Monday, January 24, 2011

spring's first promise

I practically skipped around the garden when I checked it after church on Sunday. Why? Because this was waiting for me there:

that my friends is a home grown pea pod!!

favas are flowering

Looks like we've done something right! We're well on our way to pulling something edible out of this first attempt at gardening. I hope they taste as good as I imagine!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

hanging in there.

January 18th. Yikes! Our wedding is exactly five months away, and this date marks one month since my last post. Can I say I've been busy? December had Christmas, and so far January has guessed wedding wedding. Hence why I haven't updated the blog in so long!

While some days I feel like I'm truly "hanging in there," the title of today's post is really in reference to our little plot. Just before Christmas, I noticed that our seedlings were looking pretty sick. Examples:

(poor babies!)

Thanks to some quick internet research, I learned that our seedlings were suffering from nutrient deficiency, most likely nitrogen. I posted some photos on down to earth forums and the community there agreed with my diagnosis.

Basically, J and I learned the hard way that healthy soil is the first step to healthy plants. The forum-goers offered all sorts of wonderful advice on organic fertilizers, and kindly pointed out that the bark mulch was robbing the soil of nitrogen as it decomposed (oh.). We were advised by a few to start over, after amending the soil, but being stubborn as I am I decided to fertilize like mad and hope for the best.

Step 1: Get back from being at your parent's house for Christmas, see that your planties are looking worse, rush to the garden center and buy whatever has the most nitrogen in it (bat guano), and use as directed.

Step 2: Visit the garden with your fiance, then rope him in to helping you pick the bark mulch out of the 24 square foot plot. Laugh a lot and realize that tedious chores are always more enjoyable when performed with a best buddy. Walk back home a little happier.

Step 3: Check out the garden section of your local Whole Foods, then realize (joy of joys!) that they sell worm castings. Tell yourself that you don't need to start a worm farm now that you know where to get the good stuff. Starting a regular compost bin will do. Buy the castings and mulch your plot with them.

Step 4: Be really really excited when your plants regain their color and show signs of producing something edible!!!!

Fava Flowers
Looks like real kale
Swelling Radish
Pea Flowers!

So that's the story about how this nurse nursed her garden back to health. And in keeping with my ultimate credo that prevention is the best medicine, I've started a compost bin in my back yard for kitchen scraps and the like. I've even got a date to pick up manure to add to the bin from my buddies who have back yard chickens. The idea being that once these crops are done, the compost will be ready and I'll be able to add it to the plot just in time for summer planting (yum!)

My bike basket brimming with palm fronds, after I rode around the neighborhood looking for "dry brown things" for my compost bin. I'm turning into a crazy person, I really am.