Well, summer has officially begun, and I am so glad! Here in the high desert of central Oregon, we still have the threat of frost, but for the most part, we have all been set loose to plant our gardens. I have been posting about various projects in my garden this summer and thought I would give you an update on where everything is at. I have to say this though: I am not an expert gardener. My tomato plants are not 6 feet tall growing in a hydroponics system. Some of the seeds I have planted haven’t even broken ground. And I certainly haven’t done everything in my garden to Master Gardener levels. I am simply a novice gardener, probably like you, that is trying to provide fresh, organic foods for my family. With that being said…here’s a little garden tour for you. And if you like some of the projects, feel free to “Pin It” and put it on your to-do list for 2013.
Here’s the whole garden view for you (minus the teepee trellis…). As you can see, it’s no larger than 1 1/2 RV parking spots. And while I dream of a BIG garden someday, it’s workin’ for us right now. Onto project updates:
I originally posted about this project here and gave you instructions on how to build your own. I was able to plant my sugar snap peas before the frost, and they are doing pretty darn good now. Grown about 18 inches in the last month. After the threat of the last freeze was gone, I added the pole beans. They are yet to latch onto anything, but I know they will as the summer heats up. I am hoping that the kids find a fun place to play with Barbies and trucks while I am pluckin’ peas and spinach. Speaking of spinach…
This is my cold frame, and it houses my spinach as well as a variety of mixed greens, including Black Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch, and Mesclun Greens. We have been munching on this green goodness for about 2 weeks now. There’s nothing like fresh and delicate salad at every meal. My husband built me this cold frame out of plywood and antique windows. It was my first “greenhouse” before I got the real greenhouse.
Some of the raised beds…
I have a 4×3 raised bed full of more sugar snap and Asian peas. I have already harvested a handful of peas from the bed. So good! You can’t really see it, but I used a spindle style high chair as a trellis on the inside of the bed. Didn’t work. Don’t waste your time. Just use field wire or netting instead.Here’s my bush green beans. Still small, but I couldn’t plant them until about June 10th outside due to the threat of frost. They are establishing their roots now and will continue to grow. I like bush beans because they produce a LOT of beans continuously.
And here’s my kale. We are not big kale eaters at our house (we use it in stirfry once in a while), but it’s my favorite part of the garden. I am growing this kale for my friend, Steffany, who was diagnosed last August with stage 4 brain cancer. As she fights for more days of life with her family, she juices my kale, along with assorted fruits and veggies to keep her body healthy and strong. Steffy is quite an incredible woman, and if you are interested, you can follow her cancer journey on Facebook. And if you are interested in helping my friend steffy with her medical expenses, you can find more information here.
I am also growing tomatoes, radishes, carrots, herbs, and cukes here:pumpkins, onions, carrots, and broccoli here (windows to keep the frost off the broc):and strawberries and rhubarb here: What a nice combination huh? I can make a pie right from that raised bed alone!
I am also growing russet and yukon gold potatoes here in these towers and right behind them are three whiskey barrels of 1st year asparagus. Those are just going to seed in preparation for a decent harvest in 2013 or 2014.
And then, of course, we have the greenhouse. If you want to read about how I built it, you can catch it here. Most of everything in the greenhouse is now out in the gardens, so it’s a bit empty. But I am growing a few tomato plants inside (mostly for research’s sake) and am starting some more mixed greens as well. I haven’t figured out the whole cyclic order of using my greenhouse, and I’ve been incredibly busy, so I haven’t had a chance to replant much of anything, but hope to within the next week or two.
I wrote about this just a few weeks back, so not much has changed. But I just love these little gutter gardens. Not only are they cute, they also save space and give hope to urban gardeners who don’t have a single pile of dirt to call their own.
New pole bean pots
And then, at the last minute, I decided to add some extra pole bean pots to the property. I had some large black, plastic pots on hand, filled them with compost from my garden-friend, Jobey, and planted my pole bean starts from the greenhouse. Then I drilled holes in the brim of each of the pots and strung some garden twine between the holes and the top of the fence. Instant trellis.
In case you are wondering, I use a method of gardening that has been mentioned on Fabulessly Frugal before called Square Foot Gardening. And just like using coupons maximizes the dollars spent at a grocery store, using SFG is a great method of maximizing your harvest from a small amount of space. I love it…but at the same time, tend to be a bit obsessive-compulsive, so it works well for me.
And that’s just about it. As the summer goes on and we have some produce to harvest, I will start writing about making jam and canning and freezing vegetables, since that, too, is another great way to save money on your groceries.
Have an inexpensive project that you’re afraid to try? Suggest it in the comments and I just might try it this summer!If you are looking for more ways of growing in small spaces, check out this book:Vertical Gardening, by Derek FellPin It