Spring brings gardens and blogs

I’ve become obsessed with my new garden.  I think about it as I walk by plants during the day.  I come home from work and wander around, looking for things to plant or weed.  I stare at my seedlings, silently begging them to grow faster.  And I’m getting more and more excited each day!

This time of the year marks the waiting.  Most of the veggies are planted in the ground, and the waiting game has begun.

So I will begin this blog with pictures of our 275 square feet of bed space and all the baby plants that are within.

I plan to keep you all posted of the growth, discovery and great food.

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The tour must always begin at the compost bins, built January 2013.

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This 7ft x 8 ft garden bed is closest to the compost bin in our new lasagna garden beds. The beds were built with layers of cardboard, grass clippings, straw, manure, dried leaves, dirt, mulch and compost. I’ll write a post about creating this garden out of a patch of morning glories in the future!  Growing here will be LOTS of bush beans (four varieties), cucumbers, acorn squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, chard, arugula, radishes, basil, borage and marigolds.

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A close up of the tri-color beans. I love that the stems are different colors too!

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Already in love with growing borage.  I’ve never grown this plant before and I’m so glad to be growing it.  Dave and I have been studying up on companion planting and really want to attract good bugs back to the garden. The space formally was a monocrop of morning glories (which the hummingbirds and moths loved) but we’ve found that we have more bad critters eating our stuff than good. Last spring was spent squishing snails and getting slugs drunk.

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Speaking of bad bugs, something’s been eating our transplanted chard.  We had hearty plants growing in the side yard, and they had to be moved to make space for the fancy tomatoes in the side yard.  These were the first plants in the bed, and seem to be the first that our hungry cabbage moth caterpillars are eating.  I found a caterpillar the day before this photo, but let it live since we have so much chard, and it was about to pupate.  We have relatively few cabbage moths around, and we kinda like to have them fly by.

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As I was inspecting the basil, I noticed these ants communicating with each other.  Upon closer inspection, it looks like they’re passing something.

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This growing apricot tree was a stick when it was planted in January.  That’s another story.  Currently this bed holds the apricot tree, irises, daffodils, sweet peas, zinnias, yarrow and nasturtiums (possibly).  This will be our perennial section and we have more herbs and flowers in our nursery!

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Yellow yarrow, I think.  I was certain this plant was yarrow while it was sitting neglected and dried out half under a trailer at school.  I fished it out of the spider webs and weeds, and added water.  Knowing yarrow is a hardy plant, my hope is to have lovely flowers to frame the stepping stone. This picture was taken less than an hour after planting.

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This pot just got moved from the front yard to the back yard, and then I chopped off all of the flowers and branches!  It has small, pink, mini daisies.  I love this plant when it flowers but loathe deadheading it.  However, I loved that every time that I deadhead it, it set buds shortly thereafter.  I almost threw this plant in the compost last summer; David stopped me. This year, while it was looking sad and in need of deadheading, I decided to take a risk and prune it way back.  I wonder if I should have done that in winter rather than spring. Notice that there are a few little buds and leaves on the branches. Seemed to me that this was the perfect time to prune heavy.

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This will be the eggplant bed with beans growing up the fence.  As you can tell from the morning glories peaking out from the garage on the right, the fence was previously covered in vines. We knew we needed something that would grow quickly and up the fence (although we toyed with jasmine, as it’s a flower that has happy memories for me and David) and we thought about Scarlet Runner Beans.  We tabled that idea for next year, as we had three types of pole beans in our seed stash, and opted to plant Asparagus Yard Long Beans, Kentucky Wonder, and Purple Pod Pole Beans. The Asparagus Beans sprouted, see below, but the others never appeared.  As I watered, I noticed that there were stalks for the KyWonder and PurplePod but they had be beheaded! My guess is that there are snails back here (or something that lurks in the morning glories behind the garage).  The next day, I went to work and asked our school gardener if he had any Scarlet Runner Bean seeds, and he gave me 30! Now we wait.

Just like we’re waiting for the eggplants to grow big enough to transplant. The nursery had a slow start this year, and next year we’re building an indoor area just like this grow light shelving made from IKEA shelving.   Currently the bed holds, pole beans, zuchinni, crookneck squash, pattypan squash, Delicata squash, Red Kuri squash, nasturtiums, borage and marigolds.

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Young Asparagus Beans growing next to the fence.

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Rosie enjoys this stretch of the yard, as do the two cats who love that we made a litterbox just for them!

This area is about 80 square feet and it will be the next area we’re expanding to. There is no irrigation here and we didn’t even have a hose that reached this area until a couple months ago. Last summer David spread wet newspaper here, then covered it with mulch (thank you Pinterest!).  I weeded the thick grass from this area (thank you free city mulch with grass seeds!) and used the grass in the layers of the lasagna beds.

The vision of this bed is still forming, as we don’t want to spend a lot of money and I have access to lots of cuttings at work. At first we were going to fill it with succulents and rocks. Then I was thinking a giant row of lavender, native sages and perhaps grasses.  When David and I were at Tomatomania! at the Grow Native Nursery, we got really excited about native grasses.  But they were expensive.

The planning stage continues.

And this blog will continue in the side and front yard with a second part.

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5 thoughts on “Spring brings gardens and blogs

    • Julie,

      I’m flattered. I haven’t replied to this yet, because I hadn’t figured out how. Now I’m realizing I should have said something!

      This award came after my very first blog; truly flattering. Before venturing to write my first blog, I tooled around with different blogging sites. I read countless blogs. I researched blogs related to topics I planned to write about. I began following some of them. But, I don’t feel like I have a blog family yet, like you do. I’m learning more and getting into it.

      So with that, I would like to wait a little bit longer before I display the award, and pass along the honor to my blog family. And thank you for welcoming me so warmly!

  1. Pingback: Fruits, flowers and bugs, oh my! | Life In Our Little LA Garden

  2. Pingback: Beginning of August Tour | Life In Our Little LA Garden

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