Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Growing Garden

Here are a few choice pictures that B took yesterday.  As you will see about half of it is huge and the rest looks kind of empty.  Most of those squares have been planted at this point and I started seeing sprouts last week.  A few squares are still empty because I am trying to stagger my planting a bit for a more gradual harvest as opposed to all at once.  On to the pictures. 

Full Length Garden View
As you can see we did a raised garden.  We chose this option for two reasons.  We rent our house, so we are limited in how and where we can modify the property.  This side yard was empty so we didn't have to worry about changing/moving/destroying anything already in place.  Secondly, the ground in this area is extremely compacted and rocky, so rather than trying to till it up and amend the existing soil we decided it would would be a lot less work to just build up and have great soil from the start. Also, because this was the only real available space on the property and is bordered by the house and the side fence B built it 18 inches high, both to give the plants plenty of footing and to raise them to give them a chance for a bit more light each day.  The grid you see is based on Square Foot Gardening in an effort to maximize this limited space; it also provided the perfect structure for the drip system B put in.  
If you ever wanted to know what lettuce looks like when you let it grow - you're looking at it in the bottom right of the picture.  We really need to eat more salad...

Beans and Zucchini
At the bottom of the picture are my bush beans (green/string beans).  I've already harvested a very large handful of beans, and a second flush is ready to go.  At the top are my zucchini plants.  I gave the two zucchini's a full 9 square feet and they are still growing into all the neighboring plants.  I've already pulled 4 squash, the last two pretty darn big, and there are lots more little ones on there.  Look for zucchini bread in an up coming post!

The First Tomatoes
I have four varieties of tomatoes: Early Girl, Longkeeper, Stupice, and Cherry.  These  are the Stupice - the first plant that's ripening for me.  We've pulled a couple of cherry tomatoes, but this is the first real crop.  The other plants are laden with fruit, but due to the surprisingly cool weather we've been having they are slow to ripen.  Luckily in So Cal we don't typically get a freeze until well into November, so they still have lots of time.  

Bell Peppers
A sweet little baby and a big one in the back.  I have four Bell pepper plants, a Banana pepper, a Hungarian Hot Wax pepper, and a Chocolate pepper plant.  All of them are producing rather prolifically, so I'm trying to figure out how to use them up.  I prefer red bell peppers, so I'm leaving mine on to ripen, except when I need a green one for Cuban Black Beans (holy moly, it may be the only way I ever eat black beans again! I'll be doing a post on them soon).

Carrot Tops
I started these carrots from seed.  B is super excited about them.  They are Nantes if I remember correctly.  You can see my behemoth Paris Cos Romaine lettuce towering over them.

Sweet Basil
I planted three sweet Italian basil in the garden (I have another two in containers on the porch).  They are doing really well.  I hacked them back at the beginning of September and made a huge batch of pesto that I froze and they are about ready to be harvested again.

Thai Basil
I actually haven't used this yet, but it is so pretty with it's deep purple edging that I don't even care.  I am planning on making a big batch of vegan Pho soon, so this will be perfect.

I've got broccoli, broccoli raab, napa cabbage, cilantro, two types of chard, two types of kale, several more lettuces, arugula, and spinach coming up that were all started from seed.  I'll post pictures of those when they've gotten a touch bigger.  Between our CSA and our garden we'll be meeting most of our produce needs which makes me super excited (it also makes me want to rip up all the silly bushes and grass in our yards and plant useful things).  But I'm not bitter, really... one day we will own our own home and I can have a giant garden! Until then I am very pleased with the one B built - good job babe!


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

LOL I love how you titled your comments "brave souls".

And your garden is just gorgeous!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

P.S. I've been wanting to make pho soon too... maybe we'll have it on the same day :o)

half pint pixie said...

Wow, we rent too and I always thought a decent produce garden was beyond our reach, but that looks great! Well done! Very inspiring :)