Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Nitty Gritty Garden Post (Here's To You, MJ!)

The tomato jungle (that's our shed in the background)
Despite the fact that we live right smack dab in the middle of suburbia, I am trying to squeeze in a little piece of 'farm' into my yard. My sister keeps shaking her head at me and telling me to just go and get a farm. And believe me, I wouldn't complain. Although I do know enough about farming to know it is very hard work. I think what would suit me is to have a rambling farm house, with a rambling garden and enough space  for the kids to run free. I would have more chickens, a few fruit trees and maybe convince Jeff to spring for a goat or a cow. Until that happens...I'll make the most of the space we have on our spacious .19 acre Franch. :) 

My main garden

My main garden is about 11' by 50'. It is along the south(ish) side of the house. We actually moved the side fence up to accommodate it. The soil was pretty decent and mainly rock free when I started. However, I have noticed a huge difference over the last 4 years by adding compost and tons of grass clippings. My neighbor doesn't treat his lawn, and he dumps his grass clippings over the fence for me. He also brings me magnolia petals in the spring and leaves in the fall. I use them as mulch to keep weeds down and add nitrogen to the soil. He also brings me scraps for the chickens and the compost pile. Nice neighbors bring you their rotting food, didn't you know? This year I have been able to include compost that includes chicken manure and I think it has made a big difference.

I have three rhubarb plants in a raised bed. They are very productive.

The last two years I have been researching companion planting which has been helpful. Basically, it is about what crops grow well together, even benefit each other. Some plants can repel each other and stunt their growth. Last year, I planted lettuce under a trellis in early spring. Right around last frost, I planted cucumbers. By the time it got a little hot for the lettuce, the cukes were tall enough to provide some shade. I got a ton of lettuce and the cukes did well too. There is a book called Carrots Love Tomatoes that is really good for this. 
The garden (looking out toward the street and my neighbor's giant motor home)

I also recently planted 3 blueberry bushes along the side of the chicken run. I don't think they'll produce this year, but I was able to find nice tall bushes from our CSA for $10 a piece! Along the other side of the yard I dug a bed this spring but it doesn't get a lot of sun so I think I'll stick with greens and flowers over there. 

Oh, look! Chickens! They make sure to trim anything that grows near the fence except of course the poisonous pokeweed that grows everywhere around here (on right). 

This is my lame-o side 'garden'. You can't really tell but there are flowers on the left near the compost bin, and unplanted on the other side. Next year...
There you go...probably way more than you wanted to know. ;) 


Phillip and Rachel said...

Your garden brings a tear to my eye. When are you moving to VA so I can raid your garden daily :)

Merry Jo said...

I LOVE IT!!! I sooooo wish for a sunny patch that I could go crazy in! (although I think I've already got the crazy part down... :) ) Thanks for the peek at your franch. :) Yu mentioned a compost bin... I've been wanting to do a worm compost bin, but until I have a "real" garden, I wouldn't know what to do with all the "castings"... :) Miss you like crazy!

Terry and Linda said...

WOW! You have an amazing green thumb!!!