March 20, 2009
Time for Gardening: My Garden, and a Mention about the President's Garden
I know this is my second post for the day, but I have been waiting for the weather to get this warm for a while, and I wanted to post about my new garden. Â In front of my house (on the North side), I have had a huge section of my front lawn tilled under and covered with bark. Â I did this to make the front yard more draught-resistant, but also because the land wasn't good for anything else. Â The grass was even dying in that section. Â So, after tilling it under and placing down a fabric weed barrier, I covered it with several bags of bark and mulch. Â The total space is probably 8 feet by 8 feet with the dead center of it planted in flowers and a small, young apple tree. Â There is a lot of space there that has been, until yesterday, going to waste. Â This last fall I had made some extensive planting plans for my yard with the determination to have several vegetables and fruits grown for canning and storing this next fall. Â I looked at this section of the yard, and decided it was time to use it. Â My intention was to plant root vegetables in this section, which requires a very light soil. Â Not light as in helium, but light as in more sandy than clay. Â Unfortunately, the vast majority of my yard is clay. Â So, I placed down six 50 pound bags of play sand, and tilled it in with the dirt. Â This made a wonderfully light soil, just perfect for root veggies. Â Initially I was only going to plant beets in this area. Â Why beets? Â Because I love beets! Â My grandfather grew up on a sugar beet farm in Wyoming, and has instilled the love of a good sweet-pickled beet in my father, who gave that love to me. Â So I planted Red Detroit beets, Golden beets, and an heirloom beet that my parents found. Â Of course, this only took up a small portion of the land I had prepared, far less than I had expected. Â So I planted some heirloom lemon cucumbers, some watermelon radishes, and my father planted some heirloom white radishes. Â Still, there is a good portion that is not being used, so I intend to plant some lettuce along those rows. Â In between the farrows and mounds I am going to put the bark back. Â This will not only look pretty good, but it will also help retain water during the summer months. Â I'm really excited for this section of the yard, and I'm looking forward to planting the rest. I still need to plant my Broom Corn as a barrier (and can be ground into a nice gluten-free flour, like a cake flour), Bloody Butcher sweet corn (nice, dark red corn, and I liked the name), Strawberry Popcorn (looks like a giant strawberry), Cinderella pumpkins, baby sugar pumpkins, baby watermelon (I'm not sure if the seeds are any good, but I'm going to give it a try), dyer's woad (that's an experiment that comes out really well), pole beans (green, yellow, and purple if I can find it), carrots (red, orange, yellow, white, and purple again), and the tomatoes that we have started (Brandywine Pinks). Â If I can help it, all the plants will be heirloom, with a couple of exceptions. Â I like heirloom plants, because you don't have to keep buying seeds every year. Â You can plant from the seeds you retain from the last harvest, much like the old farm tradition. Â So not only does it save you about $10.00 in seeds every year (at least for me), but you know what you will be growing. Â And the seeds are good for up to 3 years before they start to lose their potency. Â Also, I would like to point out that President Obama is also starting a vegetable garden at the White House, with the intention of actually eating the produce. Â This is great news, and something that every American should be doing. Â Start a garden, whether it be a sizable plot or a couple of flower pots in your house. Â You will find that vegetables just don't taste any better than when you grow them yourself.