Saturday, April 10, 2010

Welcome to the garden

This morning, I noticed the birth of the first of my li'l Southern peas (otherwise known as blackeyed peas). If you've never had fresh blackeyed peas, as I myself had never had before moving to Texas, you are seriously missing out. I like to simmer them with a little chicken stock, tomato paste, and a couple of pork chops til the whole pot just turns into a salty, creamy, fall-aparty porky mess... where was I? Anyway, to wit:

Currently germinating in my garden are the following: brandywine tomatoes, sweet 100 tomatoes, a variety of lettuces including arugula, romaine and mache, red swiss chard, English peas, blackeyed peas, cucumbers, carrots, beets, red potatoes, onions, zucchini, green beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, bell peppers, eggplant, butternut squash, hot peppers, and a variety of herbs. You would think my garden was enormous, but it doesn't have to be since I'm using Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening method.That's why you see a nylon string grid in the pictures, I have two 4x8 beds divided into square feet - 64 feet total. The number of plants you can grow per square foot varies by the plant.

World's cutest herb!

Interestingly, cilantro and parsley are the only herbs that came up. I'm transplanting the rest this weekend. Next year I'll start the seeds inside.

Next stop, lettuce town!

When I planted the first round of seeds, Dad asked me if I had planted any radishes. I hadn't, which isn't to say I don't like radishes, I most certainly do. I just couldn't justify losing a square to radishes when there were so many other things I was more excited to plant (read: eat). His reasoning was that they're so dang easy to grow, they're a great ego-boost for the new gardener. However, in my very brief experience, if you want to feel like king of the world when you walk into your garden, grow some freaking potatoes. Look at these suckers!

Those grew from plain ole red new potatoes, cut into chunks around each eye, planted eyes up. Clearly, I'm some sort of god.

My little English peas are also lovely, with adorable little spindly tendrils (which I hear are delicious).

And my sweet 100's have started to flower (immortalized on my new banner). Eeeeee!

Everything seems to be going fine... I have noticed some bugs, as is to be expected when gardening organically, but none of the plants look particularly affected (aside from the poor green beans - I stuck a few extra seeds in the ground to replace the ones that didn't make it), so I think I'm going to let them work it out amongst themselves for now. I do know some bugs are "good" bugs, so fingers crossed. I'm going to mix up a little garlic chili spray tomorrow in case the natives seem too restless for my liking.

Happy weekend!


  1. Megan:

    So glad you are ahead of us on this. We are planting our first veggie garden on the "farm" and have lots of questions. We were just going to "go for it" and plant whatever - but I like the grid method and will use that.
    We are in Zone 5 - still getting frost and will buy our plants this year and plant mid-May.
    What are you adding to the soil to boost growth. We also have chickens and therefore, POOP - can we enrich the soil with it?
    Would love to live next door to catch the aroma from your kitchen each night!
    Keep growing! Love, Kathy

  2. Hey Miss Kathy! I'm glad to hear you're gardening too! I'm so jealous you have chickens.
    We're using this book, I highly recommend you pick it up:
    The soil mixture he recommends is 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. That's it! We did a layer of weed cloth on the ground and built 8" high raised beds filled with our mixture. We're still figuring out our compost tumbler (the first batch was too wet, hopefully this one works).
    You would definitely want to be here tonight - I'm doing my favorite pork ribs, braised in orange juice and soy sauce! Will definitely blog it :)