Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Working Vacation

I have been on vacation from work this week and have been working hard on the urban farmstead. With the weather just starting to level out, there were many projects that I could finally tackle.

Right on time, our mail carrier brought bags of plants from the nursery that we ordered from. It was as though he knew that I would be on vacation and he didn't want to take a chance that I might have time to relax!

First up were the strawberries. We bought this aluminum, 3 tiered garden about 6 years ago and never installed it. It has gotten battered in the carriage house, but we were able to bend it back into shape by stomping on it a bit.

Next came the asparagus. I was careful to install it in a raised bed because it has a bad habit of taking over if not kept contained. The bed was built with some of the lumber that we got at the Habitat for Humanity Store.

Then came two kiwi. These are not the fuzzy kind that you find in the grocery store, but a smooth skinned variety that is cold hardy to withstand our winters. With kiwi, you have to plant both a male and a female plant in order to get fruit. I can't help but wonder how they figure that out. Does one plant wear ribbons or a frilly skirt? Both plants looked the same to me!

Then came getting the greens in pots. These will go on the garden table that I built a couple of months ago in my attempt to keep the greens away from the groundhogs. There is spinach, mesclun mix and lettuce for salads. For TheMartianMan, there are collard greens and cabbage. Also planted in pots are cauliflower, kale and broccoli. We shall see how they do...They can't do any worse than they did last year when not a single one of these plants survived in the garden. Luckily, I had grown some lettuce varieties in pots on the front porch or there would have been no salad for us!

We needed to get busy building the raised bed for the kitchen garden. It measures about 12 feet x 8 feet and will include basic herbs, beans, a variety of heirloom tomatoes, scallions, carrots, peppers and other basic veggie staples. It is nice to be able to run out the back door while cooking to grab some fresh herbs!

I took time out to hang the hummingbird feeder. I would love to get hummers, but know that I may have to settle for bees. We have seen many bumblebees this season paying visits to our flowers and trees. Not so many honeybees... I also noticed that this feeder is no longer full...Hmmm... I may have to keep a closer eye on this to determine if it leaks.

Well, that has been my week so far! I have more still to do and not nearly enough time to get it done.


ChristyACB said...

Awesome Week! Are you using square foot method on your garden bed? I know that I'm amazed how much comes out of my little old beds. Tomato season is coming!!!

TheMartianChick said...

Hi, Christy!

The plan is to utilize a variation on square foot gardening.The bed is really too wide for me and I am unable to reach all the way across it.There will be a path running down the middle from right to left to counter that problem and provide access to the potting table.

The square foot method is fantastic for growing a lot of food in a small space. It has really enabled me to grow a lot in the past, when this was my only vegetable garden. The soil in this bed is basically only amended with maple leaves and eggshells, but we have seen bumper crops of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and beans each year. When we first started, we rarely ever saw a worm in the soil and it was rock hard.