Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gardening with neighbors

Of course last year when I was helping my neighbor weed her garden and she was handing me some zucchini to take home along with some tomatoes...

When she mentioned wishing that she had a better place to make a bigger garden.

Her yard is sloped.  Their house in on a hillside that slopes steeply down towards us.

We share the driveway and the well.  And since we get along together so well I just blurted out.

"Well, why don't we do a big garden at my house next year?  I have plenty of room but just no motivation."

And so we agreed to do a garden together.

The nearer it came to planting time, we chatted about what they wanted to grow and what I wanted to grow.  Our lists were similar and we prepared the ground.

We planted both seeds and plants around the start of June.

June 7th.
A monsoon of a rain poured down 2 1/2 inches of rain in 40 minutes.

I watched as the rain created a small flash flood through the garden.  I was pretty sure that nothing would survive. 
But as the photo shows, my neighbors had made 'mounds' for all of the rows.

The spiral was to become a Sunflower Spiral with runner beans climbing them.

To our surprise the garden did not wash away.  Some rows did have seeds wash into other rows and as the plants sprouted, we re-planted.

By July 2nd things started to look like a garden.

Even with another few storms and cool weather things finally started to get underway.

We began to eat lettuce and radishes, the green beans didn't sprout so we replanted them.

The carrots started to poke up in the rows with radishes.  My neighbor planted them together and said that the carrots would start coming on when the radishes were done.
I was a skeptic.
But not any more.

The squash was planted on the edges of the garden so that they could creep into the yard.

The neighbors were afraid that the mules would eat the squash if it crept into the pasture.  
I assured them they would not.

They were skeptics.
Not anymore!
The mules leave the squash plants alone and let them grow into their pasture.

The sunflower spiral is nearly as tall as me on the East side.  This was the side that was not put under water 3 times since we planted the garden.

A word about weeding.  I was skeptical when my neighbor said that we should leave certain weeds.  Now I used to call it 'creeping jenny' and they called it Purslane.
And you can eat it!

Anyway, apparently you can eat many weeds.  Of course I knew that. I've dined on Lamb's Quarters and had Nettle greens and Nettle Tea.

I've even found uses for plantain that grows in the yard but has some wonderful qualities.

I have found also, that purslane helps keep the moisture in the ground so that the veggies can grow when it is dry.

When I try some to eat, I'll let you know if it is any good.

So tonight we dine on some of our wonderful goodies from the garden.
I must say that raising our own little beef and having a garden has its real advantages.

There is something very satisfying when you sit down to a meal and know that not only did you grow all the vegetables in the meal, but you've raised the meat too.

Tonight we are having a fresh salad with cucumbers and the last of the radishes.  Along with  a couple baby carrots that I thinned out of the carrot row.
Beet greens, young red beets and a 'golden' beet, zucchini and summer squash mixed up with some green beans from another neighbor.

I must say that I may have been skeptical at my neighbor's un-traditional way of gardening, but I'm not any longer.

In fact I like the Sunflower Spiral, and the fact that everywhere I turn in the garden, I am looking at fresh food.

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