Friday, May 29, 2015

The farming part is in the back yard.

Last year I mainly focused on the landscaping, but this spring I turned some of my energy to producing a little food. Or at least getting a start on that. I put in three heirloom tomato plants this year as soon as the threat of frost had passed in April.
A little over a month later and they've gotten pretty big. The middle one is a Mr. Stripey, a variety I plant in vain every year. It has yet to produce even a viable flower.
But the gold cherry tomatoes are starting to come in. They'll be the first to ripen.
Today I found the first Black Krim, a Russian variety with large blackish-red tomatoes.
I have Swiss chard around the tomato pots and also a several different herbs, chives and green onions. These onions began as the root ends of some my boyfriend had brought over for cooking. I saved them and just stuck them directly in the ground. They've re-grown to full-sized.
I also built my first raised bed. It was easier than I thought - I just bought three six-foot long 1X10 boards and had one cut in half. The young guy at Lowes who cut the board for me asked what I was building and I said "A raised bed" without elaborating that it was for gardening. He handed me the cut board and said, "Well, um.. have fun in your bed." I started giggling when I realized he thought I was building myself a very small bed.  I used wood screws to make them into a rectangle. After scraping up the grass and weeds beneath it, I put a couple of layers of netting on the ground to keep burrowing animals out, then a double layer of cardboard, then filled it with soil. It holds zucchini and squash plants, basil, parsely and dill. I surrounded it with netting on wooden stakes.
A soil-filled shipping pallet on netting and cardboard now holds strawberry plants. It, too, is surrounded by netting.
In pots by the old fire pit are dwarf berry bushes - blueberries in the middle and raspberries on either end. Again, I've rigged up some netting.
On the side of the backyard, four more berry bushes. The two on the outside are more blueberries. The two in the middle are honeyberries - a honeysuckle relative that produces a fruit that looks like an elongated blueberry. I've never heard of them, but I thought I'd give them a try.
In the back are two thornless blackberry bushes. Okay, so I know I won't be getting berries for at least another year but eventually I'll have a supply of all kinds of organic berries.
I also put in three small fig trees. Those I don't expect to see bearing fruit for several years, but fresh figs are a gift from the gods so its worth the wait. These need no netting, but I still need to protect the berry bushes that are in the ground.
Because in addition to all the birds, I also have these guys in my yard.

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