Welcome To My 2011 Garden-stravaganza

May 23rd, 2011 - filed under: The Farm » Flora

5 weeks ago, all this was but a tiny sprout in a barren sea of bark and brown.

I’ve yet to post any real pictures from the micro-farm this year, what with all the other goings-on around here. But this past weekend I finally transplanted the last of my indoor starts, so I thought I’d snap a few photos to share. We’re still in the process of tidying up after the big remodel, so you’ll have to forgive my messy black plastic. Eek! My manners . . . Many apologies.

This year I’ve planted four beds, each a mix of veggies and flowers that act as garden companions in a mutually beneficial symbiosis. We’ve got:

The bed at the northwest edge is totally blowing up! Ain’t it beautiful? Though I really need to thin out that kale . . . The bed includes snap peas, lacinto/dino kale, red russian curly kale, 6 butternut squashes, dill, calendula, and borage. I’ll late-start some broccoli for fall as well.

The northeast bed is less impressive – for now. There are 9 mounds and each contains a vining veggie – 4 pumpkins, 3 acorn squash, and 2 watermelons! Each mound is encircles by a ring of cosmos. There’s also chamomile planted between the mounds, though I’m afraid it’s not going to take. On the far side along the fence are a few pickling cucumbers.

The southeast bed is my baby. My tomatoes! This year I’m growing beefsteaks, a white dwarf variety, and a big red heirloom. Interspersed are buds of basil and zinnias. The perimeter is spinach, save for the far side along the fence, which houses slicing cucumbers.

The southwest bed is doing very well too. There’s a lot going on in here: snap peas, 3 varieties of beets, 2 types of swiss chard, walla walla onions, bok choy, dill, and calendula. There will be mid-season additions of fall cabbage and possibly cauliflower.

A tiny tomato just transplanted – cross your fingers for it’s survival!

I planted the bok choys late and they’re just beginning to fill out, flanked by a thin line of walla walla sweet onions.

Calendula and dill are both powerful players for attracting beneficial insects.

And this is what I do every single morning – strap Waits to my back and go “thin out” the seedlings. Can you guess why . . . ?

I love spring time!

What about you my dears? I know some of you have some pretty impressive plots that put my mini food meadow to shame, and I know some of you are taking your very first stab at the world of “growing your own”, and I know a bunch of you are somewhere in between! So tell me friends: How are your garden’s growing?

  • natashia

    beautiful, beautiful! Here in south africa we are still in the thick of winter, but i’m so looking forward to spring to get my veggie garden back up and running properly. must start planning :)

  • natashia

    okay, not really ‘the thick of winter’, more like the end of autumn, but it feels like winter!

  • Meredith

    Ah, beets, I simply adore them! In fact I had a dream about them last night, that’s how much I love them. Needless to say I always go a little crazy with beets in my garden, but I also planted cucumber, arugula, Key Lime lettuce, carrots, kale, radishes, roma tomatoes, Slicers, and an heirloom variety called Furry Yellow Hogs (can’t wait to see these guys!) There’s really nothing like going out to your garden and seeing food be made in the most natural way possible!

  • Liz

    My garden is exploding with several types of kale, collards, romaine, onions, spinach, and radishes. In a couple weeks we will transition and plant tomatoes, several types of hot and sweet peppers, and squashes, which are all growing in their individual pots at present.

  • http://czechvegan.wordpress.com Lenna

    Oh, I wish I had such a huge garden as you have! It must be amzing to have your own produce :)

  • http://www.workingouteatingin.com Anastasia

    What an amazing garden! My husband & I *just* planted some seeds a little over a week ago and already have big seedlings! I’m so excited! We went small since this was our first garden attempt, but one day I hope to have something like you’ve made!

  • Carey

    I live at 8000′in the Colorado Mountains. My garden starts indoors in late March/early April under lights, giving me the longer growing season I need for most veggies. I tend to only grow short maturation veggies and many that were developed for northern climates with a shorter growing season. In a week or so everything will be transplanted outdoors and will continue to grow until late August/early September..at which point things begin to wind down pretty quick for this altitude. But I do get some tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, broccoli and herbs to enjoy! I would love to have a greenhouse so I could grow even longer.

  • Selina

    Your gardens look fantastic!

    We are attempting our first garden this year; we went pretty small, but I’m excited about it! Although it has really turned into my husband’s “baby”, which is funny. Where we are, our starts are still inside, but they are growing well! We’ll see how it all turns out, but even if nothing grows, I’ll be able to get fresh berries and vegetables from my mom and dad’s enormous gardens! So no pressure! :)

  • http://www.sarathomas.etsy.com sara thomas

    i am super jealous! you are growing SO much! maybe next year i can do a few more things, too. i am afraid i won’t be able to keep up if we do too much =(

    so far my strawberries are happily growing in hanging platers in the front yard and i have a lovely bowl of lettuce that serves as the center piece for my little vintage cafe table on the front porch. my grandfather is working on a raised bed for us, hopefully will be done soon! we’re also planning to put in some berry bushes & fruit trees this year. however, we are also in the middle of remodeling our kitchen, so we may not be able to accomplish everything we hope!

  • Sandra

    My garden isn’t going so well…I started seedlings indoors of tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, and cucumbers. They are all a little on the small side (compared to last year) and now everything but the tomatoes look like they are dying! It’s been so wet in Michigan I haven’t been able to use the rototiller on my garden. I hope I can salvage my garden :(

  • Sierra Dawn

    Oh exciting! I can’t wait to see the S.E. bed right around mid summer, it’s going to be beautiful. My garden is doing pretty well, despite the cold spring Seattle is having this year. I did have a casualty already:( My 3 year old mango tree died! I put him outside too early this year, waaaaah!!!

  • http://fromscratch-blog.blogspot.com Amy

    I planted strawberries, three varieties of tomatoes, two varieties of squash, and both slicing and pickling cucumbers. I’d love to plant more, but we have limited space and this is our first garden. So far everything is going well (I think). We had to quickly bunny-proof the garden as our local rabbits really enjoyed my strawberry plants!

    I have two questions for you, though:

    1. I know you start some (if not all) of your seeds inside. How do you keep your dogs from getting to them? We have two cats, whom I’m pretty sure would mess everything up!

    2. How do you know how much to water your plants? I’m terrified of doing it “wrong”!

  • TeniseRae

    Let’s see….my tomatoes are a little small this year but it looks as if they’ll be alright. It’s just been a real wet spring, ya know? The radishes are huge! They look like red potatoes they’re so big. Lettuce is going off! Had our first salad a few days ago. Damn good! Snap peas are doing great. Bell peppers…not so much. Lemon cucumbers were chowed on by slugs…at least, I think they were slugs. Carrots don’t seem to be coming up…maybe one or two. :-\ Strawberries are doin great. Acorn squash (that I started from seed I harvested last year) are doin’ pretty darn good. Little slow goin’ but with all the slugs they’re holdin’ up rather well. Onions and chives look as though they’re doing good. Broccoli is also goin’ a little slow right now. They’ve just recently kinda taken off. I still have hope. The corn is not sprouting at all. :( My blueberries aren’t growing, but they’re not dying either. The dill weed isn’t coming up and my basil fried when I put the sprouts outside to harden up. Gotta find somewhere I can just direct seed those guys. Just read they don’t like being transplanted anyway. It was prolly for the best I suppose. :D
    Oh yeah, and I went a little overboard with sunflowers this year. All kinds. So my yard had sunflowers sprouts everywhere…..and I mean, EVERYWHERE! I’m hoping the real big guys turn out cause I so want to make sunflower seed granola bars. Mmmmm…
    I think that’s about it. Oh…asparagus just didn’t come up at all….just like the hostas and dahlias I planted. And the artichoke I just got in the ground is taking off!!!
    Okay…I think THAT’S it. Heheheh

  • TeniseRae

    OH! My irises are just now getting ready to bloom, and my vibrant yellow azalea hybrid is blooming like crazy and fills my whole yard with this wonderfully sweet fragrance. I just love it. :D

  • http://nerdfins.blogspot.com Nerdfins

    I love your garden! I just started container gardening in my apartment, and I planted a sweet red bell pepper plant in a 5 gallon pot. Unfortunately I had to bring it inside as my balcony doesn’t get enough sunlight, but I use an LED grow light on it. I also plan on planting small carrots, mint, and zinnias.

  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com Monika {windycityvegan}

    Beets! I completely forgot to plant beets this year. Your beds look great, and I love reading about everyone elses’ gardens.

    Your post inspired me to get off my duff and post my own update, which is here .

    Happy gardening, everyone!

  • http://sweetness-light.tumblr.com Natasja

    Does anyone have any links/tips for Noob gardeners who want to set up a plot for Spring?
    we are in the NZ winter and my parents live on a farmlet (pigs & sheep, and a big compost heap) so I need to know what to do to get a plot of grassy area ready for planting.
    ANY help appreciated!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    I love hearing about everybody’s gardens in all the different locations across the world! So neat, how it’s a little different for each of us.

    @ Amy – 1) I keep my seedlings on a custom-built table that’s quite high, so my dogs can’t get at it. Not sure it would be kitty safe though. 2) Seedlings need more water, especially when they’re in little cups (that dry out quickly) I try to water every day – just a little! – or every other day at least. But you can listen to them and they’ll tell you when they need water. Give a splash at the first sign of droopiness. =)

    @ Natasja – This looks hopeful! http://urbanpantry.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/GrowingYourOwn_Resources.pdf

  • Dani

    Why zinnias? Just for looks? Or to attract butterflies? Or do they have another beneficial role?

  • Dani

    And how do you know when/how much to “thin out”?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Dani – Zinnias attract butterflies and beneficial wasps, and they also repel pests.

    I thin out just by feel, but if you look on the back of seed packs there will instructions for spacing. When you plant the seeds, you sow more than you’ll actually need. Then you thin out to the proper spacing for whatever that particular plant needs.

  • Kerstin

    I’m curious to know what to do to preserve your harvest every year (: Do you can and dehydrate?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Kerstin – I’ve done canning and dehydrating, but my favorite is fermenting! I’ll be writing a lot more about preservation methods this year.