"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Thursday, April 30, 2009

O.K. the Vegetable Garden

Dont laugh at my small vegetable garden!  This spring we worked hard to expand it to twice its size, and to move it away from the fence and tall building on the east side that was shading it. It's about 25x15 feet now. There is room to expand it to the south and west also. At the north I plan to put a fruit tree of some kind. We were able to expand the garden because we had an old half dead Hack-berry tree at the south end cut down. This tree dropped huge limbs regularly and we were afraid that it would fall on our neighbors garage. We had the company that cut it down (for a hefty fee) leave us the ground up whole tree! This is the mulch you see on the garden. The picture of the pile above has already had a big dent taken out of it, and it extends halfway into the alley. We mulched the whole vegetable garden and have made two walkways in the yard with it and it is still not all gone!

So far what we have planted to make this a more productive property:


One Peach
Two plums (both died and we now have wild root stock growing. Should have just planted a wild plum!)
Two fig trees (I love figs!)
Thornless blackberry
Pomegranate (existing) Does anyone know how to juice this?
Pecan tree (existing and fruiting)


Bell peppers
Green beans
Bartollo shell beans
Lima beans
Yellow squash
Butternut squash
Malabar Spinach

I had to plant most of the beans in amongst the broccoli and spinach and lettuce, since I will be harvesting those soon and I dont have much room. I plan on trying to grow more lettuce behind those vine supports. It might work. God please bless my garden : )

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rain Barrels

When I told Garry I wanted to expand the vegetable garden he said water is too expensive and we have to find a way to save water. He built me these rain barrels. The over flow is now connected to the big blue barrel, and both barrels now have spigots. I watered the whole vegetable garden once with the big black barrel, but I dont know how deep the watering went. We had half an inch of rain yesterday that filled both barrels half full. This is from just the front half of the garage roof. Its been raining all around us today, but not at my house! Grrrr, Garry really wants to test the new arrangement. Maybe it will rain tonight. We could get a lot of water from this property if we had a cistern. I'm not sure what the city would think.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Inspiration

My inspiration for a dream garden has always been the garden of my French grandmother. This was situated out in the country on somewhere around 10 acres. The back half was all wild woods, and the front half was all garden and house. There were no lawns, only the house surrounded by a gravel court, and gravel paths radiating out from this space through beds of all shapes and sizes. The beds were not separated into flower, vegetable and orchard sections, but everything was grown together - flowers with vegetables, fruit trees with flowers and herbs- it seemed pretty fascinating to me. 

My best memory of that place is always being outdoors all day long playing with my brother and sisters while snacking on plums, apricots, currants and raspberries anytime we wanted! These are the things I remember being in the garden: Pears, Cherries, plums, apricots, currants, raspberries, and maybe apples. I'm not sure which vegetables, but I think for sure salad vegetables, potatoes and carrots at least (obviously I wasn't eating these right out of the garden or I would remember :), roses and all kinds of flowers. There was a huge cement Japanese lantern and orange slugs as big as two grown-men's thumbs put together (we were fascinated with these), and there was an 80 year old gardener who had worked for my 90 year old grandmother for a long time, who we were afraid of. There was also a big cement trough on the side of the house for washing clothes in!

I remember that the cherries had little worms. At first we would crack the cherries open looking for the worms, but this caused your hands to be stained bright red. After a while we discovered that you couldn't taste the worms anyway, so if you didn't look, you could eat the cherries with a clear conscience!

These were very happy times for me and have always been in the back of my mind when I thought of the ideal garden. If she had had chickens and rabbits, or something like that, then this would have been my idea of what an urban homestead could look like. 

Now my Texas grandmother's garden had originally been a real urban homestead. In this small Texas town all the town lots were very large and everyone had the back half fenced off for a milk cow and a barn. They had big gardens and chickens and all that. By the time I knew the place, the original lot had been divided into three and had three houses on it- no more barns or cows. Everyone was now "modern" and bought all their food at the grocery store. However I do remember the wonderful smell of a fig tree on a hot afternoon as you crouched behind it in a game of hide and go seek, that grandmother had a bay tree that you could pick bay leaves right off of, and that she would make us a pecan pie if we would gather the pecans and pick them for her, and that if we walked under the mulberry trees barefoot eating the mulberries we would get purple feet!

So here I am now finally owning my own home at 48 years old. It's not in the country, but it is a third of an acre corner lot in a small town. And this blog will be about how I hope to transform this lot into a productive place reminiscent of my inspirations.