Jim's Garden for 2010
This year I won't try to overwork the Square-Foot Garden in
the front yard, but will instead expand the concept around the
property. The back yard has been divided with a cinderblock and
plank fence that is easy to shift around until we decide exactly
where it should be. Right now, it is behind Raspberry Row (which
includes Blackberry plants as well). The idea is that the fence
will keep backyard athletes from getting stuck on the thorns.
Fred's big barbecue is ready to go (has already been used once
this year) and there is plenty of wood for the pit fireplace from
the scavanged fallen branches of the sycamore.
A new feature this year is Orchard
Lane, set in front of the parking area. During the day, when the
cars are out, that section gets plenty of sunlight.
The "orchard" is made up of a 5-Apple tree and a 2
Cherry Tree. The cats are encouraged to lounge in the backyard to
keep the birds away while seeds are taking root. I think they are
both too lazy and well-fed to actually catch a bird, but the
birds don't know that. The 5 different apples on one tree trunk
are: Fuji, Gala, Jonagold, Braeburn and one label fell off, so
we'll call it Apple Surprise for now. The 2 cherry varieties are
Van, and Montmorency.
The cherry tree I planted two years ago is at the end of the
"lane" nearest the house. It is already bursting with
cherries and we hope to get a pie from it this year. It is just a
"Red" cherry tree, but very sweet, which means everyone
has to sample at least one from the tree. We had plenty of honey
bees to pollinate this year and everyone was very respectful of
them and left them alone to "do their thing."
The Square Foot Garden ( 4' by 4') is in the
front of the house where it gets the most sunlight.I can reach
all of the sections from one of the three sides. I left the poles
up, but I won't put up netting until the beans are in. Right now
there are radishes, baby carrots, celery, iceburg lettuce,
brocoli, sugar snap peas, and some left over mint from last year.
I also left the huge pink clover plants that migrated here from
somewhere. They are good for attracting bees and add nitrates to
the soil. My little pot barbecue is in a shady corner and is good
for tiny barbecue lunches. It is also conveniently near Concord
Way and I can reach out from my chair and pluck concord grapes
To climb the front steps, you have to step over a tiny garden
of impatiens and marigolds. I sometimes sit on the bottom steps
and play my guitar right in the middle of this step garden. I
usually do this at twilight when the bees have all retired for
the night. It's a great place to see fire-flies, however. I have
a little compost bucket in the front where I can get my hands on
a quick supply as needed. The lilies are starting to grow up
behind the hostias and by early summer will cover up that
background with color. I suppose I should call that front section
"Lost Pot Row," but I may figure out what belongs in
all those pots soon. Blueberry Lane has two big blueberry bushes
from last year that have just begun to flower, and I am awaiting
several more of those TV Miracle Blueberry plants. We'll see how
miraculous they are, but in the meantime I have plenty of
The other corner of the front yard is where we sit to eat
under an umbrella table that right now is being used to give the
seedlings plenty of light. Those are Moon Flowers and Sun Flowers
beginning to sprout, along with some Johnny Jump Ups. I had to
get the Johnny Jump Ups because that is the nickname of one of
the cats. Behind the table, the strawberry patch is in blossom
and we check it every day for the first berries. The Apple Bobber
tree was put in three years ago. It produces lots of heavy Gala
apples that bob up and down on the heads of those who dare to sit
under them. It's just going through a phase.
I have several cherry tomato plants growing in
the normal fashion in the square foot garden, but last year the
race for tomatos was won by my milk jug upside down plant, so I'm
trying it again. The race is on! I used different varieties of
tomato last year, but everyone's favorite was the sweet little
cherry tomatoes you could pluck from the vine and pop in your
mouth, so this year the race is between three plants of the same
variety. The milk jug method makes plucking and popping very
easy, so we may lose count of the actual number.
I have another garden on the back steps of the
house. The plants here are used to decorate the backyard at party
time. I don't dare leave the plants in the backyard all the time
because the squirrels pull up the plants and use the pots to
store their winter food supply. By keeping them on the back
porch, the cats keep away the squirrels and it is easy to set the
plants out to decorate when it is time for a party.
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