Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Back Forty

As I've said before, we have a miniscule yard. It almost doesn't even count as a yard-- I'd be more inclined to call it a patch. However this did not stop us from tearing up more sod and putting in a tiny swath of a vegetable garden.

Since we're inexperienced and were raring to go by April, we decided to grow most of our bounty from seed. Both of us commute to NYC for our jobs which leaves little time beyond the weekend for our gardening efforts. Since it took a whole weekend just to get the sod up, the soil down and the garden ready for planting, we were faced with having to wait another week before we'd get our seeds in. With visions of just-plucked green beans dancing in our heads, we decided the weekend was just too far away. So after a full day's work and a long commute we found ourselves crouching before our garden swath, racing against the setting sun. The seeds went in. It seemed a shame to waste the whole package, so many seeds went in. And since we were working in dusk conditions, we weren't always entirely sure where the seeds were ending up. Let's just say we're going for a very "naturalistic" veggie garden. In no time we were seeing this. . .

Some of our tomatoes plants came from the Mister's grandfather's garden. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he's quite the propagator. He grew these plants from last year's tomatoes. They're already looking quite delicious...

Despite our inexperience, we seem to have a successful vegetable garden. The beans are quite tasty. The tomatoes are ripening nicely. We have some swiss chard that's ready to go, and our beets are really moving along. My only concern is our squash plants. They have the unfortunate fate of being situated right below our dryer vent. Periodically I pick fluff out from between their stems (I know coffee grinds are good, anyone know anything about dryer lint?). Their leaves are treated to a weekly, salon-style blow-out. I've noticed some of the blossoms that were looking so promising have shriveled up. Of course this may have something to do with having 500 squash plants crammed into a 2' square of soil (it's called squash for a reason, right?). So we'll see about that. Meanwhile, everything else looks pretty satisfied. And satisfying. . .

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Like a Moth

I'm taking to this gardening thing like a moth to a Nasturtium leaf.

Somehow June managed to come and go without a single post. Well the blog may have languished, but the garden has not. I've been meaning to dedicate a post to my perennials-- they're near and dear to my heart since I knew them first as mere seeds. I brought them home from the community greenhouse in early May. The Mister kindly cleared some sod for me, and a perennial garden was born.

I consulted my books endeavoring to give each plant its due in terms of space. However, mine was a bumper crop, and though I was happy to share some of the bounty with my sister, I was a little greedy, too. After all, some might not make it, then what? We'd have this bald spot in the yard punctuated by the occasional perennial. Besides, when they first went in they looked like this:

Plenty of room to breathe, to photosynthesize, to grow, etc, etc. There's Foxglove around the perimeter. Hollyhock in the center flanked by Oxeye Daisy and Coneflower. Rounded out by a couple of Yarrow and Dianthus plants front and center, with an Evening Primrose off to the left.

Two months later and it's literally a jungle out there:

I'm delighted, truly. However, I totally underestimated my perennials. They're huge. They're a tangle of branches and leaves. And they're still growing. Have I overdone it? Have I doomed them to a single-season life span with roots all hopelessly knotted together? Is there anything I can do?

I began this blog because I am a novice gardener. I figured it was a great way to record my fledgling efforts while also tapping the internet for guidance and advice. What's happening, though, as I blog away (or even as I don't, as the last month is a testament), is that I'm coming to realize how much I'm taking to this gardening thing. I love it. I love watching seeds become seedlings. And seedlings, plants. I love seeing my garden's daily evolution. I dote over each one. And, as you can see, worry over them, too.