Saturday, May 09, 2009

Backyard Beginnings

If you've ever seen my backyard in Edmonds, you know that it exists in a state of perpetual eclipse! We are blessed with a 100-year old big leaf maple that covers 80% of the backyard with a green umbrella most of the day. Along with our maple, the neighbors have many, many beautiful old pines, firs, and cedars which cast their shadows too. So after seven years of fighting the shade and murdering many sun-loving starts, I have embraced fuschias, hostas, and ferns for most of the area. But in the one small corner that gets morning sun....

We received a 4-way Asian pear as a gift for my hubby's retirement from the Navy and planted it. Just across the fence, east of us, the neighbor successfully grows a small grove of Asian pears, so we figure it has a good chance of being pollenated there, along with his! (Another neighbor has honey bees, so we're keeping them busy!) We put the tree in the ground in February, when it arrived, and one of the 4 varieties is filled with gorgeous white and pink bloom this very first year!
In our little corner of sun we also have 4 rectangular raised beds, built by the former owners and paved with brick by us last summer. One is all herbs, one is all flowers, and 2 will be lower-sun-needing veggies this year. I planted this bed the beginning of April with snap peas (using 5 tomato cages for trellis), beets, mixed lettuce, and spinach. I amended the existing soil with compost, and have successfully grown some veggies here in the past, although tomatoes, peppers, and sun-lovers are out of the question!

I am using seed from only local NW seed companies: Ed Hume and Territorial Seed. I figure they know more about growing in the Puget Sound than Burpee!

So, while the front yard will be devoted to true Mel Bartholemew Square Foot Gardening method, full sun, and new soil mix in the beds, this backyard bed is just my own weedy soil with amendments and half-day sun, planted intensively. Gotta satisfy my itch until those front yard beds are all in!

Backyard veggie role call (planted April week one and week 3):
-Ed Hume's Super Sugar Snap Pea
- Territorial Seeds' Early Wonder Tall Top Beets
- Territorial Seeds' Regal Hybrid Spinach
- Territorial Seeds' Super Gourmet Salad Lettuce: Slobolt, Buttercrunch, Red Sails, Salad Bowl, and Valmaine.

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