Monday, January 19, 2009

New Year, New Garden...January, 2009

From flowers to food.... the new state of the union???

The new year - new resolutions, new garden plans. Last year's tomato bed convinced us to grow more of our own food - the fresh tomatoes were like nothing we had been buying. We may have gotten a *little* ambitious. Suddenly I find myself with 18 types of tomato seeds, 6 types of peppers and dozens of veggies - collards, spinach, squash, you name it. We are converting the flower bed over to veggies (will have to find space for some random beauty) and planning 4 new beds in addition to the tomato bed - total of 208 sq. feet of raised beds. But I think we are going to have to use a lot of containers as well. Already collecting free 3-5 gallon buckets from the local grocery delis and planning to build Self Watering Containers, aka SWCs ( ). One kitchen counter has sprung a heating mat and fluorescent lights to start seedlings, plastic pots and bottles are multiplying under the bar for use for baby plants and my desk is covered with gardening books and seed catalogs.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Garden memoirs... 2008

Aug. 13, 2008 - The garden is in full swing as well. So far this week I have been reveling in tomato sandwiches (soft bread, fresh tomatoes, hoop cheese and of course Duke mayonnaise- the food of Gods), tomato pie, tomato salad, you get the picture. Tomorrow I will try my hand at canning homemade salsa - already put up 14 pints of bread and butter pickles and 9 pints of chow chow. For such a *modern* woman I get unbelievable satisfaction from growing and preserving my own food. Trying a new bed for fall with beans, sugar snap peas, carrots and zucchini. Lets hope the slugs leave something for us - all my gardens are organic, so no pesticides and chemicals to ge the marauders.

Aug. 7, 2008 - Read Emerson's essay on self-reliance ( - although written in 1841 applies to so much of what we are dealing with in today' world. Every time I turn on the news or pick up a paper or newsmagazine, I see more and more articles, essays and blogs dealing with our new reality - that we are going to have to change our thought processes, our assumptions and our lifestyles -the consumption society we have built is just not sustainable at present levels and with present technology. How do we deal with it? All in our own ways, by not traveling as much (agh - the angst of deciding which dog show to jettison!), growing more of our own food, cutting back on non-essentials. Instead of sacrifices, though, perhaps we should try to see these changes as healthy and self-fulfilling. I know the few garden beds I put in this year for vegetables have been a huge source of peace and accomplishment. Perhaps going greener and less consumerism based can actually be fun!

Aug. 3, 2008 - we have been busy with our expanding raised bed gardens and our obsession with our local wildlife. The bird feeders are busier than Starbucks on Monday morning. The squirrels are enjoying their own feeder and regular raids on the bird feeders and the skinks and anoles are producing the cutest babies! We had our backyard registered with the National Wildlife Foundation and now proudly have our sign posted on the back deck. I am considering how best to start a campaign in this increasingly suburbanized area about wildlife gardening and natural landscaping - it appalls me to read statistics such as: "The National Wildlife has reported that over 25 million acres of land in the U.S. has been planted in residential lawn.It is totally amazing that these same lawns consume 30 - 60% of all our municipal water. More than 70 million pounds of chemical pesticides and 70 million tons of fertilizer are consumed by lawns each year. The lawn mower alone pollutes hydrocarbons 10-12 times that of a car. Typical American lawn landscapes offer very little value to wildlife habitat. We need to get back to native planting. It can be done." ( for more info.)