Monday, April 12, 2010

Gardening takes Guts

Ah, what has she been up to?  Let’s start with the garden…

It took me three years to grow the Clematis flowers below.  They started as spindly ,little vines and didn’t do much the first two years.  Over the winter I pulled down some of the “dead” vines and luckily missed this one and look what grew on it!  Sigh.  This morning I counted 24 blooms.  Apparently Clematis grow into large, climbing plants and stick around for a long time. I read about one that is 26 years old.  I’m just saying  you might want to look into these for yourself.

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About a month ago I bought a magazine, Urban Farm. It sang the praises of square foot gardening  and (my little obsession is back) city chickens.  I’m just a girl who dreams of growing her own salad fixin’s and someday watching chickens play tag in the backyard.   As I’ve sworn off taking in anything else that’ll nag at you if it doesn’t get fed, it appears that only half of my dream will shape itself into backyard reality. 

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So, about three weeks ago Lovey and I set out to gather supplies at the local home improvement center.  That’s when we realized, with another freak Texas snow storm in the forecast, that gardening takes guts!  As the freakish snow swirled and blew, I trudged on and gathered up all the gardening “necessaries”.  The weather, apparently, had kept all the genteel (a.ka. warm and dry) gardeners at home and I had the entire outdoor department to myself. 

The fun part was picking out what I would grow.  Tomatoes?  Sure!  Jalapenos and cilantro?  Yes and Yes!  Lettuces and cucumbers?   Why not?!  A lot of hope has been put into such little, bitty plants.

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Gardening Commercial…

The sunflowers above were grown from seeds last summer.  Please note the color coordinated spider.  When accessorizing in the garden, I prefer to match the spider to the flower.  I feel it  brings a more cohesive look to the garden.  If you would like to achieve this same look in your outdoor space, call 1-800-JUST-KIDDING.  That number again is…  And if you act now, they’ll also include synchronized swimming water bugs!  But only if you’re one of the first 50 callers.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program:

Recently warmer weather has prevailed and with our project complete we can now call ourselves Urban Farmers! 

I’ll walk you through the project and we’ll see how it progresses through the summer.

Here’s a (square!) footnote:

Square foot gardening is meant to use less space and be easily manageable.  First you build a 4’ square box.  The boxes are set above ground, directly on the yard, so you don’t have any heavy digging.  Pick a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and has good drainage, remove any weeds and line the box bottom with a commercial weed-barrier cloth.  The plants will grow in about 6” of soil. 

Here’s what that looked like:

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Here’s how we made the planting “mix”:garden 2 wm.jpeg

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I made two 4’ boxes instead of one 4’ x 8’ box, so that if any of the plants cross pollinate and morph into vegetable madness, I can move one of the boxes next season. 

Time to plant:

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And then, I read some gardening tips in Food Network Magazine and decided to make a few changes…  They suggested planting lettuce near tomatoes or other taller plants that would give the lettuce some shade.  That sounded pretty good to me.  Another article  said that tomatoes need S- P –A- C- E and air flow around them.  I had planted mine right next to each other in tidy rows.  Also suggested was planting several types of tomatoes so if one type doesn’t work, perhaps the others will.  I moved some of the tomatoes and peppers to help out the lettuce.  I have homegrown salad and jalapeno poppers high hope that this all works out!

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In between and basically all around I also planted low growing types of flower seeds.  I’m hoping this will prettify everything and keep out any weeds that may decide to sneak in.

I’ll keep you posted on my gardening successes and “won’t try that again’s”. 

Want to grow your own snack tray or salad fixin’s?  Look here:

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