September 21, 2008

Winter Garden

The end of the summer garden is upon us. Yellow pear tomato and the crook neck squash have died. The remaining plants look healthy enough, but there just isn't as much fruit as there used to be.

We are inspired by our success in the okra-from-seeds experiment (just look at how tall the largest one to the right is -- crazy that last may it was a little tiny seed we put in the dirt):


Of course, E noted that the shorter more root-bound okra plants we planted 3 to a pot produce just as much fruit as the larger one, which has the pot to itself, but that when we got to 4 to a pot, production per plant is negatively affected. So, if you are growing okra from seeds in Northern California, it looks like you need an unencumbered radius of 4 inches around each plant for optimal production.

The cucumber is a perfect example of the evolution of the garden. It was a great producer and it's still producing fruit, but you can tell by looking at it that it's on its way out:


What could we possibly do now that the summer vegetables (alas, we only picked 4 tomatoes this weekend!) are on their way out?

Well, what else could we do? Yesterday, we biked over to the nursery and I was inspired by the idea of lots of lettuces and cool-weather vegetables, so we decided to try our hand at a cool-weather garden. But first, we needed a place to put it.

E, do you mind if I dig up all the grass between the second driveway and the walkway?

E grinned bemusedly as I purposefully grabbed brother's pick and said, No. I don't mind at all. Go right ahead.

In case you were wondering, using a pick with a 3 foot handle to dig up grass and turn soil is a ridiculous workout. I suspect that had something to do with E's grin. On Saturday, I cleared maybe 20 square feet. When I was finished, I was ridiculously sore. I had a *blister* and my fingers were swollen. I felt creaky, but good. Today, when I returned to the task, I ripped the blister open (childhood memories from gymnastics came rushing back), and re-used the same muscles from yesterday against their obvious displeasure until I was able to convince E he should finish the last bit (thanks E!).

So, yesterday, after evaluating my efforts and measuring the area with respect to the redwood we had, we moved the herb box to the left of the walkway and this is what it looked like:


Today, we went back to the nursery and acquired several plants to supplement the seeds we got yesterday. E made it *very* clear that winter vegetables from the garden are lame compared to summer's rewards and that he's only helping out as an act of love (thanks E!). The only winter garden plants he's excited about are the beets (planted from seeds) and brussel sprouts (we bought seedlings). The remaining plantings of a lettuce mixed pack (6 plants of various types of leaf lettuce, I can identify butter lettuce, romaine, and the other 4, well, I've definitely had 'em before but I have no idea what they are called); a six-pack of spinach; a six-pack of arugula; and parsely did nothing to impress him. The carrots and radishes (planted from seeds) are equally unexciting to him.

Despite his lack of excitement, he built two boxes for raised beds, and cut and pre-assembled the pieces for a third if/when we decide to dig up the additional grass it would cover.

And so, I present our winter garden:


I am very happy.

1 comment:

Arvay said...

Cool! I am envious! We are having frost already, and temperatures will be below freezing soon. No more garden for us!