Maybe I should have titled this embarrassing confessions. My sister was asking if my garden was still green, so I figured this was probably as good a time as any to introduce my garden to all of you. Before you shake your head in shock and disappointment, and ask how I could ever consider myself a gardener, know that my garden doesn’t always look like this. The nasty bermuda grass, spurge and other weeds have gotten out of control because I haven’t been able to do all the gardening I need to because of a back injury I got while having the baby. We have plans that will should address the weed problem and hopefully make my garden productive and efficient again. I’ll post the progress and updates as we go…and maybe all my adventures will inspire someone else to start their own garden. Besides…as GadgetMan once told me, we can’t all have gardens like Martha Stewart…some of us have to pull all our own weeds and squish our own bugs — 2 things that remind this optimistic gardener that the Garden of Eden I do not have. But I try, and that’s what’s important.
So without further ado, let me take you on a little tour…
Just outside my back door, on the edge of my patio, is the Salad Garden — this is the right half. The bottom 2 levels are for lettuce (loose leaf) and/or spinach, while the top is for salad tomatoes. I’m looking for a better type of tomato to go there next year…hopefully something a little more bushy. The one I have there now keeps growing tall, so I keep having to cut it back which cuts back on the production of the poor plant. There’s a pot of peppermint hanging to the left there. The plan is to hang 4 or 5 more pots of different herbs along there next to it. I’d like to try some chocolate mint, lemon balm, stevia, and perhaps some orange mint.
This is the left half of the Salad Garden. Again the bottom 2 are for lettuce and/or Spinach…my kids begged to do the lettuce planting…you can see how clumped it’s growing in some places…and I’m not sure if the seeds on the middle level were bad, or if they forgot that one. Right now the top level has a pot of spearmint, some chives, and some oregano (the real stuff). The plan is to move the oregano to a pot and hang it and hang the spearmint. That’ll give a little more room for the chives and some dill. There’ll still be room for something else on the top level, but I haven’t decided yet. And I have room for 3 or 4 more pots on this side…1 will go to Basil and another to a tophat blueberry, but I haven’t decided what I want in the other ones yet.
On the other side of my patio, just below the Salad Garden, is a patch of shamrocks given to us by GadgetMom when we moved in…”Hi, GadgetMom! Look how wonderful they’re growing there!” This is one plant that isn’t supposed to grow in our climate. But as you can see, it’s flourishing. It’s in a shady spot and gets plenty of runoff from the Salad Garden. Off to the left, I plan on putting in a cherry bush.
To the right of the shamrocks is the Anna apple tree. It’s supposed to be a semi-dwarf if I remember right, so we’re not letting it grow too much taller. This is a variety that matures in the summer instead of the fall, which caught us a little off guard…I forgot :D. It’s only a couple years old, but we got a really good harvest last July. The apples weren’t as sweet as I was told they would be, but apparently they’ll get better each year. Looking forward to that. The little machine you see right under the tree is a mosquito trap. There’s also some weed cloth down to help with the weeds. The plan is to put some rock under there…with a couple big ones towards the back for a lizard habitat.
This is my Flower Fairy Garden, just to the right of the apple tree. Can you see my flowers in there? There’s a whole bunch of Amaryllis in there…another gift from GadgetMan’s mom. She gave us 3…or was it 4?…and last spring we divided the bulbs into more then 60 plants. When they’re all in bloom they look spectacular. But as you can see, the area lost the battle with bermuda grass. The plan is to dig it all up this winter and put down weed cloth…hopefully that will allow us to win the war.
Behind the Flower Fairy Garden is the main garden (the gate in is just to the right of the Flower Fairy Garden. This was my cucumber/carrot/raddish bed…but it lost the battle too. We’re going to dig all the beds out, lay down weed cloth and put in a new mixture of soil…one bed at a time.
That lump of green with green ropey looking things coming out of the top? That’s my blackberry bed. Yep another a battle lost…for now. I can’t dig that one out, but we’re going to do some deep weeding and trimming in the winter. The plan is also to put up bird netting somehow…the birds ate more berries then we did. I love birds…and they can do great things for a garden…but they can be devilish too.
The bed next to the blackberries is currently the melon bed…again, not doing so well against the bermuda grass. Can you see why I hate the stuff with a passion?!?!
Next to the melons is one of the tomato beds. Finally after 2 long years of tomato failings, this year we had success. These are the plants that survived the heat of the summer and I’m hoping will give us another good crop before it gets really cold towards the end of December.
This is the second tomato bed. If we can dig these out like planned this winter, then I’ll plant tomatoes here again. If not, then we’ll switch tomatoes with another bed. I’m also planning on using some plastic mulch around the plants this next year. I’d kind of like to experiment with red and see what results we get.
This was the third tomato bed that got borrowed for onions earlier this year and has a few radishes and carrots. I tried planting some broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, but you can see they didn’t sprout. Probably because of the spurge. See the pile of dirt in the back corner? All of that will be dug out and the corner is going to be my potato corner. I’m debating several potato containers…I’ll explain them all after I decide what to do later. Along the block wall…both sides of the potato corner…will be some more narrow beds. They’ll have a trellis for growing things like cucumbers, melons and peas. I can also grow root crops like beets, onions and carrots. That’s the plan anyways.
Here’s my pepper bed. Right in the very front, last year we had an eggplant that did way better then we expected. There are bell peppers, banana peppers, and a hot plant that wintered over from last year. They’re doing really well, despite the weed infestation. In two places that the pepper plant didn’t make it, I tried a couple tomatillo plants. They’re also doing better then I expected. I’m hoping to try some different varieties of ground cherry next year.
This is my son’s cub scout project, on the area outside the garden. When he brought it home in a handmade box, he couldn’t tell us what he planted. He thought they were pumpkins. It didn’t take long to discover that instead of one or two seeds, he planted about ten! And they quickly grew out of the little box, and because he didn’t want to reduce it down to one plant, I let him transplant them all. As you can see he’s valiantly tried to keep the weeds back, but so many plants in one spot is taking its toll. He is learning some good things, so I won’t interfere…and he’s even gotten a few cucumbers and might get a melon or two. Theplan for this spot next year is another grand plan for something that isn’t supposed to grow here. I want to try some asparagus there. We won’t get much, but I’m really the only one (except one daughter) who will eat it…and I love asparagus.
You can sort of see the garden fence there on the left, with my son’s plant there in the bottom corner of the picture. The tree in the center of the picture, is my pomegranate tree. You can see one little lonely fruit right in the middle. We just pulled off a good couple hundred. I’m in the middle of processing them now and when I’m done, I’ll post the final totals I get. We’re planning to put some weed cloth and a rock lizard habitat under this tree too. That has been one of the best investments we put in. The only thing that needs to be done is prune it back again and figure out a way to support the branches when they’re so heavy with fruit. You can see how bent down the right side is…most of the fruit came from that side. Right behind that side of the bending branches is a small elderberry bush. It’s a bush we brought with us from our other home that we’ve babied and kept alive. It’s another thing that wasn’t supposed to grow here. The plan is to get 5 or 6 more elderberry bushes to go along the back wall…hopefully they’ll shade each other and do well.
In the opposite corner from the pomegranate, is my little dwarf orange tree. I’m hoping that this next year it’ll take off in its growth…there seems to be some new growth lately. Under this tree is a patch of white strawberries. Really small, but absolutely sweet…like candied strawberries! To the right…in the patch of weeds…are a few regular strawberries. I’d like to try some giant strawberries at some point.
Just to the right of my tiny little strawberry patch is my grape haven. By this time next year, the arbor there should be thickly covered. Just off the picture to the right is another bench and arbor. Originally I wanted kiwi there, but they didn’t fair well in our climate. I haven’t decided if I want to try again…or if I want to try some Goji. In between the benches there, is my daughter’s Butterfly Garden. She saved herself for the milkweed plant and is doing all the care. She loves her little garden.
In the middle of the backyard is my grapefruit tree. I am really looking forward to enjoying many yummy fruit from this tree. Like the orange tree in the corner, I’m hoping that some of the new growth is an indication of a coming growth spurt. Under the tree is another patch of white strawberries. The only thing I need to do this winter is cut back some of the strawberries.
My front yard has another orange tree, and a lemon tree. I’ll post more about those later. I’m also planning on adding some rose bushes to the front and some aloe plants. As you can see, I have some pretty big ambitions…I like being an Optimistic Gardener! 😀