Posts Tagged With: vegetables

We shared some skills!

Thanks to everyone who came to the Irvington Skill Share ‘Feast’ival today! I talked to a lot of great people–so many, in fact, my voice is demanding a cup of tea and a rest.

For those who want it, I’ve attached my edible landscaping handout to this post. Edible landscaping handout compressed

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Notes from the Vegetable Garden

I was out watering in the front garden this week, which afforded me time to review my kitchen garden. As a side note, we're well into a drought here. I am a super tough-love gardener; my plants get no coddling, no fertilizer except compost, and precious little additional water. If I'm watering the shrubs and fruit trees, you know things must be extra crispy. 

So I was watering the tomatoes, and I started thinking about what to do differently next year. This is a common mental state for me in the garden; for an activity that is so sensual and grounded in the moment, gardening requires a whole lot of time roaming through the fourth dimension and trying to extrapolate what the garden might be doing in two months or two years. And of course, next year is always shiny and clean, with no crazy weeds or drought or squash bugs in it–yet, anyway.

Things that I learned this year:
Keep the cherry tomatoes, lose the pear tomatoes. I love being able to pick the cherry tomatoes off the vine and eat them on the way into the house.

Don't bother with any other tomatoes except the cherries and the paste tomatoes. I know that's heresy in Indiana, but we eat a ton of the cherries and use the paste tomatoes for cooking. I often forget the slicing tomatoes. So I'll use that extra space for something else.

Don't use the tomato spirals with the cherry tomatoes. The tomato spirals are a support structure that require you prune the tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes swamped them early in the season. I'll use the spirals for the paste tomatoes and figure something else out for the cherries. Plant them a bit farther back from the walk.

Fewer green beans, more edamame.

Keep the zinnias; I like the color and they draw in insects.

Keep the leeks, but maybe buy transplants next year instead of starting my own.

Move the vining stuff to the back where I have trellises. I just allowed pumpkin volunteers to do their own thing in the back this year, so I had pumpkins in July and none now that we're moving into fall. 

Love the Mini Red Pony watermelon. Move it to the back trellises next year. 

Plant salad crops next year. I held off for a few years because we got good salad greens from Farm Fresh Delivery, but lettuce and spinach are so easy it's a shame not to grow them. 

More peas, plant them earlier, and then get the cucumbers in earlier.

Keep trying on the carrots. Good carrots require loose, sweet soil, and I'm just not there yet. But I'll dump more (chicken poop) compost into the bed this winter and use the broadfork, so that should help.

Keep clearing out the spaces around the fruit trees. The nasturtiums I planted under them this year did not do well, so try something else next spring. Plant daffodils around them this fall.

And finally, acknowledge that the lovely, immaculate French-style potager I envision in the front yard is simply not going to happen. Maintaining that beautiful picture requires a lot more time than I have to devote. My veg garden is still beautiful in its exuberance, so I'll just go with that more country, less formal style.

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Must post…must post!

Which is what I’ve been saying to myself for three weeks. I was running sound for West Side Story at Civic Theatre for three weeks, which effectively took up all of my free time. But I’ve been theatre free for a week and racing to fit farmstead chores in.

We had a gorgeous March, which has been followed by a (so far) rainy, cold, blustery April. A few days with the Spotts crew have called for long underwear, two pairs of wool socks, and about six layers of clothes, but mostly we’ve been fine. I’m planting lots of vegetable gardens for customers this year, which naturally makes me think of my own garden…
Peas and potatoes are in the ground. I’m forgoing lettuce crops this year, mostly because Gin and I get such great salad greens from Farm Fresh Delivery, and theirs are all clean and stuff. I’ll make up for my skimpy spring garden by planting in midsummer for a fall harvest–I’ve read that spinach, carrots, and beets are all actually sweeter if you leave them in the ground for a few frosts, so I’d like to try that this year.
The front garden expansion is making slow progress. I’ve planted two dwarf apple trees and a dwarf cherry. Right now they look more like fruit sticks than fruit trees; they are unbranched whips, and the stakes I used are taller than they are. My new blueberry is in, as is the Nero Aronia. I still need to plant the goumi.
In an embarrassing twist, the lovely large shrub that I thought was a blueberry revealed itself to be a thrice-damned honeysuckle. So I cut it to the ground and grubbed the roots out. I will replace it with a potted Northland blueberry as soon as the weather warms up a bit.
My giant load of compost is due to come in next week. I’m hitting up all my friends and relations for their stacks of newspaper so I can prepare the front yard vegetable bed the lazy way: I’ll dump a thick layer of wet newspaper on the grass to smother it, then put compost on top. I’ll plant transplants by shoving the compost aside, cutting a hole in the paper, digging a hole in the ground, and filling with compost.
On the chicken front, Mr. Dan and Mr. Roy are scouting for additional recycled materials for the house and brainstorming engineering designs. So far I have a very nice coop door I found on the side of the road, a bunch of pine panelling Amy F and her husband Kirk donated to the cause, and the disassembled pieces of the Christy and Tim’s girls’ playset. Thanks to their generosity, my chickens will be the only ones in America with a pop-hole gangplank made out of a climbing wall.
Right now, Gabby is glaring at Ginny for daring to bathe her, Ace is attempting to launch stealth attacks on my bedroom to harrass Miss Kitty, I have the squirt bottle handy to remind Ace he’s not allowed in my bedroom, and dinner is in the oven. Yep, it’s just another evening at the Fraudulent Farmstead.


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