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April 26th, 2010

a productive gardening saturday

ericsgarden042610
We made progress this weekend. With the help of my wife Heather and daughter Iris, I built two more raised beds, and got three of them filled with a nice mixture of soil and compost. We planted six broccoli plants, as well as chard and collards by seed.

So far, here’s what’s in the ground:

  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Bok choi
  • Brussels
  • Broccoli
  • Chard
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Plus, some volunteer cilantro

Heather started building a trellis for the peas. The garden is well on its way now. But there’s still lots to do. I’m going to build one more raised bed. I’d like to get some woodchips with which to mulch the paths.

We also planted a bed of wild flower seeds over by the old crabapple tree. The poor tree—it used to a beautiful sprawling weeping crab apple, but last year in early April, an ash tree on the edge of the woods fell and took most of the crab apple with it.
egarden042610

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April 22nd, 2010

raised beds, potatoes, and dreams of pumpkins

I wonder if it would count as working from home if I didn’t come in tomorrow, stayed home, and finished my raised beds. I have two of them built, one of which is partially double dug. The other is just a frame. I intend to build three, maybe four more of these.
raisedbeds
I know I should probably use something longer-lasting then untreated pine 2×10s, but that’s what I bought, so that’s what I’ll use. I know if I had an uninterrupted 8 hours I could get all the beds ready to go. I don’t think I’ve ever had an uninterrupted 8 hours ever in my entire life.

I can’t complain. It’s only April and I have a lot planted already. The peas were first. Then the potatoes and spinach. Brussels a few weeks ago.

Monday morning I planted my kohlrabi, bok choi, and arugula. I bought these cool weather crops at the Rodale Institute’s plant sale last Friday. I also bought some broccoli, mint, foxgloves, and a columbine.

My potatoes are out of the ground already, and we might be eating baby spinach in a week or so.
potatoes
The thing I’m very excited about is my pumpkin patch. I haven’t planted it yet, but I’ve cleared a spot up in our meadow for it. It’ll be more of a squash patch. I’ll have lots of winter squash up there. Delicata, butternut, maybe acorn. Might even throw some beans and corn in for the 3 Sisters effect. Haven’t decided if I’ll put my summer squash in this new squash patch, or down in one of the as-of-yet un-built raised beds.

And of course there will be pumpkins—big ones, little ones, orange, white, maybe even blue. I love pumpkins. Not sure why. One of my dreams is to grow giant pumpkins. You know: Prizewinners. The kind you could carve out and live in if you had to. The kind you could float down a river in. That’s what I’m talking about. Giant pumpkins.

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April 12th, 2010

A visit to Mrs. D's Garden—part one.

I love my garden. It’s a work in progress. An escape. An experiment. It’s my slow food store. It’s my connection to my ancestors, my climate, my landscape, my place in the universe. It is a continual source of amusement and amazement, a place of inspiration and perspiration. But it’s a total mess. Which is why I like to visit other people’s gardens.

This morning, on my way to work, I stopped by my friend’s mom’s house. I will refer to her as Mrs. D. She arguably has the best, most beautiful garden in all of East Coventry Township—and perhaps the whole county.

I went there this morning because I heard the tulips were blooming, but she’s also got lots of lettuce, spinach, potatoes, garlic, onions, cabbage and more—a truly inspirational garden.

I will be making many return visits to Mrs. D’s garden for the sake of this blog—and for the sake of my own gardening education. Thanks, Mrs. D!

beautiful tulips

beautiful tulips


Mrs. D's Garden

Mrs. D's Garden


lettuce

lettuce


inside the fence

inside the fence


lots of garlic

lots of garlic


pipsqueak the crazy chicken!

pipsqueak the crazy chicken!

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April 7th, 2010

wide open window of spring

With wide-open windows comes waking with birdsong. O, the sweet chattery tunes of spring birds in the country and it’s easy to lie in bed and let the morning progress without getting up. Who needs to get out of bed? I suppose I do.

The sun is just now breaking through the trees, the yard is glowing warm and twinkly with dew. The crab apple is about to burst in flower. Wisteria buds hang heavy on the vine. Tulip poplars are light green and the maples are red. Spring arrives full force now and soon I’ll see the May Apples open their umbrellas and the ferns unfurl their feathers. Hostas are poking through the mulch like determined red soldiers. The daffodils are holding steady. There’s no turning back now.

What does it all mean? I wish I could stay philosophical and expound about the timelessness of spring and how nature’s rebirth is in essence our own rebirth and how I am always filled with a sense of wonder and awe and thankfulness at this time of year—but I’m not able to stay in that head-space for long before I’m overwhelmed with the fact that I’ve got more work to do in the yard than I have time to do it.

Morning was simpler when all there was was birdsong.

maplecrabappledaf

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April 5th, 2010

sleeping potatoes

I had some help with my potatoes on Friday. My daughter is 19 months old and was very excited to be helping daddy in the garden. She told me that the potatoes were sleeping, and she said goodnight to each one as we covered them up with dirt.
taters03taters02

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