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UnexpectedApril 12, 2009


Look at that! We didn't expect this harvest! In cleaning up the yard yesterday afternoon, I found a thick stand of something hiding in the grass that had infested my square foot garden. I pulled -- green onions! Loads of them!

And Lala harvested a bunch of collards from her garden, and there is SO much rainbow chard, and that makes us happy, since last week we had some and IT IS SO GOOD.

Amount of care put into our gardens in the last six months = 0.

Okay,  I weeded my garden once, in preparation for putting in seeds a couple of months ago. Then I didn't put in any seeds and the goddamned bermuda grass grew back. I'll just have to be diligent in pulling it out more regularly from now on.

Yesterday was so unexpectedly productive in the garden. Lala was on a mission to move her whole 4X4 squarefoot garden from its concrete pad (yes, the grass attacked us on a concrete base) to the yard below, and I got home from my RWA meeting in time to help. We'd put the gardens on weed cloth two years ago, that was awesome, because basically, she took lifted the plywood frame, moved it out of the way, and then we lifted the whole garden and moved it to the cardboard base she'd laid out on the grass. Then she put the frame back on.

The chard and collards didn't even seem to notice:

(That's one of our tremendous artichokes in the foreground.)

We hate the grass. Well, what we hate is that it's bermuda grass and foxtails, a horrid combination. I mowed the "lawn" yesterday (using the lawnmower I got on Craigslist for twenty bucks -- I'm the only person who can start it. It takes more than a hundred pulls  to get it to turn over), but the real goal is to cover everything with cardboard and then build up mulch on top of it. (Anyone with a line on free mulch in the Bay Area? We have a HUGE driveway, ready to receive it.)

And me, I weeded (again) my bed, leaving the onions, adding a zucchini (I know, I know, but I love zucchini bread).

Then I went CRAZY with the seeds. I'm working on a polycultural garden. Doesn't that sound cool? (Yes, we're living by The Urban Homestead. LOVE this book.) A polycultural garden is one in which you sow the seeds of everything you want to grow, hopefully things that have different maturation dates. Since I sowed just about everything, I think I did well in that category. You eat the baby things as they grow, allowing a little room for other things, but what you want eventually is a pretty dense chaotic tangle of plants. As you eat through one thing, say, the radishes, then you fill in the holes that occur with other seedlings as the season progresses.

It was hard for a type-A person like me to throw seeds willy-nilly, but it was good fun, too.

For posterity and my inability to remember a thing, here's what I sowed:

Stumpy carrots
Golden beets
Rainbow beets
Dark red beets (oh, for one homegrown beet, full failure last year)
Lemon cucumbers
Buttercrunch lettuce
Rainbow chard
Super bush tomatoes
Heirloom baby leaf lettuce
Italian bush beans
Foxglove and columbine, for fun.

Hopefully out of all those, I'll get some nice return on investment. I can't kill everything, can I? Hmmm.

We also set out ten tomatoes, including two different heirloom types (including Mr. Stripey! I want a Mr. Stripey!) and two Early Girls.

Now, today, on an unexpected Easter off, we are going to the store to prepare for an impromptu dinner to which we just invited sisters and brother. I think we'll do the traditional Easter sushi roll-yer-own dinner, followed by Pavlova and hot cross buns. Time to get my ass in gear.

But you know what I have for you?




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I know where to find free mulch! And, I have a pick-up that might be available for loan.

Hey, if you need any veggie or flower seeds, lemme know. I have more than I'll every grow, seriously.

And we seriously need to talk about a chicken tractor. You won't have to cover and mulch the lawn if the chickens eat it first. Carol and I are getting plans for a build-yourself tractor. You could do it too....

Yum, chard! But are you sure you really wanted TEN tomato plants?! Have your canning jars ready when they all come ripe!

You guys must have crazy muscles to be able to LIFT 4x4 feet of garden! The veggies look great and so do the boys.

Whoo-hoo! That's awesome!

I've been dying to make a Pavlova but have no desire to eat one. Go figure. You'll have to let us know how it turned out.

How did I miss the fact that you and Lala are gardeners? Your post illustrates what I was writing about on my blog today. There is work involved in gardening, but sometimes you can just throw seeds out there and let nature take care of them.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I've been looking for one that is aimed at people like me trying to do survivalist-type stuff in a more urban setting.

Call around to some of the tree trimming companies. In Seattle, they'll put you on a list and dump a truckload of free woodchips at the end of their day when they are working in your neighborhood. Be prepared for a pile the size of a small pickup, though. ;-)

I find it really funny that to rescue your garden from the grass, you had to move it off the concrete onto THE LAWN. Bermuda grass sucks.

And I second the recommendations for chickens to eat your grass. They're terribly destructive, which can be a good thing when it comes to grass like that.

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