Garden: Looking forward to 2011

January 1, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my garden. Part of that is that by mid-autumn, a summer garden is not much to look at — leggy and straggly and browning. We got a couple of the veggie boxes set up before the massive amounts of rain hit, but we didn’t schedule everything quite right.

What that means is twofold: one, that I haven’t been pulling a whole lot from the garden lately. Mostly it has been cabbage and fennel thinnings, and lettuces of many different types. That’s been good. We’re just starting to get snap peas, too. Had our first one yesterday, and there are two growing now, and more on the way. Lots of pretty white flowers on our pea plants! Carrots and beets and cilantro are growing too. Should be able to harvest some cilantro in a day or two.

Two: the other two boxes are … eesh. With all the rain, basically everything that sprouted got eaten by slugs. And I do mean just about everything, with the exception of a double-handful of Laxton’s Progress shelling peas. I went in there to replant yesterday and found poor little beet roots and radish roots that had been nibbled to the ground. I want to put up some row covers to protect them better, but am not sure how to lug anything home that is suitable. Our car is not large enough for the lengths of PVC-pipe or similar that I’d need to make decent-sized hoops. I might just lay the covers on as floaters for now, and hold them down with rocks. Not sure. This is something I haven’t really dealt with before.

While I’d like to add more fruits and veggies, I think 2011 is not going to be that year. I’m going to spend this year learning how to manage my veggie boxes a little better, and do my crop rotation better, and keep an eye on those boysenberries (which are already flowering. What?! o_O ) and keep them from taking over my yard. I should probably replant my strawberries in the fall, too, as this is the third year we’ve had them. I’m actually pretty happy with most of the foodstuffs we have in the yard. There are only a few more things I’d like to work in — a couple of citrus trees (lemon and tangerine, preferably), some raspberries if I can find space, and maybe a couple more fruit trees if I can find space (ha! … um … espaliered, maybe?). Basically, I know I can grow veggies year-round as long as I’m proactive about planting. The fruit we have is seasonal, though, and I’d like to have fresh fruit from my yard as much of the year as possible. I don’t think this year is going to be the add-more-fruit-year, though, much as I would like it to be. I really want to get a handle on the veggies before I add more maintenance work.

I’m also going to try to work in some native plants and flowers. I have some ideas for those, but I’m still working on them. I’d like to replace a lot of the rocks and bark in our yard with ground covers, in order to break up the clay-filled soil better and help it hold more water when it rains. I’m starting a small flower bed in our front yard; some of it will be California wildflowers, and some will be the lupines I brought back from Utah, and which are likely not to grow, but I have to try.

I’d toyed briefly with the idea of a thorn hedge along the back of the property to deter wildlife, but I think I am not going to do that. First of all, I’m not sure how much of a deterrent it’d be, and I’d have to work with it, and I suspect it would deter me. Second of all, I want to make the yard a little friendlier for my niece, who is rapidly growing into a toddler, and I’d like to have places for her to play. Our yard is not play-friendly. We aren’t planning on putting in any grass — too much headache, too much maintenance. But I think — a veggie garden where she can pick food, and a flower garden where she can pick flowers, and a soft landscape instead of a hard one — that’d be a nice thing to do, both for her and for us.

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