Nice Days and 2012’s Summer Garden!

I skipped posting yesterday because my mom came to visit us for the day. Hula Girl couldn’t have been happier to have her Grammy here. We went to the park in the morning (it was 65 degrees and beautiful outside!) then we came home for lunch, and Hula Girl took her nap. After she woke from her nap, she and Grammy played “golf” with Hula Girl’s toy broom and some small balls we have around the house. Oh yes, that was a screaming-laughter kind of good time. πŸ™‚

Today is another gorgeous day, but it’s so windy! Faithful readers (all three of you, haha!) know that it’s pretty much always windy here. I am getting concerned that it will be super windy this summer. That will mean less fun out in the backyard. I mean, Hula Girl won’t be able to play happily in her sandbox if the wind keeps blowing sand in her eyes. It will also be bad for our lawn and garden- we’ll definitely have to install a drip-system for our garden so the water doesn’t evaporate as soon as it leaves the hose.

Jonathan raked/shoveled away about 400 square feet of rock in our backyard this weekend to clear the patch for our lawn, and he’ll also have to rake/shovel another 400ish square feet of rock so our garden can have a place to grow. Our landlord agreed to pay for sod so that Hula Girl can play in grass this summer. It will be nice for her, because we’ll have a lot available outside. We’ll have the baby pool, sand box, grassy area, basketball hoop, picnic table, slide, lawn mower, wheelbarrow, hula hoops, balls, chalk, and wagon in the backyard. I am even planning on giving her a tiny patch of space in the garden and letting her grow something there (with a lot of help from me). I am excited that she’ll have a grassy area to roll around in, and that we can set out blankets to have a picnic. It will be nice when the backyard is not just a rocky expanse. I totally understand the point of it where we live- I mean, cacti grow here really well, so I’m betting grass will consume a lot of water and fertilizer. But it will be totally worth it when we can go barefoot in the grass and run through the sprinkler!

And yes, we’ve decided to have a garden again this year. We’re going to be scaling back as far as size, but we’re really doing a lot of research about our soil and all the additives we’ll need to use. We’re planning to rent/borrow a rototiller to get that extra compost/fertilizer down deep before we plant, and we’re going to install a drip-system so we can water better. We’re also going to be using mulch to cover the ground and there will be two sections of garden that we’ll cover with a trellis or netting so they’ll be partially shaded. I think last year’s garden would have had much more success for us if we had provided a bit more shade, a bit more compost, and a LOT better watering. It just gets too hot here to rely on the twice-a-day sprinkler-style watering. Things sure sizzle around here; the mulch should really help provide some insulation.I also think the mulch will come in handy when we have our monster thunderstorms. Less erosion=happier garden.

We have not sat down and decided exactly what things we’ll be planting this year, but I’m sure of a couple of items: strawberries, tomatoes, basil, sweet peas, green beans, zucchini and summer squash. Provided that we have space and that Jonathan agrees, I’d also like to do some lettuce, broccoli, kale, green onions, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkins. I’m thinking we could even do the large squash and melon plants out in the front yard. Maybe we’ll put in a few raised beds out there. We have a lot of bare ground in front of our house, and it gets sun all day long. Great place for squashes and melons!

I’m also considering putting some native plants in the front of the house. I looked up a few grasses and flowers that are suitable for this environment (aside from cactus varieties), and there are quite a few options. I have started calling garden centers in the area, but no one has any good leads so far. You’d think that in this harsh environment, where it’s ridiculous to think of growing pretty much anything, native plants would be wanted. But apparently everyone loves those pansies. And petunias. Silly.

Oh, and I’m also going to do a vertical herb garden with a cheap over-the-door shoe holder. We have a nice spot that gets lots of morning sun and afternoon shade, and relatively little wind on the balcony outside our bedroom. I’ll be doing simple herbs there like mint, catnip (for Riley), wheat grass (also for Riley), basil, oregano, etc. The nice thing about it is that cats and other animals can’t get to it, and it will be fun to look at some fresh greenery every morning when I go outside to do my Bible study before I get Hula Girl. Maybe I’ll even throw in a few flowers, just to pretty it up a bit! πŸ™‚

I will be doing a lot more garden research in the next week, and we plan to start some seedlings next weekend. I am beyond excited for that! Any gardening tips and/or plans of your own? Share, share!

 

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7 Comments

  1. Kristy said,

    March 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Exciting! I am a major novice gardener, especially compared to you, but I can say that we decided on container gardening this year. So far we have tomato, strawberry, green onion, marigold, and broccoli sprouts in containers. Only green onions are outside at this point, so we will see what happens. I’ll take your warning about twice-a-day watering seriously and check the plants as often as possible once they’re outside. It is so dry here over summer!

    • March 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      I love the idea of container gardening- I plan to incorporate it as time goes on. Especially for things like tomatoes and peppers- it just makes more sense to do a container. When the thunderstorms hit, they’re portable! The way we have it, when we get hail or large raindrops, we have to cover them with blankets or sheets- not ideal.
      The thing about my twice-a-day watering is that we were watering into the air and letting it fall on the plants- highly ineffective. The water never got into the ground, down to the roots. Our plants were just thirsty. I recommend watering as close to the soil as possible (with as gentle a spray/stream as possible too, to prevent erosion). But that might be a “duh” for you!
      I hope your summer garden yields some great produce for you! I can’t wait to save moolah on our grocery trips!

      • Kristy said,

        March 7, 2012 at 7:23 am

        Thanks! No, hardly any gardening advice is a “duh” for me. πŸ™‚

  2. Rachel said,

    March 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    There are two ladies in Rye who specialize in native plants. I’ll ask my mom what their business is called. She has gotten lots of plants from them over the years.

    • Rachel said,

      March 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      I also highly recommend the drip hoses. You can buy them at any big box home improvement store and they make watering so much more effective.

      • March 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

        yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I plan to just kind of lay it down in a tight zigzag across the length of the garden.

    • March 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      like button! Thanks!


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