Thursday, May 31, 2012

First harvest!

First, an update on the wood chips. We used about half of the pile ourselves on Friday. Then some friends of ours came and took two van loads away over the weekend for their own yard, ingeniously (I thought) bagging the chips in lawn bags to eliminate a mess in the car. After that I posted an offer on freecycle and craigslist and didn't get any takers, so on Sunday I bought some posterboard and put up a sign in the front yard that said "FREE WOOD CHIPS" with an arrow pointing back to the driveway. I put a second sign on the pile itself that said "FREE WOOD CHIPS (tell all your friends!)" On Monday, our neighbor from down the street showed up on his backhoe tractor and hauled about half the pile away over the course of the morning. As if by radioactive decay, half of what was left had disappeared by the time I got home from work yesterday. Since it was supposed to rain today and there were barely three full wheelbarrow-loads left, I shoveled up the last of it and added it to our mulch pile yesterday evening. I'd definitely say the $1.40 I spent on posterboard was worth every penny to get the garden finished out with wood chips this year! I forgot to mention this in the last post, but we did lay landscaping fabric (which we already had in the shed) down before we put the chips in the garden. We didn't stake it since the weight of the chips will hold it, but I wanted the chips to have help holding back the grass. I didn't put fabric in the bottom of my raised beds before I added dirt, and that was a mistake. I have to pull grass sprouts out of the pepper bed and blueberries almost every day. I may have to move the dirt around and stuff fabric underneath next year before I add plants, so my advice is definitely to line the bottom of your beds if you're building them in a weedy or grassy area.

We got our first harvest already this year, although really it wasn't much to brag about. I picked one pepper from the red chili plant (Though it was not red and I actually picked it by accident…I was trying to move the pepper out from the dirt and it snapped off. It's probably not ripe, but hopefully it'll be edible.) and we had one teeny strawberry on one of our three remaining plants when we got back from vacation. I let Nico eat that and though he didn't seem impressed, he did ask for more once he'd eaten it. Right now the peppers, cucumber, and humongous zucchini plants all have blossoms. Everything has grown very well despite the dry conditions (no rain to speak of since planting until today), and after looking through the first photos I took tonight, I'm surprised at how big everything is already getting. Hopefully soon we'll start getting veggies and fruit!

20120531 first pepper
20120531 caged peppers
During my first year of gardening, my peppers got very tall and leggy and blew over in late summer storms. Since then I've used small tomato cages to keep them upright and steady. These cages are way too small for tomato plants, anyway!

20120531 first strawberry
First tiny strawberry! It was about the size of my thumbnail.

20120531 berry taster
Nico didn't seem that impressed.

20120531 snail shells
some empty snail shells I found while digging out the last of the big weeds on the left side of the garden so we could lay down wood chips


Ruth said...

it is crazy how fast the plants grow. In my garden, except for the peppers, everything is just huge! (Or it seems so to me since I have never really done this before)

EvilDucky77 said...

Wouldn't fabric at the bottom of the raised beds make the beds too shallow for the vegetable roots? Hmm...

velocibadgergirl said...

I was thinking the roots could get through the fabric, but to be safe newspaper lining would probably be a much safer bet!