Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vegetable Garden Tour

My vegetable garden had a somewhat rocky start this year as I decided that I was not going to buy any plants this year - they would all be started by seed by me. I mostly was able to accomplish that. The following are pictures from ten days ago and the same area this morning so you can see the growth over that time.

The tomato bed I built last year was filled with compost and topped off with compost/soil from another bed. I planted the tomatoes on the far end at the end of April and had the rest planted by the middle of May. Last year I had my tomatoes planted by the middle of May and they did great. I use cold hardier varieties, like Early Girl, so they don't even seem to be slowed down by the cool weather.
So many things want to eat my peppers this year - and they eat them down to a stick in the ground - if I'm lucky they leave that much. For the slugs I tried lava pebbles, cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, sand, and mullein leaves. So far the mullein leaves have worked the best. I put a little skirt around each plant with the mullein leaves facing up. The slugs do not like to crawl across it because of all the hairs on the leaves. One did cross and died a dried-up horrible death on the pepper plant it reached -- even though it was quite moist that day.
For the rabbits I have been trying coffee grounds. I thought if they could throw off the tracking capabilities of trained drug dogs, they might work with our mutant rabbits. So far, so good. It has even worked on the beets that they have been mowing down.
The squash is hidden somewhere behind all this garlic. My squash falls victim to the squash borer every year, so this year I threw every bit of companion planting deterrent that I could get my hands on: icicle radishes, borage, garlic, onions, and nasturtiums. Something has got to work, right?
This bed was built last year for growing pumpkins. Instead of crop rotation, I am just going to switch out the soil every so often as this will be the only bed big enough to house the big squash. What I have labeled as muskmelon actually turned out to be pickling cucumbers. Where did I plant that muskmelon??
I'm hoping that the plants that I have labeled as muskmelon in this picture really are muskmelon*! You can see that my leek bed has gotten really full.
*Nope. Pickling cucumbers.
These are just two extra shots of my vegetable garden ten days ago. I have had to use a lot of chicken wire this year due to the evil bunnies. But I think I may have a better solution: higher raised beds!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GBBD - June 2010

Nothing seems to be cooperating with me for this Garden Blogger Bloom Day post. It was raining when I wanted to take pictures and Blogger was having issues with uploading the pictures. And now, as I am writing this, the sun has finally come out after days of hiding and I can't seem to type. Ugh.

But I did it! A GBBD post on GBBD! Yay. I am trying something new this month. Instead of writing the post and plopping the pictures into it, I am using hovertext to label -- so, if you'd like to know more about a picture, just hover!

As always, thanks so much to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for creating and hosting GBBD. If you'd like to see more blooms and maybe even share in the fun, go to her June post and include your blooms!

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Bad Economy Is Good For Something

I remember when I moved here that I thought that there should be more gardens in town. Since I have been gardening, I noticed an increase in the number of flower gardens in our neighborhood, and eventually, all over town. I really like to think that I made it look so appealing that people couldn't help themselves, but I have this feeling that it is more than that.

Vegetable gardens aren't normally popular due to their tendency to be non-aesthetic. However, over the last two years, I have witnessed a drastic increase in the number of backyard vegetable gardens. I'm pretty sure that thanks to our lousy economy and growing concern over the safety of our food sources, more people are saying "to heck" with looks and "hurray" to less mowing and more cheap, healthy produce. And I couldn't be happier. I am an advocate of self-sufficiency and producing locally, and what could be more local than food from your own backyard?

And these backyard gardeners must be realizing the true value in it as our city is poised to change a very old law that restricts backyard production. Tomorrow the city council will be hearing a report and proposal of a change in the livestock ordinance to allow urban chicken keeping!

I am so stoked! Although I may be a long way from actually keeping my own hens, I am excited that it could finally become a possibility for me and others. Tonight, I am emailing all the council members to let them know how I feel about this proposal. I have a good feeling about it passing. We were told that it wouldn't matter if we went to the council to get them to say no to Walmart, but 5 years later, we still are Walmart-free. And you know what? Our town didn't go bankrupt because of it.

If you have any posts/stories or websites that you think might help our cause, please leave the address in your comment. Although I would like anything you could give me before I send out the emails tonight, the council isn't scheduled to vote on it until the 22nd, so you can keep sending me info even after tonight. Every little bit helps :)

Wish us luck!!