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           Food Security 2008

           Growing Enough To Keep

           And More To Share

           On A Postage Stamp Sized Plot

Food Security 2005   Food Security 2008   Food Security 2009  Community Gardening

If you've been following along you might wonder, what happened to 2006 and 2007?

 In a word: Feeney. 

My husband and I decided we were ready to start looking for a puppy. Our yellow lab passed away a few years before, and we went out -- "just looking," as they say.  A once-tiny Puggle (half pug, half beagle) caught our eye in a shelter and that was that. 

Feeney loved to dig and chew.  He tore a hole in the front of my sofa the first week we had him. He "ate" the porch railing.  He dug up the garden. All of it.

I didn't care. We all loved him.

I gave up. At least for a while.

OK. Enough of Feeney.

Back to the garden.  When we left off the fence with the skyscape was rotting.  Time to replace it, but that meant my roses were in trouble.

My rock garden was history, too.

 

Since the backyard was no longer in use as a garden, quite a bit of unwelcome growth took over.  We started at 10:00 am.

Thank goodness for strong young backs!

I didn't have time to start seeds this year, so we went to Walmart and Lowe's to compare prices before we shopped at a local nursery. The prices seemed low so I purchased them there. I knew I had to get the plants into the ground  before they dried out and died.

By11:15 we had one side entirely cleared and raked up and it was ready to plant. There was no time to waste. It was April 26th and traditionally peas and potatoes should have gone into the ground by St. Patrick's Day. I decided to forget about the peas, and go straight for the potatoes.

Everyone has potatoes that start to grow when you're not  looking. I saved these and cut them into chunks with one eye each. Yes, I know all the reasons why you are supposed to buy "seed potatoes" - but I never have and probably never will. The ones from the store that have started sprouting will do just fine as they always have and by early August we'll have fingerlings to toss on the grill.

There were a few pieces without sprouted eyes. I tossed them in anyway. If they grow, terrific. If not, they'll rot and add to the soil.

Potatoes are heavy feeders, and if I hope to get a good crop this year, I'll need to make sure they're well fed.  A good friend of mine is also growing some using the tire method, so we'll share some Henry Fields Potato Food .  Neither one of us needs a full box, and maybe you don't either. Find a gardening buddy and share.

Potatoes grow well with corn and corn grows well with beans and beans grow well with onions. With that in mind, I divided the western bed in half and created four hilled rows.  In the first two I placed potatoes.  In the last two I set onion plants. I picked these up at Lowe's and frankly was surprised they had them at all. Unfortunately, I have no idea what kind they are. The label didn't say.  Again, if I had more room, I'd love to put in Shallots which are so wonderful for cooking special dinners. Red Hamburger Onions would be nice, too, but no room this year.

We seeded the gullies between the hilled rows with  Sweet Corn and asparagus green bean. The beans grow quite long and are pole beans and will grow up the corn.  Not my first choice for beans, but it was what they had in the store, so that's what I planted. Once the fishing season gets underway, I'll save the heads and bury them in the corn hills.

 

In the meanwhile, Blaze, our son, kept turning the soil over in the eastern bed. The entire garden was full of lily bulbs - not nice ones, but little ones with flowers like stars. Nice here and there in a rock garden, but very invasive elsewhere. We filled a box and two trash cans with them!

My sister, Joan, the Master Gardener, tells me I should have saved them to sell since they are very popular. Oh, well.

When we had our community garden in the public mall that runs in the center of our street, we had an abundance of strawberries. They were fabulous. At Lowe's I found two varieties of strawberries. One kind was Junebearing and I don't know what the other was. If I had more time, I would have ordered Eversweet .

 

The perfect place to plant strawberries, I think, is along a brick wall we constructed a couple of years ago without mortar.  The wall is tumbling down and has some irises that have aged out and some invasive ivy. There are also three peonies from my mother's garden that will stay.  I'll need to repair the wall and remove the irises before putting the strawberries in. Where the irises have been removed, I'll plant squash. It can meander without getting in the way of anything else.

Overgrown ivy and one of the peonies.

By 2:00 pm it was time to quit. Just enough time to upload these photos and write a little and then work on First Friday Adoration sign up sheets before the 5:00 pm Mass.  Blaze had work to do on his philosophy paper for a logic course at St. John's University. Nice relaxing weekend he had.

Below is the side we got planted today. In the second half of the western plot I put in nine tomato plants.  I had only three cages. Where did the others go? Who knows? However, I did have lots of frames from political campaign signs and created cages from them at no cost.

The last step was watering. The wonderful multi-spray nozzle broke. Another thing for the list of things to get. Number one on the list is hay. We need at least two bales. Click the image below to view the labels.

By the end of May the garden was well underway.  The potatoes were already poking through the straw.

The rosebushes were back on the road to recovery and a beautiful bunch of coneflowers sprouted up in the walkway on their own. I left them there.

 

The garden was "Feeney-proofed" with whatever fencing I had around.

I never did get around to pulling the irises and ivy or fixing that brick wall. Maybe next year.

A tiny privet seeding that I found struggling in the mall has now grown into a huge bush.  Sometimes rescues aren't such a good idea.

By the end of June, things really took off. We had an abundance of tomatoes, corn, potatoes, eggplant, onions, peppers and lettuces.

Nasturtiums added  color and also a trap for bugs. The blossoms are a spicy addition to salads.

Chives nestle with lettuce on the edge of the pepper patch. Lemon thyme fills the spaces between the stepping stones.

When the end of the season came, I was so busy harvesting and canning that I didn't have time to take photos of the harvest. Suffice it to say, it was abundant. We ate well during the summertime, had plenty to store for winter, and most importantly, we had an abundance to share with those in need. Problems:  There was something awful after my beans. Teeny tiny white bugs no bigger than the head of a pin ate the roots and the yield was disappointing. What were they? I never found out. I wish I had more room for potatoes, but I have a plan for next year. Also, some of the store bought tomatoes were weird. I'd heard that  the hybrids might have been genetically modified. Worse yet, all of the genes might not have been from plants. I carefully disposed of the vines at the end of the year. Never again!
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