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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

We’re back! I know it’s been months since the last post — 2014 was a big year. I got married and got a new job! Both really exciting things but with all the ensuing happy craziness, it left little to no time for blog posts (or much gardening, to be honest).

Last year our garden did OK — not great, but not too terrible. Part of it is because of the aforementioned life events, part of it because of the cooler summer weather, part of it because of the constant plague of garden pests and creatures we have, but it’s mostly because we weren’t keeping up with it. It also probably didn’t help when the garden was more or less ignored for more than a week while we were on our honeymoon.

This season we’re practically starting over — new raised bed boxes, new soil and new method. We’re trying more of the square foot gardening method to get as much out of our efforts as possible. We’ve also built new boxes and filled most of them with Mel’s Mix, the “perfect garden soil” formula from the books.

We know not everything is going to be perfect. For starters, we added Mel’s Mix on top of the soil and whatever else is there: leaves left over from the fall, a bunch of plants I forgot to pull out (do carrots overwinter?), and likely a handful of those little veggie and herb tags that have been unwittingly mixed in over the years.

Snow in early March delayed our garden plans.

Snow in early March delayed our garden plans.

Second, we’re getting a later start on spring planting. Again. This is out of our control — it doesn’t help (or motivate you) when in early March everything is still covered in snow and is then followed by days upon days of rain. This past weekend was our first nice one (sunshine! warmer temperatures!) in a long time.

Finally, we know our garden won’t be perfect because, let’s face it, life has an odd sense of humor. This weekend is a perfect example. After spending a few hours at several different stores gathering wood for the new beds and the ingredients for our soil mixture, we grabbed the wheelbarrow so we didn’t have to lug 40-pound bags of compost to the back yard.

And guess what? Our wheelbarrow, which we rarely use, had a flat tire. Luckily our neighbor, who is an avid and awesome gardener herself, let us borrow hers. Oh, and to top it off, the drill ran out of batteries when we had our last three screws to put in the last of four raised bed boxes.

This year we’ll post more (I promise!) as we go through our gardening adventure, sharing ideas and experiments from last season, as well as all the successes and failures we have (hoping it’s more of the former this time).

In the meantime, here’s our rough planting plan for this year. I’m sure we’ll move things around when they actually get planted. The garlic is in a different place in both beds because, as usual, I forget where I planted them until the shoots start poking through the ground. And also, I got a little overzealous when buying our broccoli — we have 18 plants now, and I’ll probably experiment some more with container growing.

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I just learned about a brand new initiative in our neighborhood, and I had to share. It’s called 500 Gardens. Here’s a little more about it from their website:

Madisonville is a neighborhood of Cincinnati that has a lot going for it, especially for a gardening project.  There are large lots, generations of garden tradition, active community partners in the Madisonville Community Council, the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Council, and local churches, and we have two years of partnership with Lighthouse Community School and success in building gardens on the school parking lot and nearby vacant lot with the students.  The neighborhood has a vibrant mixture of ages, ethnicities, incomes, and family origins, and carries a USDA Food Desert designation.

In this project we plan to:

• Recruit, organize, and teach volunteers.

• Recruit, teach, and coach mentors.

• Organize, promote, and teach on- going classes and workshops.

• Develop and disseminate educational materials.

• Acquire and organize lumber and soil.  Manage use and distribution.

• Schedule garden building, coordinate volunteers and homeowners.

• Host monthly Gardener Gatherings during the growing season.

I’m really excited about this and hope it is tremendously successful!

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Our lettuce looked promising when we transplanted it.

Our lettuce looked promising when we transplanted it, but it hasn’t grown much bigger than this.

As some of our space cleared from summer vegetables that stopped producing or died, we were really excited to plant our fall garden. Peas could go where the cucumber was, lettuce could take over the first bed, Brussels sprouts and broccoli could fill in wherever they’d fit. It was a great plan, or so we thought.

We should have known that when multiple sowings of lettuce, spinach and broccoli seed never sprouted that it was probably a bad sign. I assumed we hadn’t watered them enough, the seeds were bad, something. So we decided to try to start everything in pots and transplant where needed later.

This part worked wonderfully. We had lots of baby lettuce and almost a dozen Brussels sprouts plants.

The peas we planted in place started to sprout and grow. It looked promising.

But looking promising and being productive are two different things, and our fall garden excitement quickly turned to disappointment.

The lettuce transplants look great, but they aren’t any bigger than the day we put them in the raised beds. All the Brussels sprouts either wilted or had their leaves chewed by something. And the kale we tried to grow in a pot? Knocked over and spilled everywhere –probably as a result of the squirrels trying to bury acorns wherever they can.

While it was unfortunate we couldn’t keep the harvest going into the cooler months, we’ll try again next year. And we hope, with a little more planning, we’ll have a fantastic fall garden.

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