Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Home Gardening Strikes Again!
In case you're wondering whether your tiny square of grass will make a difference in the way you eat... this is the harvest I got out of my garden this afternoon. Not included: 2+ lbs of beans previously harvested, the rest of the lettuce bed and one potential pea pod. I chose to pull it all in today because two nights ago we got a frost that killed my bean plants and nipped the potato... and we're low on groceries. The carrots, lettuce and (surprisingly) the two pea vines did ok through the frost, although I doubt the peas will flower before the next cold snap.
Here are my garden specs this year:
Crops sown: Spinach, sugar snap peas, green bush beans, lettuce, chives, carrots, potato (planted later than the rest - found going to seed in a WalMart bag and stuck in a hill on a whim).
Crops harvested: 2+lbs bush beans, loads of lettuce, pan full of baby taters, 5 carrots (plus 3 more too small to pull).
Hours invested: Approx. 10, not counting random runs to grab a bean/lettuce head and pull 3 or 4 weeds. Includes tearing up entire 14x14' back yard, fertilizing, raking, planting, watering, weeding, and current state of winter prep (tilling weeds into soil and mulching, 1/4 done).
Problems I ran into: the seeds I used were just not up to the challenge. Peas took 3 plantings before some came up. Chives and spinach never showed up at all. Carrots sprouted after I had given up on them, and one ended up in the lettuce bed somehow. For 2 year old improperly stored seeds that I just happened to have on hand, the beans and lettuce came up amazingly well and the whimsical potato planting gave at least a fourfold investment in volume compared to the seed tater - not bad for a short growing season! The bean rows did terminate in an anthill, though - something I ignored when I tilled and planted. I learned my lesson and sacrificed two whole plants plus the beans off another one to the ants.
Improvements: Better bed planning (removing the anthill, putting the carrots in the sandy area at the back, etc) and utilization of space. Getting a big washtub to use for compost at the back of the garden. Adding a proper path through the beds, proactive weed removal (mulch!) and more fertilizer! I'd also like to make it look prettier next year with some nicer row markers and plant cages... but that's something to worry about come January. :D
Looking forward to getting things all done for winter, and very glad I "bothered" planting something this year. It may not have been worth the 10 hours of labor in monetary terms, but you couldn't pay me enough to give up the satisfaction of eating my own produce.