So I am joining in with The Growing Challenge over at One Green Generation. The name of the game is growing things to eat, from seed, in your garden, trying out new plants and of course blogging about it – which sounds right up my alley, plus a good way to motivate myself to both garden and to document it a bit better.
We have a large veggie patch and the beginnings of an orchard, but we really have no clue what we are doing. We’ve read books and tried stuff out, some things have grown fabulously and others have been disasters. We’ve learnt lots in the last two spring/summers of growing veggies but the problem is, I have trouble remembering exactly what it is we learnt. I really need to get better at writing things down, so what better place to do it than here ( and bore you non-gardening types senseless at the same time – bonus!) and what better motivation than to have other bloggers who actually know what they are doing coming to have a read every now and then.
So here goes –
It’s August, the first sniffs of spring are in the air on some days and there are blossoms on the peach trees, but other days it is FREEZING, or pouring with rain, or both and the frosts are still ferocious! We have quite some time to go before most veggie seedlings will be able to survive outside but I need to start thinking about planting seeds inside now!
I’ve held off on my seed order because I have plans to go to CERES with friends next week and I know they have wonderful seedlings as well as heirloom seeds so I want to see what they have first, then I will order. I am hoping they have some comfrey plants as I can’t seem to get that to grow from seed, and I’m keen to see what herbs they have too, so everyone hope for a nice sunny day on Wednesday – or at least no rain!
We are still working on weeding the last of the beds in the veggie garden. It’s a long slow process that gives me blisters and a sore back. Each year I vow never to let it go to weed over the winter but I am a fair weather gardener so I confess I will probably never put in the time to keep it weed free when the weather is cold. We’ve used some old weed mat over some of the beds to kill off the weeds a bit before hoeing them out which has helped a lot. So the plan for next year is to cover each bed we won’t use over winter with a layer shredded paper and then weed mat in the hopes that it will keep the weeds at bay until we are ready to use them again.
The Baldy Boy has had another go at rotary hoeing the un-bedded half of the garden and I can’t believe how light and fluffy and gorgeous our dirt looks! Yes.. dirt can be gorgeous! It’s so brown and lush and full of worms. When you walk on it you sink up to your knees, it’s like brown snow… but good brown snow! He’ll have another few goes every other week until we are ready for planting – and while I love the look of neatly edged beds with nice paths in between, I have to admit that we’d never have been able to get our clay soil this good without the tractor and it should be great for growing in.
So we currently have a few beds half full of bits and pieces and lots of empty space full of potential. I spend a fair bit of time just looking at the veggie garden imagining where everything will go, how it will look, how great it will be when we are eating from the garden again. But usually I come away from my pondering with a hundred burning questions that need to be answered now!!!
Can I put the strawberries next to the potatoes?
Can I plant something in between the rows of potatoes? Maybe flowers or something?
Will my bok choi and lettuces go to seed where they have been planted once the weather hots up? Should I have planted them somewhere that gets a bit of shade? Or maybe wack up a bit of shade cloth to protect them?
Why don’t my scarlet runner beans ever grow well? I’ve tried them in two different spots and still never had a bean.
When I divide up and shift the rhubarb should I take off most of the nice pink stalks and leaves or leave them all? Does shifting it mean we can’t harvest from it for a year? What’s the likelihood I’ll kill it – it’s done so well where it is, despite the spot being the opposite of what the book says it likes. Maybe I should divide it but put some back?
When will my peas sprout?
How on earth will we combat the earwigs this year?
I wondering if we will finally get the watering system right?
How many sunflowers can I fit in?
I wonder if I can get some loofah seeds and grow them?
and so it goes on… just more and more questions…. I need to get out all the books and start googling to find the answers, and most importantly work on some magical way of remembering them!!
I promise next week I will take some photos of the garden – of my gorgeous dirt. Maybe by next I will have a potato sprouting or a pea and actually be able to photograph something edible among our good looking dirt!