Sunday, January 03, 2010

Packing up 2009, Opening 2010

New Year's resolution time! Resolution #1: keeping up my personal blog. I'm not sure how many loyal readers I have ;) but this is also a great way to keep a diary of the years. It's funny to see how, in my archives, I flow from interest to interest. This coming year will start out with gardening and more paintings. I have been doing a lot of reading lately about the locavore movement and have read some inspiring and shocking info about the food industry. For my part, I plan to expand my newly created garden and keep good records about my expenses and harvest.
Here is my drawing of our front yard garden we created this past year. We dug the goldfish pond,
took down 3 trees, laid the cement chunk path, planted 2 fruit trees and a rhubarb bed and built and
planted veggie bed #1. In 2010, we plan to put in 3 raspberries and a blueberry bush and build
a few more of the veggie beds.

As for the end-of-year record, I'll give a 2009 garden report: lots of success, lots of failure, LOTS of learning. We spent about $125 over '09 on garden materials and received LOADS of free materials. A lot of time and effort were spent clearing the trees and establishing the garden, but I estimate we harvested about 16 lbs. of food from the one 8' x 3' bed. Here's what I planted and how it went down:

- One heirloom tomato (from sis in law from seed): thriving, healthy plant covered in tomatoes.It turned out to be a small, yellow, very firm variety with good flavor. Set fruit early but did not ripen for a long time. Produced until it froze.
- One "Stupice" tomato: We picked off this for months and the flavor is awesome. Very early and long producing. "A+"
- Pickling cucumbers: Off 3 plants, we picked 3 pickles. Ripened very early though. Not sure why they didn't do better. Don't think I'll try this again.
- Sugar Pie pumpkins: Two plants grew one small pumpkin each. Good flavor and a short vine. This seed was saved from a store pumpkin so not sure of the species.

- Sweet corn: Produced a few, half-filled ears. I think they needed deeper soil and much more sun than I get. Perhaps a super-early variety might do better.

- 2 jalapeno peppers: We've been picking for weeks, but we're not big jalapeno eaters. Encouraging though - maybe we'll try some bell peppers next time.
- Royal Burgundy string beans: Good flavor and fairly productive.
- Basil - this was a start from my SIL. It did wonderfully! I keep pinching out the flowering tips and it keeps going. We need more of these next year! I made pesto and froze it before the freeze outside."A+"
- Copra yellow onions: grew to be about golf-ball sized. Nice to have onions on hand. I think I need to research to do them better.
- 1 "Mammoth" dill: enormous and healthy. "A"
- "Sparkler" radishes: grew quickly to full size. Gave them away because no one in the family likes to eat them! Not something I'd do again, except as a showpiece.
- "Puget Summer" strawberry: Had only a few fruit, but it was a small plant. Hope to do better as it matures.
- "Gold Bar" bush yellow zucchini: mine utterly failed. Pollenization maybe? It bloomed but no fruit. My SIL's is still going like mad. I'll let her supply me! "F"
- strawflowers: something ate 'em.
- Fennel: Never developed.
- Cabbage: Something ate the stem.
- Swiss chard: Miserable in the garden, but it did great in a pot nearby. Needed more heat, perhaps?
-Ed Hume's Super Sugar Snap Pea: Did awesome! Grew too tall for my supports and I had to improvise an extension. Great flavor, raw or cooked. Will plant MANY MORE next time!
- Territorial Seeds' Early Wonder Tall Top Beets: Smallish sized beets, and took much longer than expected. Maybe a soil issue?
- Territorial Seeds' Regal Hybrid Spinach: Beautiful, delicious spinach. Need lots more this year!
- Territorial Seeds' Super Gourmet Salad Lettuce: Slobolt, Buttercrunch, Red Sails, Salad Bowl, and Valmaine. Very nice colorful lettuce. Another success.
- Fruit trees: new this year, had blooms but no mature fruit. Hoping for improvement in '10.

With the new fruit trees and bushes and the knowledge we gained from our test veggie garden, I think we'll be able to produce a lot of food this year with minimal investment. My compost production in in full swing with weekly organic grocery "trash" deliveries to pump it up to high volume. Having a garden in our front yard has been so exciting and interactive because we literally walk through it several times a day on our way in and out of the house. After reading the article in Mother Earth News entitled "Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet" I wondered what we will be able to reap this year?

No comments: