I joined the gardening community not too long ago, and it's been inspiring me to get back on track with my garden. I've been sharing our adventures with my facebook friends, but I thought I should share here on lj too.
Right now we live in Western North Carolina, in a mobile home that's on roughly a half acre lot. We're using the smaller side of our yard for our garden. I've tried and failed at gardening several times over the years, but I've really tried to buckle down this past year. We're currently in the process of trying to buy a home. Our dream has always been to have a self-sufficient farm, so it was really important to me that I harvest something besides way too many radishes (my only success until now). Our children are old enough that they've been a big help, both in the garden and in making sure I get out there regularly. I haven't been working this past year and we unschool, so we've had a lot of time to devote to it.
We started planting right at the end of March, and then the last snow hit on April 1. We covered the onion bed and the salad bed, but the salad bed didn't make it. It took me three more tries, with inside germination, before we finally got that salad bed to take. Our tomatoes and peppers are pretty late, but we've had plenty of lettuce. I also learned to stagger my lettuce planting from now on, because we're running out just as the cherry tomatoes started ripening.
The only really good picture from the snow.
I have a little kinship with turtles, so my husband is making this meditation seat for me out of leftover tiles. He'll eventually finish her up and add some water with the blue tile up in the corner.
Josh built a bamboo fence for our rose garden. Those roses were the last gift from my mother, for our wedding in May of 2008.
This was our second year with a compost pile, and I think that really made a difference in our productivity.
This started as a place for the beans, but only the sunflowers really took. I also planted some strawberries somewhere in there, but I got busy and it got overgrown with weeds, and I'm not sure if they ever came up.
The sunflowers are in the back, and another flower I don't know in the flat there. My sister brought these for us.
The onion bed.
I've never even really liked onions, but my ultimate goal was to provide both salad and salsa makings.
A little garden lizard we had, but I think one of the neighborhood's stray cats ate him. We didn't have very good luck with critters this year.
Eden begged for a wheelbarrow, but she had to pull Ivy around for a week before we could use it for the garden.
In May, we had some pretty hard rains that mucked up the garden and killed my second or third attempt at the salad bed.
The herbs I planted didn't take, but we started germinating in the house while it stayed rainy.
The week of our anniversary, our marriage-roses were about to bloom.
The sunflowers were tall but overrun with weeds.
The 'salad bed'.
The onion bed was doing all right, though a few bulbs washed out.
We found volunteer mystery squashes that we assume came from the compost.
A month after we began our reclamation process, I've got herb beds laid out.
And cilantro is growing. I'll need to stagger that better next year, too.
The rose/herb bed is almost laid out.
Josh had one tiny bean plant growing.
A cluster of lettuces. Me and the girls filled up some crystals with sunshine and reiki and set them out in the plots to encourage them to grow.
About to thin and transplant lettuces. The onion bed is on its way to becoming the squash bed.
Some more hard rains knocked around our onions, but we hilled them back up and threw some humus on them.
My three garlic plants did well. That middle one started wilting early, though.
My youngest, Ivy, after our humus adventure. She loves that stuff.
The girls measure our squash. We tried to train the big one out of the plot.
We weren't sure if it was acorn or pumpkin at this point. It was acorn.
I got overzealous and harvested that first garlic & a good sized onion for some salsa.
The lettuces and tomatoes finally took, though this wasn't until the end of June. We found some volunteer tomatoes in the compost pile and transplanted those over. They did much better in the sun.
First harvest! The onion is on the left, and the garlic's on the right.
Eden dug The Best Hole Ever. She was seriously proud of this hole.
A friend gave me a recipe for stuffed squash blossoms. You use the male flowers, so we had a little lesson on telling males from females. This is a female.
Male flower. These are what we harvested.
Ivy helped me transplant our mint.
The sunflowers started blooming.
The squash only kept getting bigger.
Another visitor. Unfortunately, we apparently squished him and his buddies when we stood on the log to water the salad bed. We felt pretty bad once we found them.
More harvesting, and you see where the girls liked to balance...and the hole the frogs apparently lived in.
The very first of the salad harvest.
Josh, harvesting our biggest squash.
They will eat all this stuff up if they help pick it. (Dad too.) Hooray!
The lettuces finally started filling out.
Josh caged up the bigger tomatoes with extra bamboo.
My least favorite of the four varieties we planted.
We bought the girls their very own cherry tomato plant, since none of their seeds took either. I promised Eden that she would finally love tomatoes if she'd just try one sun-warmed from the vine.
I also bought myself a few pepper plants, since I never had luck with those either.
Unfortunately, something started attacking my squashes.
We did get a cabinet full, and plenty to share with friends and family.
We had both bugs and mold. I had planted a yellow squash, too, but they hit during a very busy week and I didn't get to them in time. They were eaten up fast.
The cat that insisted she was ours. This is one of the neighborhood strays, and my girls finally named her Babyface and somehow we're apparently keeping her. Oh, and she's apparently pregnant. We'll be fixing that possibility again as soon as she has them.
The flowers that my sister gave me, which neither of us know what they are.
Everything got enormous. I pinched the lettuces to try to keep them longer, but I really didn't mess with the tomatoes.
This is the lettuce we got the most of.
Those spiky ones got up to my hip before bolting.
I like the redder leafed one best (top). I think they were some sort of buttercrunch, or at least the bottom one.
My bell peppers are late to the game, but trucking along.
Within a week or two of finding those bugs, the squashes were demolished. We picked some off by hand, but we had some other things going on and pretty much had to leave it.
I'm just glad my garlic is okay.
Ew! Pretty sure these are squash bugs, and we had some caterpillar problems, too.
We're looking forward to sunflower seeds.
Our mint is happy to be in the ground.
We have white as well as red roses. That bag in the back holds coffee grounds from Starbucks, which I get a good deal of since my sister works there. Josh also talked me into using a bit of Miracle Grow. I'm hoping that doesn't shoot down my organic philosophy.
A few of the onions. A lot of them stayed pretty small, thanks to those squashes. Next time I'll make an extra plot for volunteers. We did get a decent enough harvest for a family that is only venturing into onion-eating.
We had many nights of dinner that looked like this! I wish my carrots had taken, but it's not bad for our first successful try.