Sunday, November 03, 2013

Back in the Garden

What a hard lesson I have learned this year. Spring found us digging, making raised beds and filling them with alarming speed. We couldn't be stopped, it was so exciting. First we pulled the old bushes out front and made some beds where the concrete wasn't. We planted tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers and eggplant. There were summer squash, too.

All of these plants did so well that many friends just couldn't believe it. I give credit to Toly's constant love and doting.

Then we made beds in the back. We initially thought we would fill the back with beds, leaving no room for anything but working between them. We spent some time creating a layout that included room for our chicken coop. We made two beds and then things got in the way.

First, a camping trip during the compost pickup. A great  time but a stall to our momentum. (I should mention in here that I found out I was pregnant around now) Then, Toly got sick. Really sick. I was about 7 weeks along and was with him for 11 or 12 days in the hospital. By the time we both left, I was very sick myself, with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. And it got worse.

The cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash and more were coming on, but I was so sick I laid in bed for 6 weeks. I couldn't even go near the kitchen. My husband, some friends, and even more my children took care of everything. I threw up 20 times a day. I couldn't stand the smell of people brushing agains the plants we so loved outside, much less have them in my house for consumption. My lack of care for the garden I was just recently obsessed with was all-consuming.

But that is long past. I am 23 weeks and have been all better since 18 weeks. We even got in a few meals with tomatoes, but not many.

Last week, I tore out our front plants and composted the lot. The soil was hard and dry from not being watered since September. (dry farmed) Yesterday, I broke the soil up and cleaned things out front, spreading soaker hoses and wetting the soil. Part of the front is ready to plant.

Then I moved out back and enlisted Rome's help. We tore out 6' arugula (feed me, Seymour!) and the pole beans on one side (the other side we left for seed). We also dug up parts of an unused beds and laid soaker again. We discovered one red chard plant that survived the neglect. It is huge like a tree with a 1.5" stem. It was a nice find because we'll have chard until our new greens come on. We also picked a basket of fall tomatoes, mostly San Marzanos, which I used to make dinner last night. Rome cut grass that was tall around the beds and put arugula into our compost bin. He was so happy to help!

Then, we made a trip to the local nursery for starts. Needless to say, we did not start our own cabbages this year. I hope to have a system in place for tomatoes and whatnot in the spring. Luckily, Berkeley Horticultural had a huge selection of fall plants including a Tree Collard! We bought cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower as well. There were many things we passed on for this year: leeks, celery, fava beans. We brought home some seeds for peas and lettuce and hope to find some carrot seed as well. These are all things we can grow here over our cool, wet winter.

Today after church, we plant!
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