Monday, December 28, 2009

Gardening itch

At about this time of year, each year I begin to miss my garden. I have played around with the idea of coming up something that allows me to have a winter garden for a few years now, but it just doesn't make sense to do anything when we could be moving anytime now...What I would really love are a set of cold frames, a greenhouse and a storage cellar. I think part of the reason I begin dreaming of my garden at this time of year is that I miss it! Right now I only have swiss chard and an artichoke plant left. My broccoli has frozen. I still have a lot of carrot plants that I left in the ground as a means of storage. The problem is for the past few years my garden has not been going well. I think I am still adjusting and learning about what it really takes to garden where the summer temperatures reach 110+ regularly throughout the summer. The winters here are cold, but not THAT cold and it seems like I could actually have a nice winter garden if I knew how. I think the answer to my problem would really be joining the Oasis Garden club here in town.
I have also been looking recently into more natural soil enhancment. I think a lot of my problem the past two years has been poor soil. I added manure, but that's it as far as amendments go. I don't want to use a fertilizer that is going to have serious ecological implications. The way that a lot of fertilizers are produced, as well as the consequences of their use are just too great a price to pay. I have done some research recently about how to naturally enhance soil. I think crop rotation plays a big part in it, as well as companion planting.
Here is a great website I found It seems like the easiest option for me would be to take a trip to the beach and gather some seaweed, take it home and work it into the soil. If only I could convince Elliot to let my put bags of seaweed into his car for the three hour car ride home from the beach!
Another aspect of gardening that I am dying to try is natural pest control. I have been just letting nature take it's course as far as pests go, which resulted in %50 of my tomato plants being consumed by cutworms over the course of two days. While I think that healthier plants will decrease the number of pests, so the seaweed fertilizer should help some with it, I also think that an army of cutworms could take down even a very healthy garden. My solution- beneficial bugs!! This is the package I'm thinking of buying when I get a good garden up and running again:,default,pd.html?SC=XNET8419

It is $39 for all these bugs, but you can get cheaper, smaller packages too, which I may end up doing. I wish Z was old enough to help me in the garden, or at least hang out with me while I worked. Maybe I can keep him in the new Mei Tai when it gets here. :) Next year I want to try some heirloom veggies, as well as some heat resistant ones. I have always wanted to grow some berries, but I wonder how well they would do here. We'll see!! I am craving the taste of a huge ripe Zebra tomato fresh from the garden on a slice of sourdough bread with some fresh mozzarella on top. Mmmmm....
Tonight it's asparagus, chicken and quinoa.

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