Friday, April 6, 2012

Gardening Attempts

In the attempt to learn more and more about the foods I eat, I have decided to try and grow more things myself. I grew up in a gardening family and know the fundamentals of both growing and preserving foods. Living in apartments most of my adult life left me with almost no room to grow outside or a very limited space. So I have been limited to some tomatoes in pots. I would also rely on visits to the Farmer's Market or kindness of friends and family to get a few vegetables to can. Plus my Dad is very kind to share his canned tomatoes with me.

After getting married I moved into the house that Kip already owned but our backyard is very shady and doesn't lend itself to gardening very much. Moles are also a problem in our yard. I didn't grow anything for the first four years I lived here but I missed it. Last year I got some cherry tomato plants from my Dad. Almost all of his plants are started from seeds that he has harvested from the previous year's crop. Some of his seeds have been in his family for generations. I grew six tomato plants in posts on my back porch. 

Oh how I had missed eating tomatoes, just picked and still warm from the sun! 

I also joined a CSA last year so that we had fresh, organic vegetables throughout the summer and fall. I love my CSA and will continue being a member this year. But my quest for growing my own vegetables has continued. Kip and I had discussed a while back about building some above ground planters. He has very little interest in gardening so he was concerned that because of my back issues that he would end up doing a lot of the work. We came up with the idea of building a very large planter so that if I needed to, I could sit at and still tend to my plants.

Here is what Kip ended up building for me:

I love it. It is on wheels and has a handle so in the off season, the dirt can be emptied into the compost bin and it can be stored. Since it is mobile, I was able to watch the sun pattern for several weeks to determine the sunniest spots of the yard. I have this planter and the pots in the first picture full of plants that will hopefully provide some more of our produce needs this year. 

I also decided to not do very many flowers this year. Almost everything that I have in any of my planters is something I can eat. Here are some hanging baskets in the front of the house that has herbs in it. I have a couple of small pots inside growing in the kitchen window that also have herbs, but I decided I needed more than I could get from my small pots. 

I am still pretty happy with my compost bin. This is the first year that I have used the compost in my planters. Samantha love to go and look for worms in the compost. She is loving the fact that I have so many plants now. In fact, she sent me a text on Wednesday telling me she could't wait to see me--and my plants--on Thursday.

Let's see what I have planted so far:

German Pink tomatoes
Another tomato from my dad that I can't remember the name of
Green Peppers
Jalapeno peppers
Cayenne Peppers
Pickling cucumbers
Straight Eight cucumbers

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