Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Organic Garden

We started with a plot of light brown AZ dirt, overgrown with weeds and crazy grape vines. We knew we had our work cut out for us! To the left is our compost pile. The structure is made of old pallets. We turn it by hand. It is looking so full right now because we have finally trained the baby-children to throw food scraps in the bucket! They do it at school, why did it take so long to get into the habit of doing it at home? The first thing I did was tie up those grape vines. They do finally produce, so we want to keep them as healthy as possible. Then we pulled weeds and turned soil. The white PVC pipe is a misting system that I would like to use in the summer at night to simulate a little rain and cool the garden.

A week of de-weeding, digging, sweating and poop tossing brought us to the beautiful dark soil we are looking at now. That's me and my trusty hoe. It was September and what I had on was still too many clothes. We would get up at 6 in the morning to avoid the heat and sometimes even that was not early enough, but our dreams of bounty kept us going. I used an old sheet to loosely tie the grapes up. That way, the cotton could disintegrate at will and we did not have little pieces of plastic dry-rotting and flying all over this poor earth. Eventually, we will build the soil up enough to remove the wooden borders and have a breathing raised bed garden. For now though, we work with what we have. You can see Amelie, our dog, at the bottom. She is good at running through the garden and digging it, so we had put chicken wire fence up all around the whole thing. That is putting quite the damper on easy access. We will find a better way.

The vines are tied, the weeds are gone, the compost, manure, phosphate and blood meal had a week to cook and now the seeds are in. Waiting to see what would come up was so hard. Of course, the rewards have been great. We planted peas, red lettuce, spinach, broccoli, garlic, red onions, white onions, winter squash, tomatoes, which one book says works, but the nursery says doesn't, and carrots.

Presto chango! We have a graden! It's so beautiful. We water it every two days, except the carrots. They need a deep watering followed by several days of dryness as to grow deep and long. In this picture, you are looking at the peas growing up the chicken wire fence. They are starting to flower. I can't wait to pull fresh peas off of the vine and eat them. In the lower left-middle, that is the broccoli.

LOOK!!! The broccoli is starting to flower!!!! It's so beautiful and looks tasty.

We have started planning the spring and summer garden. Corn is high on our list and since I have grown in before, I am not afraid to do it again. My biggest concern will be getting heirloom, organic seeds, hopefully without having to order them. We have been harvesting the red lettuce and spinach for salads and sandwiches and it is delicious. Tris ate some chives this morning and even after she brushed her teeth, you could still smell them! Ha!

We also did a little transplanting this morning of 6 onion plants and 1 tomato plant. The tomatoes are not doing as bad as I thought they would. There is no way that we could plant them now and hope for anything and if we would have planted them two weeks earlier, we would have had better luck, but oh well. Live and learn. Like with the carrots. I think we planted them too soon. Only a few popped up, so this morning, I sowed some more seeds. I also sowed some more seeds for the red lettuce. We are expecting 70°F weather all week, so I am hoping that this will be good for germination. I will keep you all posted. Yay!

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