I think we finally got this gardening thing right. Last year, I planted way too much kale and chard and we couldn’t even come close to eating all of it. I had so much that I was giving it away. Basically, I had one raised bed (8’x4′) with only kale in it and another raised bed with only Swiss chard in it. In buckets, I had about thirty tomato plants and in another garden altogether (Laura’s garden), we had zucchini and yellow squash.
What I learned is that it didn’t matter how much zucchini grew. We’d eat it. Also, we prefer zucchini over yellow squash, but still enjoy both of them. I like kale and chard, but don’t need nearly as much as I grew last year. I love basil and other herbs and made a commitment that I’d grow some this year. Oh yeah – one thing that really didn’t work out for me was the buckets. During the heat of the season in July and August, the sun would beat so hard on the sides of the black buckets that they would dry out very quickly. I was forced to do some deep watering every single day and even though I was able to harvest tons of tomatoes, I didn’t enjoy the process. All I wanted was one nice garden that was well diversified – and deep.
Check this out.
I’m not sure if I told you this or not, but when we moved into this house, we discovered a large pile of driveway pavers. I’ve moved these pavers around quite a bit and finally, they settled where they are now. I hope I don’t have to move them again.
At this point, after many trips with the wheelbarrow, I have a garden that’s about twenty feet long and four feet wide. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s sixteen inches deep. I also have a really nice variety of vegetables and herbs that, just yesterday, I began harvesting. I’ll show you some photos.
This is a yellow squash plant. You can see the young ones growing. Behind this plant are a few zucchini plants, which are a bit smaller. They grow super fast, so I’m crossing my fingers that we can begin eating them soon.
I’ve got six Big Boy tomato plants growing along the back of the garden. You can see some stakes in the previous photo. These guys are getting large quickly and I’m forced to trim them to keep them at bay.
I have five really healthy basil plants growing, which is nice because they’ve got some great health benefits to them. I trim some leaves and add them to every salad we eat.
I used to have one more but that mysteriously disappeared one night. I’m left wondering what happened.
A friend who lives up the road from us let us take some parsley that wintered over from last year. We did and it’s growing wonderfully. I also planted some earlier in the season that’s getting right up there with the stuff that was already growing. I’m hopeful that ours will winter over too so I don’t have as much work to do next year.
In the next few photos, I have a lettuce mixture that’s starting to come up, some beets that I’m very much looking forward to, carrots that just started to take off last week, our staple Ruby Red Swiss chard and some kale. Each night now, I go outside and trim some from each area for that night’s salad. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Towards the front of our house, Laura made some huge gardens during the spring. I positioned some old raised beds that we had laying around in one of them and she planted various herbs. We can now add fresh dill, more basil and cilantro to our salads as well. On top of that, the same friend I mentioned earlier also gave us some chocolate mint plants that we need to keep an eye on. I hear they spread like wildfire. I’ll have to find an edible use for these too.
I’d say things are coming along nicely. At the very least, we get some low cost food and I also get to see how everything grows, which will help for next year’s planning.