Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gettin' down and dirty

Last year we enjoyed two Florida growing seasons over at the Springfield Community Garden; I wrote about that here and occasionally made mention of the home-grown bounty we brought home if we didn't forget to swing by, water and harvest amidst the initial renovation chaos.

At the end of the second growing season we decided - with a laughing and a crying eye as we Germans say - to offer up our plot to another neighbor wanting to try community gardening. We really enjoyed working in the community garden, meeting old and new neighbors, taking classes and listening to Amanda's advice but truth be told, we were and still are pretty much tied up at our little old house. Fortunately for us, one half of our small yard gets great sunlight (with a honking big holly providing beautiful afternoon shade in the other half to help us brave those hot Florida summers) over enough hours of the day to raise veggies right here! We built a small raised bed between our two a/c compressors but last weekend we whipped up a new and bigger one in an even better spot.
Granted, I did drive the husband a little crazy sending him to the blue box with hardly any instructions aside from "let's built a raised veggie bed" so lots of phone calls ensued while I was losing my last nerve over another project here at the house. But in the end, the husband came back with the planks we needed and 8 countersunk screws later I had my planter box. After digging up the weeds we covered the bottom with layers of newspaper and added half-ready leaves, compost and shredded leaves to keep the evil nematodes at bay (they live in Florida dirt and stunt your plants' growth). After that we filled up the bed with yummy, rich, lovely potting soil enriched with some more compost and manure.

We planted a variety of veggies and fruit square-foot-gardening style, and between both beds we have
- bunching onions
- Arugula
- lettuce mix
- green bell peppers
- three types of tomatoes
- Cantaloupe
- Cucumbers
- squash
- sugar snap peas
- green beans
- Basil (Thai Basil and Sweet Basil)
- corn

Quite a list, eh? Hopefully this year we won't be growing the $64 tomato but get to try most of the veggies and fruit we planted. Last year's squash season was cancelled due to an invasion of squash bugs, it got too hot too fast before we could grow sick of tomatoes, and the cantaloupe withered and died for no apparent reason.

Can't go wrong with lettuce though!
If you can grow weeds, you can grow lettuce!

Last year's pepper plants seem to be much happier in their new spot this year. So far we're looking at three peppers already! Who knew they overwinter :o) If only we had a bit more yard and permission to keep chicken - I'd so get some silkies to rock my urban farmstead.

How's your urban farming coming along? Anything promising  sprouting yet?

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