Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, radishes, bell peppers. And, if I’m not a dumb-ass tomorrow, some jalapeños as well. That’s what’s in the garden this year. Things are looking pretty good, though!
Unfortunately, though, there was some natural selection that happened. One of my basil plants died and most of my slicing cucumbers haven’t come up.
Pictures (taken with my Samsung Captivate Android smart phone) after the jump
My cucumber trellises came in from Gardener’s Supply Company yesterday and I was excited to put in my cucumbers. I did that today. While I Was out there, Kristen decided to come help out some (Bless you!) by pulling some weeds out of the ground in and around the garden boxes. She also brought her camera with her to document our efforts.
Photo collage after the jump
I’m not anywhere near being done, but I have the first part in the ground. I have a potato tower with a couple of different types of potatoes, I have two tomato plants in the ground (Cherokee purple, as I recall, and Roma) as well as about 20 onion sets.
I finally have everything on hand to build a couple of potato towers, but the things that I’m seeing online suggest that potatoes grown in towers have a relatively low harvest. To the tune of about 3 pounds of harvest for every pound of seed used
Today’s goal is to develop a plan to grow somewhere around 60 – 80 pounds of potatoes in a staged or staggered harvest.
The idea is to start three or four groups of potatoes with a week or two between each, so that they have a chance to mature in sequence and we don’t get a too-large harvest all at one time. Since the spuds can take a lot of space, I won’t be planting them in the prepared beds, but rather in some sort of potato tower or (new) trash barrel container.
At this time, I’m thinking that I’ll be doing three or four stages of growing, so I’ll need at least the same amount of barrels or towers.
I had intended to rent out a rototiller today and get the garden beds prepared for the season. HOWEVER! Mother Nature had different plans. Last night, we had some big rain, which soaked the ground and turned it into mud. This morning, as we were on our way to pick up the tiller, it started raining again.
Bah. Sad panda.
So, I decided that I’d put off the tilling until later this week or next weekend. Fortunately, I’m still in the “start seed inside” timeframe for most of the veg that I want to plant.
In other news, I recently stumbled across something on Pinterest that sounds interesting. It’s an herbal “itch stick” that is supposed to help insect bites to stop itching. Kristen and Katie often suffer from mosquito bites during the summer months, so I thought that I’d give it a shot. Here’s a link to the original recipe:
The ingredients are not what I would call inexpensive, but they’re not prohibitive, either. The problem is that they’re not easily available in very small (like 1/2 ounce) quantities online. I happen to have an herb shop moderately near the house (Ok, it’s 20 miles away through small towns) that I can get the herbs from. Add to that the butters and containers, and I will have everything on hand tomorrow in order to assemble some of this stuff.
I’ll probably end up with a couple of these up on Gentleman’s Cabinet in a few days.
I stumbled across this blog post by way of Pinterest today and had to read it a couple of times for it to really hit home for me.
New Life On A Homestead » Blog Archive » You Must Learn To Garden NOW!.
Why did this hit home? Simple: I waited too long and now find myself really, REALLY needing the skills that I could have learned already. I need my garden to be well and truly productive in order to help minimize our food bill this year, since I’m not working at this time.
In light of this, I am a bad “prepper” in that emergency preparedness is one of those things that I am a fan of and I was complacent. I’m paying the price for that now, though.
That’s a feeling that is definitely NOT comfortable.
Besides that, though, I’m thinking that managing the garden may be good therapy to help me stave off the depression that I am sure is coming. It hasn’t hit yet, at least not overtly. But I’ve been trying to stay busy with planning the garden plots this year, as well as making plans for herbal concoctions to sell on Etsy. The problem with that, though, is that there is a moderately high cost of entry and a LOT of competition. Would be less at a farmers market, though.
A couple of notes. First! I am totally out of shape. 20 minutes of stooping over and pulling weeds out of the ground kicked my ass.
Second! I’m happy to see that the lavender that was planted last year is still there, and has significant new growth. I’m just confused as to why it smells somewhat lemon-y.
Third! To whomever planted peony plants where I’m growing flowers, SCREW YOU. Those things are like cockroaches. They are hard to kill (dig up), they come out of nowhere (their rhizomes run deep, are HARD, and split off all over the place), and if you don’t want them, they show up anyway.
May have to take a trip out to the home improvement store to see about getting some new tools. The ones that we have are in a sad state of repair.
With my unemployment, I have to be able to provide SOMETHING for my family. Kristen decided (with some input and acquiescence from me, since use has great logical reasons) that I should renew our garden beds and make them work for us this year.
Thanks to Pinterest I have quite a bit of inspiration and some guidance to fall back upon. Also, I discovered a neat website that helps you plan planting times based on your ZIP code! Sprout Robot tells me that I am not, in fact, behind on my planting despite what the weather may be seeming to tell me. I just wish that it had more information on a greater variety of herbs.
What I did accomplish so far was planting two little pots of kitchen herbs that Kristen uses a lot: Chives, rosemary, and oregano are growing on either side of our front step, as seen here:
When we first moved in here, we put in a couple of raised garden beds with the best of intentions. However, we were overwhelmed with “life” plus the garden, and it quickly got neglected, even after we had too many cucumbers to spare. We left them fallow for a couple of years, but with the current state of our household economy (and my copious amount of spare time) the conclusion was reached that I need to put my “farmer” hat on and grow some food. That will have the added benefit of giving us the opportunity to save money at the grocery store on some staples of our veg intake. We likes our potatoes, yo!
SWMBO says that I should grow some little red potatoes, since she hates the purple ones. I just hope that I can get the potato tower built without killing myself. The directions *say* that it should easily generate 24 pounds of potatoes by season end.
That’s all I have for today. I’m headed out to weed her flower garden and see if the lavender that she planted last year has survived the winter.
Wish me luck!