Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Mother's Garden

Since my community garden spot isn't nearly large enough to grow all the plants I want this year I asked my mother if I could reclaim the abandoned garden plot at her house. Thankfully, she said yes! While this is all well and good, she is planning on putting the house on the market this summer, so there is a small chance that I won't have access to it all summer, but I'm willing to take the chance at this point.

The garden gets sun almost from sunrise to sunset as it's south-facing and on a spot on the property where there aren't any buildings to block the eastern or western sun. It's about 10' deep and 25' across, but I'll only be using half of it as my father has a bunch of evergreen saplings living in the other half. They will be getting relocated, but at this point I'm unsure of when that will be happening.

I will be using the left side of the garden, as the right side is occupied by the mini Christmas tree forest... The garage is facing north, the trees are east, my side of the plot is west and I'm taking the picture from the southern side of things.

The garden was a weedy, leafy mess when we started the cleanup. About 3 wheelbarrow loads of leaves ended up getting moved to the edge of the woods since my mother doesn't have a compost pile (despite my best attempts at persuasion!).

The tree on the left is a flowering cherry tree and ended up getting moved at the end of the day. The tree on the right has not been moved just yet, but will be as soon as my dad figures out where it will be moved to. Although if he doesn't make up his mind by the middle of April, it's coming out and going wherever I feel like putting it.

Girlfriend and I cleared out what we could of the leaves and the weeds so that my dad could rototill the mess underneath.

The handy, dandy rototiller! It seriously cut down on the amount of work about tenfold since the ground was so compacted. However, I kept making my dad stop so I could rescue all the earthworms that were bring unearthed as we worked. He was a tad annoyed, but earthworms are good and I want to keep them there!

After the tilling, we went back over things and removed any remaining weeds and rocks. We also spent a bunch of time leveling out the bed and digging in some compost.

Say hi to the camera dad!

The finished product looks quite excellent if I do say so myself! The teepees in the back are the bamboo stakes I used last year for my tomatoes. I'm planning on investing in some heavier duty supports for the tomatoes this year. I didn't want to pony up the money last year since it was my first garden and I wasn't sure if it would be an every year thing, but I've been hooked! At the base of each pole I planted 4 peas and am planning to thin to the 2-3 strongest plants.

These are the stepping stones we dug into the garden so I can avoid walking on the dirt and compacting it. They also are quite helpful in splitting up the plot so I can figure out what I''m growing and where I'm growing it. Another "step" will go into the middle of the left side. Daylight was running out at this point and we were both hungry and tired.

Since working on this plot I'm even more excited for this year. Underneath the compacted top layer, the soil is actually in pretty good shape. Until a couple of years ago my dad had been amending the soil with compost and manure every year and the earthworms seem pretty happy in there. I also hadn't realized just how much space there is in the plot, so I'm less concerned about how many seeds I started. I also think I'l be using the area in front of the christmas trees to plant either muskmelons or pumpkins and just letting the vines run wild onto the grass as long as my mother doesn't have a problem with it.


  1. Looks like fun! You guys did a great job! I buy culled lumber from home depot at 85% off for my tomato stakes. They're not perfectly straight, but at around 10 or 20 cents a pop, I don't feel bad about throwing them in our firewood pile at the end of the year, and they are 8 feet tall (I normally cut them in half with a point in the middle).

  2. Thanks for the tip on the stakes! It would also mean that I wouldn't need to find someplace to store them in my apartment which would be pretty nice.

  3. Hi Cloud-

    Thanks for coming over to visit my blog. I enjoyed reading about your garden adventures! You're doing a great job! Happy gardening!