Gardening Year 3 | the Good Earth

"...a garden it was, where sunshine lingered and bees hummed, and winds, beguiled into loitering, purred and rustled."

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

That's the kind of garden I want to make. Where sunshine lingers and bees hum and even the wind gets lured into playing here.

It's our third year of growing things at Casa de Hall. It's come a long way, we have learned a great deal, and now we're ready to give Alice her very own plot of earth. And a good plot, too! We compost and mulch our beds so hers has a good foundation of happy soil. A garden is nothing without good earth.

(p.s. Back to Eden has changed our entire perspective on growing things. Check it out!)

The only thing we haven't planted for her that she requested? Blueberries. We'll have to figure that one out soon.

playing with worms

JD has raised her to be fearless of these little wrigglers and so she loves to tickle them when she discovers them in the dirt. Gives me the heebie jeebies but I'm glad she's not grossed out. I keep a pretty straight face for her benefit.

watering

Last Easter we had bought Alice a little rake, shovel, and water pail from Target and now she can use them to tend her garden.

Alice's plot of earth

Mary, Mary, quite contrary / How does your garden grow?

Well, Alice has salsa queen tomatoes, radishes, lavender, eggplants, and peppers. No silver bells and cockle shells, but considerably more useful and tasty :)

Alice loves to pick "flowers" and leave them scattered around for us to find.

chives

Good thing we have a lot! I love these purple flowers and their onion stems. Did you know you can use the flowers in salads? Or anything really. Just pull the petals out and add them to whatever you want a light onion flavor. As soon as their flowers fade, chop them all down, and they'll re-grow multiple times this summer.

compost

post here

the garden

& new fence!

bed 1: kale, cilantro, sage, peppers, tomatoes

bed 2: cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, onions, basil, radishes, carrots, chives

Two years ago, this is what a strip looked like...

The dirt was horrid and hard, weeds and grass always creeping in on the plants. Now that the beds are lined and mulched and fed compost every spring and fall, the soil is so much better. Oh, how far you've come, little garden!

raspberries circa 2013 v 2015

Two full years ago we transplanted 16 raspberry plants from my dad's farm, 4 of which died. We now have at least a hundred. They will take over.

sage

Sage has such great texture and fragrance! I love planting perennials. JD grows quite a bit from seed indoors, but I love it when you plant it once and don't have to bother with it again. Saves time and money.

volunteer cilantro

While cilantro is an annual, JD had let it go to see last year and look what we have now - fresh cilantro whenever we want! This is only a quarter of it. The rest is growing in the rocks where it shouldn't be. Anyone want some?

cauliflower

carrots | asparagus

Thank you, Papa Milo, for coming to plant some of your volunteer asparagus in our garden! I'm sure we will enjoy it in a few years once they're established. You gotta start sometime.

We learned the hard way and now plant rows of carrots in between rows of radishes. Radishes grow so fast and carrots are slow. We can do multiple rounds of radish by the time the carrots are ready. If you plant all your radish together in rows, they will begin to compete for light and put all their energy into growing tall leaves instead of their vegetable.

For example, this is how we planted them 2 years ago...

One solid block of radishes - all leaves, no radishes.

radishes

harvest time

I love that Alice gets to see where her food comes from. And the turn around time for a radish is so fast! It's probably as close to instant gratification as you can get in a garden. We get a few fresh ones every few days - just enough to slice on the mandolin and fry up in butter (see this post). 

We've also got sugar snap peas and strawberry transplants from my dad that are doing great.

Due to space (and the fact that my dad and grandpa produce huge quantities) we no longer grow squash or other melons. They require so much ground space and we would rather use that for other things. But it's all about what you eat. If you eat those things and have the space it makes sense to plant them.

What's in your garden?

More to come as the summer progresses.

Happy digging and growing!