Friday, April 29, 2011

Growing your own Food

The growing bug has hit me hard. I'm so ecstatic about my upcoming summer garden that every day I cannot wait to check each pot, tray and plot to see what tiny green sprouts are popping up. I've really committed myself, despite living in a rental that I will have to leave at the end up the summer, with a 10 x 20 foot garden I dug out myself by hand (no minor feat in hard clay with roots and rock), many containers and two new tires.

Here's my preliminary plan for the plot. Certainly to be adjusted through trial and error I'm sure!

I've been reading about companion planning for a long time now, so I've been using that philosophy to guide my planting. Louise Riotte's book Tomatoes Love Carrots is excellent. I even wrote a children's book using her principles for a class project last semester where the main character, a little boy named Max Marigold, learns to like vegetables as he learns how they help each other grow strong and tasty. I'll try to upload it soon. 

This week my big project is expanding the garden such that the 3 sisters - corn, beans and squash, will have the required 10 x 10 foot space to grow. I'll need to amend the soil with compost and manure because corn is such a heavy feeder and the newly dug soil won't have benefited from my winter cover crop. The three sisters technique was developed  by the native Americans and is founded in the principles of companion planting. Basically, the corn acts as a post for the beans to grow on, and both provide the shade that is preferred by squash. Additionally, beans, as a legume, replenish the soil through nitrogen fixation. Here's a diagram of how I'll do it. 

 For now, things are growing growing growing so I want to share a few pictures of my pride and joy to hopefully inspire you to start growing at home.

Charlie loves the catnip. He rugs it down and covers it in cat hair, and it always grows back!

Had to offer these wee basil plants a little help - it's been so windy

Some spearmint with the biggest leaves I've seen. Perfect for mojitos

These bloomed against all odds - biggest odd being that I planted the bulbs 4 months late

Potatoes in a tire Part 1
Tomatoes in the Tire Part 2 - These sprouted from organic store bought Yukon Golds and Russet potatoes
Nasturtiums, a tasty edible flower, peaking out to help the radishes grow in between

100% of the cucumbers germinated! Ready to go into their tire container soon

English thyme

Red onion starters

Mesclun, basil, lettuce and spinach popping up

Sweet corn!!!!

Globe artichoke plant with chives starting to come up around it

Oregano, Cilantro, and Sage

My herb and tree oasis. Redbud and Oak saplings thriving


  1. This is so exciting! I wish I wasn't leaving for the summer or else I'd want to grow some things, too. You just need to keep sneaking back to the garden after you move out. I hope the next tenants appreciate your plot you've made back there.

  2. Me too! I may just renegade garden in that plot until someone tells me to stop. I can fill my car will watering cans! (How ridiculous, but I can see myself do that easy)

    When you come back I'll give you tomatoes and corn!