Friday, March 20, 2009

Mary Mary Quite Contrary....

.... How does your garden grow?

No little bells, nor cockle shells. It'll be radishes and swiss chard all in a row for me!

I've never been much of a green thumb. Gave up on house plants over 20 years ago since I could never keep so much as a Wandering Jew or Spider Plant alive.

But.... I'm going to try to grow some food.

I've had inspiration coming at me from all directions. Some neighbors out on the road have made a large garden that four families will work. I've watched them all winter as they scavenged grass clippings, leaves, straw bales & horse manure from around the neighborhood and they've built 3 enormous raised beds that have been percolating all that organic material all winter.

I truly enjoyed the fresh produce from the farmer's market last season and am craving it again. I found lots of ways to incorporate the freshest, most local stuff into my family's diet. I read an amazing book by Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) that encouraged me to do this. I truly believe that it's the right thing to do to try and not eat so many things that have to travel thousands of miles to make it to my table. No, I'm not giving up imported proscuitto. Nor French wines. I'm just going to try to do a little better. For my family, for our farmers, for the planet.

And I'm starting right here at home. I am actually going to try to learn to garden.

I picked a spot that is close to the house so the dogs can drive off the bunnies and deer. It'll be out of the heat of the sun during the hot Texas afternoons. It's got a water spiggot right nearby. All the ideal requirements for a beginner to have success.

Step one is to build to planter boxes for this. I'm going to make two that are 3' x 5'. This will give me 30 square feet to garden. For vining plants, I am recycling the frame parts from our gazebo we lost in a snowstorm last spring. I am planning on planting:
  • 1 squash plant which is a space hog. It needs 8-9 square feet! But my fantasy is to pick a squash, walk to the grill, throw it on w/ a little olive oil, sip my gin & tonic, and then eat freshly grilled veggies!
  • 6 tomato plants. This is too many for one family to consume, but I am planning on canning!
  • 8 bean vines - my friend Carolyn has a GREAT recipe for canning spicy beans. Maybe I need more
  • 2 cucumber plants
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 snowpea vines
  • 40 beet plants, planted in phases so I will have a new crop coming up every week
  • 80 radish plants, also in phases. They grow quick and maybe will get Bridget interested
(note to self: maybe back off on the beets and radishes a bit - it seems excessive)
  • 5 square feet devoted to lettuces - about 20 plants in all, also to be sown and harvested in phases so I have fresh salad all summer
  • 4-6 Swiss chard plants
  • 1 square foot each for spinach and basil
Come for dinner - sometime in late May - we're having salad!

1 comment:

Shannah said...

Good for you! And thanks for the comment on my "volunteer canteloupes". If you are having a bug problem, I suggest getting some lady bugs. Any local garden center should have them. They do a fine job of taking care of the bug problem. They eat several times their weight in bugs everyday.