Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garden Gossip: Growing Season 2011 Kickoff

I'm excited about my first entry of Garden Gossip for growing season 2011! Every year, I chronicle my little suburban garden on this blog, mostly for personal reasons so that I can remember what I did right (and wrong) the previous year. I'm not sure anyone else would find it interesting, but if you do, please read on.

To recap the last two years, I have removed about 1/3 of my backyard lawn in favor of an annual "square foot" vegetable garden and perennial planting beds for growing herbs, berries, and privacy ornamentals. The first year, I focused on making the garden beautiful in the classical French garden aesthetic with cute little useless fences that surrounded the pavers. Unfortunately, the bunnies thought the little fence was a joke and decimated most of what I grew. Same for last year, only worse - I think they told their friends. When I asked my fellow gardeners how they controlled the bunnies, they recommended a pellet gun. Ok, I don't like the rodents, but I don't want to kill them. So this year, I put up an ugly chicken wire fence. My garden isn't nearly as beautiful as last year, but so far it has kept the bunnies munching on my grass rather than my herbs. Success! Now I need to figure out what to do about the chipmunk that eats my strawberries just when they are ripe. Grr...

Other crazy stuff I'm trying this year: I am experimenting with "no till" growing this year. I don't even know if I'm doing it right, but I decided to only dig little holes for my seedlings rather than till up the soil structure that formed last year. And I've used the dried out ornamental grasses from last year as mulch. So far, this practice seems to have produced a lot of volunteer plants that set seed last year - specifically a lot of sage (that stuff grows like crazy) and parsley, but also a few volunteer pumpkins and tomatoes. How cool is that? I also read that dandelions are good for the soil and I knew they were edible, so I am not pulling them from my garden this year. That should be interesting. I grew cherry tomatoes and basil from seed with grow lights and transplanted them after the last frost. I sprinkled lettuce seed early in April, but since I also subscribe to the Green Earth Institute CSA, I have had more lettuce than I know what to do with and the lettuce has set seed already. Oops. Oh, and my composting is totally out of whack, but I know what I'm doing wrong (needs more newspaper, but haven't gotten around to shredding it yet).

My daughter has a little patch of garden set aside for her. I took her to the garden store and told her she could pick out what she wanted. You know what she picked? Flowers. Lots and lots of petunias in every shade of the rainbow. She also picked out pumpkin, watermelon, and strawberry plant. And I picked up some edamame and quinois seeds - that should be interesting. My babysitter asked me how I was going to harvest the quinois for eating - good question. I have no idea. I just thought the drawing was colorful and pretty, so we'll see how that goes.

So, here's to growing season 2011! I hope it is a productive one.

1 comment:

  1. Looking much better than my beginning of my garden area for next year! I'm trying the "lasagne compost" method in the unused back corner of my yard. Not terribly sunny so we'll have to see. It will need to set for a year so I'm planning to try strawbale gardening on top of it this year--much to my neighbors chagrin, and my son's ecstacy knowing diluted human urine is the ideal "fertilizer" for them:).