October 27, 2011

a second spring

Thanks to the unbelievably wonderful weather we've seen lately (let's just not mention the lack of rain, shall we?), the garden we have so lovingly revamped in the backyard is beginning to grow. In 56-90 days, we'll (hopefully) have produce from our own backyard on our own plates.

Two weekends ago, we buckled down and cleaned up the backyard. After coming up with a general game plan for the gardens, we settled on a few things, wants and needs:
• We want the garden to look good
• We need to keep the cats out
• We need a way to grow plants from seed, as well as places for transplants
• We want to grow foods we enjoy

In Fat Man (the original 4x8 that Ryan built), we planted seeds for leafy greens: kale, collards, swiss chard, and spinach. I kept it simple so that trimming the greens would be easy, should they all come in at once. We also happen to love all these greens. A win-win, I believe that's called.

In the Little Boys, our two low-to-the-ground 4x10s, we have rows of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. There are two fall tomatoes (an heirloom cherry variety and romas; we'll see how they do) as well as our lone survivors of the summer—the pepper plants. They're happily producing now, with many promising blooms.

In the 4x12 Devers Bed, we've got a row of Chinese cabbage transplants (I think they're 'Jai Choi,' but I can't find any confirming evidence... they hailed from the Natural Gardener with the rest of our transplants). I also am giving strawberries one more shot—two transplants' worth. Finally, I've planted 15 cloves of organic garlic, since the sign at Natural Gardner convinced me that garlic is "exceedingly easy" to grow in Texas.

And last but not least, in our two 4x4s, I planted seeds for lettuces, carrots, kohlrabi, beets, and turnips. Ryan built the cat-proofing cages with 1x2 cedar frames covered in wire fencing.

All of the large beds are covered in pine straw, mainly to discourage the cats (they don't like walking on it). Side benefits include being able to hide the soaker hoses and acting as a mulch-like barrier.

We also have a little herb garden with basil, rosemary, curly parsley, sage, thyme, and mint. All the herbs are currently happy, so I'm trying to keep them that way.

So far, the fall garden is bringing happiness to our everyday lives. I'm looking forward to some home-grown greens, and have made a plan to shop at the farmer's market weekly for extras.