This summer, I decided to return to my garden. At our old house, we had an extensive garden that went the way of the "no time" 100 hours a week work week. I thought this week, I'd share my venture into veggie gardening.
Thursday Thirteen #26 - In the Garden.
Our garden will be an organic, Biodynamic or French intensive garden. Here's the whole story:
1. Well, Ok. What actually happened is that we decided to get rid of the guys who were mowing our lawn. (They did a horrible job as you can see in the photos.) Smiling, I convinced my biostatisitician husband that there way NO WAY he'd have time to mow. He smiled and said, "If you want to take care of the grass, that's fine with me."
2. "So you won't mind if create a veggie gardens this year?" I asked.
"Knock yourself out," he said.
I hate grass. I just hate it. It sucks up water, creates a waste area of toxic chemicals and pollutants, causes cancer in dogs... bleck! I just hate it.
A fact that my husband of 11 years forgot.
3. I had a few old manuscript drafts laying around. In March, I laid the manuscripts over the grass and put some homemade compost on top.
Death to grass! :)
4. "I was thinking about maybe a rose bed in the back."
"Just tell me where to dig," he said.
This is the other side of the path. Rosie loves me so much that she killed this grass by herself.
Go Rosie Go!!
5. Beautiful Rose garden, wouldn't you say? Four roses - three Aromatherapy and one yellow nameless. Purple spring iris and daffodils/crocus along the edge.
Now wouldn't you say that's better than grass??
6. A French Intensive garden starts with double digging the bed. Basically, you take off the first 12 inches (layer 1) and set it aside. Then you take off the next 12 inches of soil (layer 2). Under that you add compost (we used Clay buster). Then you put layer 1 back. Another bag of compost and layer 2 goes on top.
7. Truth is? My husband is never happier than when he has a shovel in his hand. He just loves digging in the dirt. That's part of the reason this system works so well for us.
8. Of course, "we" had to deal with the tree stump.
9. How does it look? like? Funny you should ask!
We had to use "clay buster" compost because our compost is mostly clay. This bed was created in late April. It takes at least a month for the soil to return to bioactivity after grass
Ok, it doesn't look like much - but you can plant at least 2x the amount of plants in this bed due to the soil prep.
We will have three French Intensive beds.
10. After the dirt work, French Intensive gardening is about companion planting. This means that everything that draws nitrogen is planted next to something that gives nitrogen. Therefore, we never deplete the soil, only improve it.
Short version: we plant a lot of beans. Rosie loves beans.
Also, some plants enhance the growth of other plants. Some plants hurt the growth of other plants. For example, Lettuce, Radishes, and Carrots do really well together. Whereas, onions and garlic don't do well next to peas and beans.
11. If you are really on it, you plant seeds two days before a new moon. Unfortunately, the growing season is sooo short here in Denver, that it's almost impossible to do that. I'm not about to lose 2 weeks of growing while I wait for a new moon. Period. The idea is that the moons gravitational pull draws water to and from a plant.
12. Here's our garden plan for this year:
13. A lot of this information came from a book called How to Grow More Vegetables
by John Jeavons. I was given this book about 10 years ago when the book was out of print. (My copy is circa 1995.) Although it can be technical, if you want to grow a lot of vegetables, this book will teach you how.
How about you? What are you growing this year? Leave your plans in the comments and I'll add them to this post.
- Sandy Carlson says she has "to try double digging (not double dipping?)!"
- Janet is growing: "tomatoes, jalapenos, strawberries, basil, rosemary, two kinds of mint, sage, cilantro (altho I?ve not had much luck with it), and a couple of other herbs, I haven?t decided what yet."
- Laura "always plant(s) lots of potatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans, peas, broccoli, peppers and tomatoes."
- Susan Helen Gottfried "likes pretty plants."
- Tommie says, "If we are around for more than one growing season, we try to do a mini pizza garden: tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil, etc. The kids love it!"
- Colleen "planted corn, swiss chard, dill, marigolds, and zinnia. No manuscripts though."
- Forgetfulone is "in the midst of replanting shrubs in our front yard. We had red tips, but I would like to plant a variety of garden plants and some flowers, too, but I?m still looking. Lily of the Nile is one I like, philodendrons (not sure of spelling), a small palm, perhaps a juniper tree, pansies, and who knows what else."
- Julia is "a flower gardener, especially since our yard has a lot of shade. I do grow herbs but mostly for aesthetic reasons. I garden with my mom (my husband and I live with her) and we compromise on our gardening styles. My mom likes to impose order on nature, and I like to have a garden that seems to erupt from nature. Between the two of us, we have a lovely yard."
- Are we there yet mom is "planning to plant a Pizza Garden with them, with tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant. Next year it will be a Sunflower House with Morning Glories."
- Toni has "2 types of potatos and 2 types of onions as well as radishes growing. In a month or so we will also have peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatos, okra and probably one or two other surprises?"
- Hazelnut "keep(s) things simple by using containers, a variety of sedums (less watering), and native grasses. I love the look and sound of the grasses when a breeze is blowing."
- CajunVegan says, "I was just talking to the hubs about starting an herb garden. Fresh mint ? rosemary ? cilantro ?"
- Josie is "growing Clematis, Geraniums, Nasturtiums, Forget-me-nots, Petunias, Hollyhocks, Snapdragons, Roses and whatever else I feel like planting."
- Michael C is trying to "grow his hair out."
- Ornery's Wife is growing "herbs, weeds and a lot of grass."
- Shaunesay grew bunnies in her pots last year.
- Di grows complacent.
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