Friday, August 29, 2008

picture this

The top image is the current "organization" of the garden.  The bottom is what I have settled on for the garden plan.  16 raised beds.  The twelve on the sides are 4 x 8.  The center row is two 4x4 and two 4x7.  In the center of the garden is a 10 x 10 square that will be used as a garden patio with outdoor dining table and chairs - eating the vegetables we grow in the garden while sitting in the garden seems kind of fitting.  Total square footage of planting areas will be 472.

On the left side of the picture, there are grapevines already planted - they produce fruit, but not very much.  So I'll be learning about tending grapes.  On the right side, I'll probably be building a fence and planting some raspberries.  I'm also considering adding another fruit tree to the back right corner.

I'm a little nervous about the cost of framing the beds and setting the patio, probably with brick pavers.  But I do have a birthday coming up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a-z, garlic

(Thanks to for the pic)

My original plan was to work the list of vegetables in alphabetical order.  But as I was reading through my book, I learned that garlic should be started in the fall for a summer harvest.  I guess it's sort of like bulb flower - if you want them to bloom in the spring, they need to stew all winter underground.  Makes sense to me.

So I ordered the 2 lb Large Garden Pack, from Filaree Farm in central Washington.  It was pretty spendy at $40 with shipping, but the supply should perpetuate itself so next year (and the year after that, and the year after that...) I won't have to order any.  And this looks like good stuff - it better be good stuff. 

If you're interested in growing your own garlic next year - it's time to order it now.  Many sellers are running out of garlic seed (which really means a clove of garlic).  Mine will be shipped to me in mid-September.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What I'm working with

This first image is a map I created in Google's Sketchup.  It shows a few of the dimension of the lot and the location of the planting beds (in brown).  Our lot is about 32 feet wide by 170 feet long, and the main garden area in back is the last 50 feet of the lot.

Next is the front garden area, where I have planted a fall garden and installed a drip irrigation system.  There are 5 rows, spaced 12-18 inches apart.  I'll write a separate post on this area and what I've got going on.

Next is the "side yard."  It's about 5.5 feet wide, and half of that is covered by a concrete sidewalk.  It is almost always in the shade.  However, our neighbors have offered to let us use the area above the retaining wall next to their house.  It's a little over a foot wide, and faces  south.

Here's a full view of the backyard with the lawn and most of the back garden visible:

Finally, the back garden with my hastily planted garden.  This one also deserves its own post a bit later:  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

a-z. the list (so far)

My only gardening book up to this point is The Edible Garden by Sunset.  It has an alphabetized list of veggies (and fruit, but I'm not dealing with that at this point).  I looked through it tonight - and reviewed some lists I found online - and came up with a list of what I am interested in growing.  It's a long list.

My idea at this point is to do regular "a-z" posts for each of the vegetables as a way to summarize what I learn.  Included will be information regarding different varieties, when to plant, when to harvest, cost of seeds/starters, ideal soil/sun conditions, spacing, and a tentative spot for them in my garden plan.  

Here's the list, about 73 so far: 
artichokes, arugula, asparagus, basil, bay leaves, beans

beets, berries, broccoli,brussel sprouts,cabbage, carrots,cauliflower, cauliflower, celery, chard, chervil, chives, cilantro, collards, corn, cress, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, fava beans, fennel, garlic, gourds, grapes, haricots verts, jerusalem artichoke, kale, lavender, leeks, lettuce, marjoram, melons, mint, mushrooms, mustard, mustard greens, okra, onions, oregano, parsley, parsnips, pears, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radicchio, radishes, rhubarb, rosemary, rutabaga, shallots, spices (nutmeg, cloves) spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tarragon, thyme, tomatillo, tomatoes, turnips, turnips, watermelon, yams, zucchini.

Some of these are purely exploring options, and the list may not be complete.  But it's a start.


Greetings Friends.

I am starting to take my gardening a little bit more seriously, and I think that recording what I am doing will help me keep things straight, as well as providing a resource for other people who are gardening.  

Even though our house is tiny, we have a decent sized yard, with a well-established garden area in the back.  More about that later.  We've lived here for a few months now, and since we moved in fairly late in the garden season, this year was just about throwing some plants in the ground and hoping we get some produce by the end of the growing season.  

Now, with the fall and winter looming, I have plenty of time to be considerate, thoughtful, and well-informed in the planning process for next year.  And this blog will serve as my notebook.