Tag Archives: Big Garden

The End

Wow! I can’t believe I am still actually working in Big Garden – all the way to “The End” instead of just Continue reading

Tomato Sacrifices

I’ve been meaning to write about this for about 10 days, but soccer and football and ‘back to school’ took over.

As you know, I always get a late start to my garden because of wet springs – typical here; too large a yard and a need Continue reading

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Gone Fishing?

Wanted to do something to fence in my veggies against deer and saw an inexpensive one in a catalog but Donny convinced me it was too short. (I KNEW this but wanted to believe that some deterrent would be better … Continue reading

What A Difference A Week Makes

I didn’t want to admit it, but before I had that moment of clarity that explained my reluctance to face Big Garden, I didn’t think I would ever see it like this again.

Big Garden 0607014I probably should have taken a ‘before’ to fully explain the difference. Maybe I should interview my new neighbors who moved in last fall when it was at its worst and see IF they ever thought it would look this tidy?!

 

Surely not, if even I lacked faith!

Last weekend, I was still battling with the clean up after tilling and reforming the beds and the paths plus the weeds. After Saturday, everything is in but the marigold seedlings.

What you see in the foreground are the chives bordering the left side – the marigolds go in between. The first dirt beds are arugula on the right and heat wave mesclun on the left with okra to their left followed by the asparagus bed that has ended for the season. Behind them are  the tomatoes and just beyond on the right are the new blackberries with the triangular herbs surrounding the chives/alium diamond. (Still need to convince MacGuyver to make that tutuer I found on Pinterest to replace the defunct bird path.)

Back of BG 060714This behind the scene shot shows the backside of Big Garden where the sprawling crops grow. Stage right is the pumpkin patch; its’ 10′ x 12′ bed (I am adjusting measurements as I realize I have under-estimated in some cases) probably isn’t really big enough for the 5 varieties I have sown, but we will make it work. We typically get a nice number of pumpkins – not enough to sell, but more that we would ever buy and we have a fun Halloween display.

To the left is where the corn – always Silver Queen – was sown last night. We had a three-man team working this and it was the most pleasant experience to date. Usually, it is back-breaking! Significant Other (he is only really interested in the Better Boys and the Silver Queens) put in sticks at each end at 2′ intervals and then laid a tape measure between so that Thing Two could use the dibber to make holes every 6 inches. ‘SO’/MacGuyver  dropped a seed and then I, suddenly and unceremoniously  referred to as ‘Dirt Woman’ (really, no reference to my Kindle book list, I swear!) plopped loose dirt over each hole. We got 232 seeds sown in no time.

And just to the left of that bed are the squashes and melons:  acorn and spaghetti squash, zucchini, and cantaloupe and a yellow watermelon.

The two back edges that are not the corn bed will be bordered with REALLY tall sunflowers – 12-18 feet. When and where did I purchase those seeds? Insane!

What you can’t see if the left half of the front beds. More to come…

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Gazpacho – The Recipe That Started It All

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When I met my husband-to-be, I was not an accomplished cook, but I wanted to be. I vaguely remember making a summertime pasta salad that my parents liked and I think he either ate it too or helped with making … Continue reading

Making Raised Beds

My significant other doesn’t help with Big Garden much but he can be counted on to do the tilling and today, he got up and went to his father’s to borrow their tiller. By the time I got up after sleeping in (he forgot to bring me my coffee – to my bed – something I trained him to do years ago), the beds were all tilled but the dead weeds in the pathways still need much work.

Since I was functioning without caffeine, I didn’t immediately notice that one of my Better Boy tomatoes had disappeared and found itself planted in a white 5 gallon bucked inside the pool fence! Can I call it or what?! This is what being with someone for 25 years does…

Now it was up to me to pull all the loosened dirt into the squares, rectangles, triangles, and diamonds that make up the layout of the garden.

Tilling 053114

I am realizing from this picture that I need to pull compost gold out and add to the beds as the piles of dirt are dwindling. (Since I wasn’t there for the tilling, I didn’t get to direct how deep and wide to go, but compost is always a good addition!)

While I work on that, Donny says he will weed whip the dried up weeds into non-existence in the pathways.

Hopefully, we will get the tomatoes and peppers in tomorrow as well as cut back the rest of the chives – working on that theory that their smell will deter deer. I did spray the borders with Liquid Fence and found a shaker can of Deer Away to try too.

I got an email from Burpee that my seeds shipped Friday, so it will be evenings this week when I get the corn in.

Still and all, we are a little ahead of most years. If I get everything planted, next weekend is all about tearing apart that perennial border.

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Big Garden Plan 2014

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Despite some rain this week, this weekend looks promising for planting Big Garden. I know a lot of serious gardeners would have theirs in already, but it is just not possible here. We always have too much to do to … Continue reading

A Garden Renewed: A Plan

So, here’s the plan, sort of.

Well, I need to backtrack a little. The perennial border on the facing edge of Big Garden is roughly 34 feet long by 3 feet deep. About 10 feet from the left edge is an old garden gate held in place by two 8 feet tall posts that hold two trumpet vines that I only just manage to contain/form an arch over the entrance. (BTW, trumpet vine is one of my invasive species, but I love it, so I am willing to fight its will to get that doorway…)

So, my goal for year one of the reno is to attack those first 10 feet. The next two years will address the remaining border. After 3 years, I really should start over again with the intention to divide what I love, toss the rest (eeks, I can hardly kill a plant, so I will be giving away anything I can’t use that isn’t going to be poison to another’s garden), and find space for improvements.

I’ve already decided I need brighter colors. Big Garden is half an acre from the house so I need orange, yellow, white, purple, magenta, sage green. Currently, the pale pink Campanula, lavender catmint, pink liatris just don’t show up.

Again, I have known this in the back of my mind for a while. I am not an unread gardener; I’ve just been in denial of what needed to be done.

Burn Notice

As mentioned many times this past season, Cincinnati and neighboring areas are suffering a drought – with little sign of abating soon. Falls are typically dry for this area but we haven’t seen more than a couple days of rain since July. While this has produced a nice Fall, weather-wise, yards look horrible, leaves were never quite as beautiful as some years, and the ground is too hard to plant perrennials or bulbs.  So, with those jobs not possible, we really did find the time to do clean up instead of adding another 100 or so daffodils to the Way Back.

With all the clean up, the compost bin and additional hidden piles are full and three large debris piles are resting in Big Garden. The fire pit is also full. While, in 17 years, we have never yet run out of firewood, we are now going into the stockpiling phase and that is not good. When we moved here, the former owner left us two huge piles out in the open – small cars could have rested below the clippings without notice. I can’t bear to see us headed back in that direction!

But, one thing is fairly clear, this Fall is probably not one to enjoy sitting around a fire ring roasting marshmallows and that is a shame! We miss the family time and we will miss the opportunity to invite friends to join us. Not to mention the new-to-us picnic table I stained a lovely shade of purple to use for fire-side entertaining… Guess I will be showing it off in the Spring.

Nov 3 – What’s Next

Well, as suspected, I have not been a good fall clean up gardener… I guess this is just not a realistic goal while I have two boys playing multiple sports – each weekend had the minimum of two soccer games and a football game, if not multiples of each for the both of them. There were several weekends with 5-6 games and on those occasions, the games were not local.
 
So, the cornstalks that did not grace the front door, are still in their square although not really standing. Tomato cages, bean teepees, watering vessels DO still need to be put away but the sunflower heads will remain – the birds can surely enjoy the seeds for some time to come.
 
And, guess what – I am not inspired to do any of these things although my husband has been very good at emptying the remaining pots and dumping pumpkins left behind from my Halloween display. He probably knows I am already into “holiday” mode – planning Thanksgiving and then hitting Christmas with full stride. He was pruing boxwood and the berries from our crepe myrtle boxwtoday and all I could focus on was how the box had been pruned too soon to keep for an advent wreath, but the berries would make a great addition. Since Big Garden is also a cutting garden, I do enjoy bringing in flowers and then learned to “branch out” to other areas of my yard for inspiration.
 
I will also be seeking inspiration for next spring – can’t wait for spring already!