Monday, July 19, 2010

Garden Gossip: 3rd Week in July

I have a garden in my back yard. It was the first thing I did to my back yard when I moved into this house last year. After many years of living in high rises and container gardening, I selected this house in large part because of its south facing rear yard where I could grow my own organic food.

Last year, I planted a little bit of everything: corn, tomatos, squash, pumpkin, watermellon, blackberry, raspberry, and many types of herbs. I had some successes, but since I was pregnant and largely ignored the garden, I had a lot of failures. We had a cherry tomato plant that produced a lot of little tomatoes that my then 2 year old daughter loved picking and eating. And the raspberry bushes did well. The rest got eaten by pests or disease.

This year, I've been more attentive to its needs. So that's where this entry comes in. I'd like to record weekly the successes and failures in my garden adventure.

Successes so far:

1. green beans are producing well. We just ate them last night with dinner and even my daughter ate them (huge success!). I got the seeds from Stokes. They came inoculated with some chemical. That probably kills my organic cred right there. But if it weren't for the f$*)#g rabbit my green beans would be thriving! I put a bird net around the whole crop for a couple of weeks to keep out the rabbit, but I just removed it yesterday when the japanese beetles were getting it and I couldn't reach them because of the net. But now, the rabbit is back. Many times a day I go out my back door thinking to myself "kill the rabbit!" But of course I can't. Won't. Would if I could. Blood meal doesn't work. Apparently he isn't afraid of the smell of blood as the manufacturer suggests. In the fall, I will put chicken wire around the base of my backyard fence. I may even have to fence out the garden itself temporarily this year. But yuck. I just like to keep my little French garden aesthetically pleasing and a huge green fence doesn't work with that.

2. tomatoes. so far, so good. I planted mostly cherry tomato varieties because my daughter loves them and I get a lot of large tomatoes through my CSA (community supported agriculture) share at the Green Earth Institute. They're all still green, but there are a lot of them. Fingers crossed on those.

Failures so far.

1. berry bushes. the birds got all my fruit this year. I put out two bird feeders, which has created a virtual bird sanctuary in my yard, but they ate all of my blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. I don't know what's going on with my strawberries, but I don't even have buds on those. I didn't keep a close eye on the new fruit and the birds beat me to it. Next year, I'll put up a net. I also transplanted them this year to a new garden bed, so I know that affected their production quite a bit. My daughter loves blackberries and my husband loves raspberries, so they need to reap some of the rewards next year.

Fate unknown so far.

1. asparagus. roots were planted this spring and something (likely that damn bunny, chipmunk, or the various squirrels we have) ate the first shoots, but the second round seems to be staying around for a while. I planted three different beds in different areas of the garden and 2 of the 3 are doing well. In the failed one, something dug up most of the roots, so it'll be hard to recover from that.

So that is my first entry of Garden Gossip. I hope this will evolve into something useful for a wider audience than myself, but for now I'm fine with having it be my own garden record.

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