Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Post work day

We had a good day in the garden on Saturday.  We put out two of the three new large beds and moved two of the smaller beds close to the greenhouse shed and doubled them up.  Now the smaller bed is sporting our herbs and one of the larger ones is ready for planting.  I still have two beds to fill but no dirt to fill them with.  I'm hoping one of our supporters will come through with some good dirt for us.  I figure each bed needs about 64 cubic feet of dirt.  If anyone near Augusta can help, email me.

In this photo you can see the layout of our garden.  In the foreground to the right is our tomato bed.  I'm waiting on the heirloom tomatoes and then I will cover them until they start blooming.  Those huge hoops are available from Gardener's Supply.   The bed just to the left is the last of our collards (under curtains to forestall the cabbage worms we got last year). The part not under curtains is potatoes. Next to it you see the garlic.  It's almost ready.  I'm just waiting for the leaves to die back a bit.  You can tell the two new beds by their bright color.  These are cedar and weather nicely to the gray you see on the other beds.  So many people have asked me where I got these fine beds.  I ordered them from Earth Easy and I love 'em! The remaining covered bed is our cabbage, which, due to our warmer-than-normal-temps is beginning to bolt.  One bed has flower seedlings and the bed in the very back will be our salad bed with lettuce, radishes, etc. 

You gotta love spring!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I know snow is still falling in places and sorry as I am for y'all, it is spring here in Georgia! We are so excited to be at the beginning of a new season.  We are planning some changes: we'll double up our four smaller beds and move them so we can add three new large double beds.  That will give us a total of 9 large (4' X 8') beds and two small (4' X 4') beds.  We have one of the large beds already planted this year with flowers.  We're hoping to have cut flowers for when we have visitors here.  I know we planted a little early, but I do believe Mother Nature is going to cooperate with us.  (If she doesn't and we get a frost, I have the means to turn the beds into little hot houses with plastic.)

I'm including some pictures.  This one shows Diane, our garden angel, who has watched over our garden all winter.  She's done a good job if the bountiful harvests of collards are any reflection of her work.  Also, the next photo shows our garlic.  It's a common soft neck variety and is finishing up setting its bulbs.  Here in Georgia we plant anytime after September for a spring or summer harvest.  We'll harvest when the leaves are a little more brown.  I'm thinking that will be right around the time my grandchild is expected: mid-April!

Last spring we planted collards in March and the only one who got to eat them were the cabbage worms!  So this year we planted them in February and I've covered them with my favorite IKEA curtains to mature safely. Truth be told, I'll be glad to see the last of the collards for the summer.  I crave fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and all the rest summer promises.  Among the changes this year is that I'm getting out ahead of the grasshoppers and beetles with diatomaceous earth.  And my squash will go undercover (IKEA curtains) until the flowers set and I need to uncover them for pollination.  Also, I'll plant fewer herbs, just to make room for more veggies.

I am also thinking long-range.  This Saturday we'll have a garden work day and I will plant five kiwi plants.  That's right, kiwis!  The very same ones you buy for a buck apiece!  These have a vining habit and I will train them to grow along our back fence.  In about five years we'll be eating our own kiwis.

There is so much desire - dare I say lust - for sweet corn that I am going to devote a whole bed to it and hope for the best.  A local earth mother is providing us with some heirloom tomato plants, which thrills me. We'll go for the gusto with the squash again and all the usual suspects will put an an appearance.  Our asparagus from last year has thrived and so I am inspired to fill out half a bed with more.  Time passes so quickly, we'll be enjoying fresh, beautiful stalks before we turn around.

To the right is the first bloom of spring! Look carefully.  In the center of the photo is a single chamomile flower.  I have five volunteer chamomiles this spring.  (All in pots as they happened to volunteer in the children's strawberry garden.) This one is where the original plant was last year and I am so happy to have it back again.  What a delightful aroma the leaves have and the flowers are so pretty and make such great tea.

We'll also be eating blueberries this year.  We planted the bushes last year and we lost one but the two that are left are covered in baby berries.  We also have two blackberry bushes that offer promise.

And one last time I'd like to thank everyone at Women in Philanthropy in Augusta for giving us the grant that started all this madness!  What a great group they are and their faith in our dream made all this possible.  We're on our own now with the garden and any expense it incurs, but we are confident that it is as self-sustaining as possible. 

Stay tuned.  Much more to come!