Sunday, July 15, 2012

Almost a year

It was almost one year ago that I first walked through our cottage garden. We looked, we drooled and dreamed before walking out and thinking this couldn't be ours. It was the first home we toured on our house hunt in Sonoma.

Bed D : chard, calendula, peppers, red shiso, beets, bachelor buttons and corepsis.
Little did we know months later the cottage was still on the market. It seemed to be waiting for us. This is what the garden looked like on one of those first walk throughs. In need of some love but the bones were there.

Cottage garden in summer 2011
And here's how it looks now. The paths have been mulched, the beds have been planted and we're working on a seating area in the middle of the garden.

It doesn't look like much of a difference but tilling and adding compost to sixteen beds was  a slow task. And we finally reap the rewards. This was just a smidgen of last week's harvest: plums, strawberries, tomatoes, beets and basil.

And now comes phase two, the rebuilding of the sixteen raised beds. It will likely take a few years as some beds are still holding together well. Next weekend these four small beds will be pulled out and replaced with two 4'x6' beds that will be lined with gopher wire.

This weekend I pulled up all the remaining beets to make way for the first of the new beds. All of these grew in the space of two square feet. How's that for square foot gardening success? I canned two pounds (which wasn't much of this pile) and passed along the rest to friends.

There's always planting to do. I'm gearing up for the fall harvest by sowing radishes, daikons and carrot seeds. I'm now sold on 'cloud cover', the miracle cloth.

Daikon radish seedlings with carrots and onions surrounding.
Hopefully come winter, I'll have lots of our own daikon to use in the Japanese soups we make during the cold months.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

First weekend in July

There are plenty of flowers in the garden finally. I still wish I had planted more among the vegetables. Next year, I'll add more, including more flowers for cutting. The sunflower seeds I planted were gobbled up quickly so I had to resort this year to seedlings from the nursery.

I planted them next to the beans and they've become friends. Those are purple podded bean flowers below.

The calendulas I planted from seed are doing well at least. I need to harvest them more quickly but so far the plants seem to be going strong.

The red flowers below are coreopsis tinctoria. Any plant with tinctoria in its latin name means it will be excellent for natural dyeing.

And you can't go wrong with marigolds growing next to tomatoes. These have all but been engulfed by the monster tomato plants surrounding it.

A lot of those early spring flowers have rapidly turned into ripe, luscious fruit. We have about two dozen santa rosa plums that are ripe. They taste beyond divine! We can only eat them outside leaning over because the juice content is so high.

We also have strawberries and blackberries ripening daily. I'd forgotten what those fruits tasted like right out of the garden.

And last but not least, the vegetable harvest is starting to pick up again. We still have way too many beets (not complaining there) and chard. We also had kale, carrots, padrone peppers (which were waaaayyy too hot) and the last of the broccoli.

And anyone want some herbs? I can finally say I have enough parsley to harvest nightly now that I've gopher proofed one of the beds. I am in the process of gopher proofing the carrot and parsnip bed. What carrots I have harvested (they left me a handful) have been huge and flavorful.