Thursday, January 22, 2009

Last year, even before the economic meltdown, Brooks and I had decided to promote growing food in with the landscape plants. We have long been sneaking some things into ornamental plantings -- kale, cabbages, blueberries, fruit trees, and the like. Now, we feel like people might be ready for taking the next step. We got to work on garden designs. Ultimately, we felt the old square foot gardening principles best addressed what we want to do: attractive, low maintenance, organic, highly productive, and, did we mention attractive?

Our first endeavor has, of course, been for our personal use. Unable to till a proper garden spot where we live, we plopped our sf beds directly on the concrete pad. We have limited sun throughout the day, especially during the winter, and weren't sure we would get all that much out of it. We began the project in October, a little late by local planting standards, and got an early cold snap in November.

We have been eating out of our little garden almost daily since Christmas. We planted broccoli plants instead of seeds, so they were the first to harvest, and, of course, that meant we ate broccoli almost every day for a while. (Better to plant seeds, so as to stagger the harvest. Happily, we have been harvesting the side shoots and a friend turned us on to the fact that the leaves, too, are quite tasty, so they have been turning up in our stir fry meals.) Oriental greens, which seem to be a blend of different plants, are also quite good in salads and stir fry. The bok choy was unbelievably good. We eat salad from the lettuces almost every night. Trying to hold off on the carrots and let them get a little bigger, but ooooo they look so good. The sugar snap peas are almost ready to eat... maybe another warm day or two. Seriously doubt they'll make it into the house, though. Some things are just meant to be eaten off the vine.

We don't know if the cabbages will ever form a proper head, but are they ever beautiful. Just for the record, planting the five leftover cabbages in one fifteen gallon nursery pot is probably not a great idea, but again, they are so beautiful I don't care. What a perfect ornamental to carry us through til summer.

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