Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Garden is coming along

Amy, Marym, and Clint, June 2012
This past weekend the community garden took a huge step forward. We hauled in four yards of topsoil, that nice looking stuff in the beds behind Amy. I myself shoveled at least one yard all by myself. How much is a yard, you ask? Well, I now can answer that question. It fills the back of a pickup and is one cubic yard of soil. That's a LOT!
The way it happened is that Carol (not shown, but that's her son's pickup) decided to get a yard of soil to put on top of the hard clay soil (rototilled not very deep and mixed with horse manure) and everybody wanted some, too. I split a yard with another person because I had already planted at least a third of my plot.
My half topsoil plot, with Clint's plot on left and unused plot on right
That's the way my garden looked by the end of the day Saturday, with the already planted stuff showing itself looking pretty perky, and my virgin topsoil, which now has Swiss chard, a tomato plant, green beans, and cabbage in half of it. I still want to get some collard starts and more kale in the remaining two rows. I have been going outside to say hello to my veggies every morning before I head out to catch the bus, give them plenty of encouragement, and see if they are asking for water.

I've made some mistakes: I stuck the cabbage into the ground and Clint looked at it skeptically. He told me that there were EIGHT cabbage plants, and they all needed to be separated and stuck in rows, since they would get very large. What am I going to do with all that cabbage? Hope my neighbors like cabbage.

But what is so exciting to me is to observe the way the squash plants have begun to grow. The zucchini squash has more than doubled in size, and the two delicata squash plants are growing rapidly. My zinnia and marigold seeds have germinated and are showing pretty green sprouts. No sign of the carrots from seed yet, but I'm optimistic. I am enjoying myself far more than I ever thought I would, and it's a long time before I'll be eating anything from the garden. The community spirit is another side benefit; many of my fellow residents are now friends of mine, and we all have different approaches to the garden.

Amy decided not to plant in rows but instead companion plant in delightful randomness. At least it looks that way to me, but she has a notebook and is monitoring the plants' progress meticulously. It inspired Clint to dig up his already planted onions and plant them in a sine wave pattern, with his other plants whimsically placed around it. Mine are planted in rows, because I didn't know any better and I don't want to disturb them since they're doing so well. But next year, watch out!


  1. Dear DJan, the thing with gardeners, I think, is that every year they try something new and different. A different type of tomato; different organization; different plants. And if it's a perennial garden, they dig up and share with others and try new plants and groupings.

    Gardening is so good for the soul. I'm missing it here in Missouri and if I end up staying here, I'm going to start doing raised beds for "square foot gardening." There are several good books on it--one by the mastermind who came up with the idea. You might enjoy them--for next year!


  2. ha i find it funny everyone with thier own ways to plant...a sione wave...too funny...yeah if they are growing i would def wait for next year...smiles.

  3. It is such fun watching your garden grow. I look forward to every report.

  4. You're really getting a lot of your garden and you haven't eaten anything yet. I know the feeling. I like all things about gardening. To me there's no taste better than fresh out of the garden.
    As for rows or curves? To each his own. What you do have to do is make sure you have room when the plant matures. Cabbage can get very large.

  5. i'm loving the creativity coming out in the planting designs. :) and that you go out and talk to your garden every morning to encourage and check on it. :)

    and i laughed at your clump of cabbage plants. :)

  6. Nothing like a boiled cabbage dinner. We had a lot of em growing up and we had a very large garden close to the house, so you could just pop out and pick supper or most of it anyway.
    I think its kinda kool to create a pattern. I would have planted my garden the same as yours, cause that's how my folks taught me, however, the weave or wave or curly cues sound kinda neat and I bet they would look real cute from up in your parachute.
    Sounds like you are having a great time DJan. Nice photos - keep planting :) Love the updates. Can't wait for your first bicycle post :)

  7. There's nothing like new stuff done with new people to keep us happy. Your garden sounds like it is coming right along DJan. And here's to hardy eating very soon.

  8. It sounds like you're having a blast with this. I'm not much of a gardener, myself but I sure do enjoy hearing about yours

  9. I thought you planted in rows because it was easier to weed and pick later on. It would never have occurred to me to plant in waves or any other formation. You'll have to let us know how that works out for them.

    I figured you'd meet all the gardening neighbors. Another community of sorts. Nice! :) Glad you are enjoying it all. Makes me happy just to hear you talk about it and to see the pictures. :)

  10. I'm so glad that you are loving it while you are learning it!

  11. I love seeing the photos and reading about the enjoyment you are getting from your gardening, Jan. I look forward to each post!
    I talk to my plants, too. It's working!! We have been eating squash, green beans, eggplant, green pepper and zucchini. I'm still talking to the okra, tomatoes and corn. They're listening.
    Big hugs,

  12. You are having fun, that's the main thing. The veggies are extra.

  13. Gardens are a joy and a delight and also a lot of work. My smaller portion likes to plant things in neat, size ordered rows. I do not. So we compromise. He plants things in rows and I come along behind him and plant things every which way, so the rows are obscured. He knows the neat and tidy rows are there - and I don't have to look at them.

  14. I think caring for your own food plants is one of the great mystical gifts. And when you EAT the stuff within five minutes of picking it!
    It's all just a miracle.

  15. I'm interested in the results of your garden. I hope your carrots have a good flavor because I was very disappointed with carrots that I planted in Florida. They looked okay, but the taste was bitter rather than sweet as I had expected. I didn't know much about soil balance or composition. A community garden sounds like more fun than individual backyard efforts.

  16. It sounds like you're having fun and that's the most important part of gardening, otherwise it turns into just hard work. My carrots are barely up, but, hopefully, will need thinning soon. My parsnips didn't germinate worth a darn, so I'm replacing them with beets. It's a work in progress, for sure. I can see how a community garden would create nice camaraderie. Love the idea of thinking outside the row for planting ideas.

  17. You should check out smartgardener.com. I used it this year to help plan my raised bed garden layout.

    I started gardening three years ago and love being able to have fresh tomatoes and basil right outside my kitchen! I also like having fresh mint for mojitos.

    The coffee shop I go to has a great community garden. Mike has a plot there. We stop almost daily to visit his plants. Community gardens are great! It's funny to run into to people around town and end up talking about what everyone is growing in their garden out behind the coffee shop.

    I can't wait to see how your garden grows!

  18. I so enjoy this part of your life too, DJan. And soon, y'all will reap the harvest and put behind the hard, long hours. I can't wait to see the first of your fruited labors arrive on the vines/stems.

  19. Carrots sometimes take a long time if the weather is cool..when they do come up you need to thin them..several times. Sounds like you will have squash..and it sounds like you are enjoying the process too:)

  20. I'm very excited for you. I love the idea of community gardens even though it has taken me a while to get there. My daughter Amy suggested that I find one when we move if my lot isn't big enough to garden in. I think the community garden is great because you get to build community with others while you grow.

    I guess you can learn to make sauerkraut with all that cabbage! I do love fresh cabbage. As a kid, I loved it more than cookies. Gardening and experimenting and learning from each other go hand in hand.

  21. Inch by inch, row by row
    Gonna make this garden grow
    All it takes is a rake and a hoe
    And a piece of fertile ground.
    ~ John Denver

    it seems this adventure is turning out to be quite a happy one. Good luck with the garden!

  22. I'm coming to your place for a salad when the harvest begins!

  23. You might have some visitors of the furry kind. It is something to look forward to. Deer make a nice picture picking in gardens, so do bunny rabbits and other critters. I hope it grows and you get to eat it all.

  24. It's looking wonderful D-Jan. I am so excited for you (silly me). I can't wait to see how your garden progresses. I think that like me, you will find that you soon have too much of everything and you need to do some thinning out.
    So nice for me to see you doing something I can identify with!
    See my Blog - I have news.

  25. I can feel your excitement and eagerness leap off the page. Community gardens are AWESOME!! I'll be interested to hear how Amy's 'companion planted' garden comes along....I've always been interested in that side of things.

    Well done to you all!

  26. I like the idea of different designs rather than rows but it seems like it might make it a little harder to weed. I'm thinking you will have squash and zucchini before you know it.

  27. I am so excited for you! This will be like Hawaii. When you grow more than you need, everybody loves sharing in your bounty. Every year, you'll learn how to improve the following year's yield.


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