hug*

Date: 2013-08-25 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rifleman-s.livejournal.com
Well not at all bad for your first year, I'd say - bearing in mind that everyone (even professional producers) have been suffering this year because of the long, late winter and very hot & dry summer. But you're feeding yourselves which is really marvellous!

And of course, you can learn from this year and hope for a bumper crop of everything next year.

Date: 2013-08-25 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salixbabylon.livejournal.com
True enough - the lettuce was delicious, and the other stuff was exciting to have "grown our own" - the peas and cucumber especially. So fresh!

Yes, I've been keeping detailed records about when I planted, and how things did. Hopefully over the winter, I can look at it and make some changes for next year. :)

Date: 2013-08-30 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writethings.livejournal.com
Wow Your garden is wonderful! I know I should not laugh, but I could not resist when I read about the deer. lol
Here in the southern hemisphere, and especially in my area, we don't have the same animals you have there. My big problem here are the birds. They love to peck all that is at vista. My house has high walls around it, so the only problems to the plants are the birds, possum, ants, and some small monkeys that sometimes appear.
My garden is not ready yet. I have a small area. which is concreted so I have to make the beds with bricks and I will need to buy the compounds to fill the beds. But my mother has planted in old tires, some cherry tomatoes. They are very sweet, much better than those bought in supermarkets.
Edited Date: 2013-08-30 10:18 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-01 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salixbabylon.livejournal.com
Small monkeys! Yes, I guess you do have different animals! :)

We had to build the beds because all of our dirt is sandstone - nothing for the plants to eat. It felt silly buying dirt, but there you go.

I am so happy to have a garden, finally. After over a decade here, it's great to have some color and enjoy being outside. And no food tastes quite as good as food you grew yourself. :)

Date: 2013-09-18 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartofslash.livejournal.com
Fantastic looking beds - I'm jealous! (I've been wheedling and hinting and am about to go on full-on beg for a raised bed. We've even got the perfect wood to build them with - ipe, that Brazilian stuff that is impervious to seasons - I just need to give my Dwarf the right reason to build them... since it's ipe and I have no clue how you work with wood that's that hard.)

With things like strawberries you have to play the long con. Be patient. Gardening is not a once a year thing.

Moral of the story is that deer will eat anything. Fuckers. They're almost as bad as beavers.

Date: 2013-09-19 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] salixbabylon.livejournal.com
I think I've seen that you treat IPE just like regular wood, maybe pre-drill holes first? We just used brackets and wood screws on the oak.

It's been an interesting experiment. Clearly I will need a more deer-proof solution than the netting. Fuckers...

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