We’ve started harvesting! Yay! Well Noemi has started harvesting. Right now I get home after dark so she checks on the plants in the evenings. Our bronze, romaine and spinach plants were ready to go and she went out with her trusty scissors and harvested these plants to within a 1/4 inch of their lives! Eeek! Well after a little talk we decided that it’s not good to harvest when you’re super hungry.
Moving on… Remember those lettuce plants that I thought were dead? Well, looks like two of them are rallying back! I saw a leaf each coming back to life. Plants are miraculous. I was checking out the farmyard website and I saw a link for Sweet Corn Nursery. Awesome website. They have great information for new growers, and very detailed instructions on how to start seedlings (looks very intense). I found out that I need to fertilize more. I’ve been using Megaveggie, which is good for leafy plants. And I picked up a fish hydrolite from Singh Farms (which I have to start using). But I also need to use Mega Start and Mega Sea (a seaweed fertilizer) when I replant seedlings to lessen root shock.
So much to learn.
I checked on the lettuce plants. Looks like a couple of the buttercruch plants caught frost on some of their leaves, but they’re still going strong. I did lose two of the sunset lettuce plants that I planted on Saturday. They may rally back, but right now they look pretty dead.
I have approximately twenty lettuce plants, seventeen spinach plants, six collards, six swiss chards, four kale, two broccoli, two cabbage, six strawberry, two rosemary, one arugula, two parsley, one curry and one chive. So far. I have one 4×8 foot bed and a 2×4 container on wheels and two 2×4 plastic tubs. We are moving to get rid of the plastic tubs. While I will plant in almost anything that will hold earth, Noemi hates the tubs. I admit they aren’t the cutest containers. The 4×8 bed is only half planted. Learning how to grow these plants is one part. How much to plant of each, is the other part. So far, we need more of almost everything.
Our goal is to provide most of our produce for ourselves. I’m not sure what percentage is realistic, so right now I’ll say fifty percent and see how it goes.
I read that you need approximately 32 square feet of planting space per adult. So we are working our way up to that. And then there are our personal tastes. I could fill my space up with watermelons and be happy. Of course until I eat them all in two days (I love watermelon). And Noemi wants basil and tomatoes and spinach. Only she wants to fill my space and hers. And they say to plant a 4×4 of strawberries for the family, which might be too many strawberries for me. So, I’m curious to find out what actually ends up working.
I’m so happy to be at work today so I can get some rest. I did a lot more than I planned to over the weekend. Like I mentioned, I went to the farmer’s market. Before that I had started planting veggies that had been waiting allllll week. So they were very excited to finally get into their new digs. So after the market we came home and finished planting most of the plants. Which took the rest of the afternoon. It was wonderful sitting in the backyard, teasing out the roots, putting the plants into the earth. Yay!
Then Sunday we went to Lowes to get a few things. I wanted a few flowering plants and Noemi wanted hardware for her irrigation system. So we found some african daisies that, since they had put them out, every time I’ve gone to Lowes and I always visit the plants, I see bees and butterflies on them. So I picked up a couple for that reason. I’m interested in planting plants that support bees. I love bees and butterflies and bees are great for the garden. We had a basil plant that planted itself right next to our patio. It was funny. One day I was outside and noticed this tiny little basil plant starting to grow. I had tried to grow basil a couple of times and the plants never got very big, so I didn’t think this plant was going to get too far. Well, definitely without any help from me (is that bad?) it grew into a bush. And so many bees were buzzing around it, it was great. And a few weeks ago it caught frost, so the bees have been missing it. And I see them come around to check for more flowers. So I have to get on it for the bees.
So I got four african daisy plants and two strawberry plants and Noemi picks up her hardware. We go back home and I spent the rest of the afternoon planting and fixing and looking and before I knew it was four o’clock, and I never meant to do that much on Sunday. I was tired and stiff, but very happy. The garden looks great and I hope the bees like the new flowers.
This morning I was watering everyone and it looked like some of my newly planted lettuce caught some frost. I’ll have to check when I get home. It didn’t get cold enough, so I’m puzzled.
Saturday for us is Farmer’s Market day. Rain or shine. We go chat with buddies, pick up our produce, and mill about. It’s a chance to be social and get great goodies. So I was really excited because we were going to a new market, Singh Farms. Well some of the excitement had to get put on hold. Their regular market won’t be open for a few more months. But we did get some compost and a few plants from them. Jim helped us and he knew a great deal about the plants, he also gave us the most flavorful tangelos we’d had in a long time. So we got cilantro, butter lettuce, chocolate mint, curry (which is amazing), and fern lavender. I’m developing a lavender thing, they grow well in the desert and I’m secretly trying to collect all of the different varieties. So far I have fern, english and spanish lavender.
Next we went to the Scottsdale farmer’s market. I love it there. Fresh produce and a lot of really great people. We did our shopping for the week. And I hung out with Sarah and Rebecca of Farmyard. I needed some fertilizer for my strawberries, so they pointed me in the right direction. I showed them a photo of my newly planted box, and I told them that I was trying square foot gardening. They said that they do square inch gardening and that I had some room in my box to put more lettuce plants! I said I like that kind of talk.
So I went over to my friend Dave Parkin of Parkin Farm and picked up some lettuce plants, I was planning to stop by his booth anyway, but the sister’s really got me fired up. A devil’s tongue and a couple of sunsets. You know I had stopped by Singh Farms and picked up some plants there. When I bought the plants, I wasn’t sure where I would put them, so Sarah and Rebecca’s advice was right on time.
Okay, I’ve finally gotten my winter garden planted. It’s late in the season. I was trying not to get sucked in. I really wanted to wait and start my 2011 garden after we got our patio cover. Cause once I start planting, that’s it, no money for a cover. But everyone kept saying, plant it, plant it. So here I am. Can’t say that I’m unhappy. I’m actually very happy! My lettuce is doing great. Everything is doing great, collards, lettuce, kale, strawberries. I still have some broccoli and celery to plant and I’m redesigning my whole garden. It’s just all happening, of course, right now.