Sunday, May 23, 2010

Allison, Allison, what do you grow? Lots of fruits, herbs and veggies you know.

This week I am posting photos of my garden. I picked up my beef share this week and now my freezer is very full. I never really had anything but flours in there anyways - but now I can't get anything else in there. 

This week I'm also harvesting some artichokes, shallots, carrots, peaches, rhubarb, fava beans and garlic. Our CSA, Seabreeze is still filling in the gaps of the garden. I've planted some lettuces however, I've been so busy working that I have skipped a few days of watering so they've not germinated :(.

After I make the cobbler, preserves, crisp, pot roast, artichoke dip, and fava bean fettuccine I will post photos and recipes.

I wanted to share how I started my garden and how long it took to get it really producing. 
Our plan:
Amend soil (fall - when the first few rains happen)
Make landscape plans
Agree on what to grow
Research for our soil and climate - plus companion planting and planting for beneficials
Mulch like crazy
Get seeds and starts
Start planting (January - when new year rains start)
Cloche and cover
Check soil and water
Thin sowing
We also planted herbs and lettuces in pots near the house for easy use
Keep up with composting so that we could use it
Books we read:

The Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking

The Organic Garden (A practical guide to natural gardens, from planning and planting to harvesting and maintenance) 

Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (Paperback)

California Top 10 Garden Guide: The 10 Best Roses, 10 Best Trees--the 10 Best of Everything You Need - The Plants Most Likely to Thrive in Your Garden ... Important Tasks in the Garden Each Month

Plus I have had a subscription to Organic Gardening for about 4 years.

How do you really start such a project so that your soil will LAST and be full of slow release sustainable food for your plants? How do you get nitrogen that plants need into the soil without buying heaps of stuff?

Two years ago we bought some Crimson Clover from Peaceful Valley Garden Supply I order most of my seed and starts from there. We had about 6k sq feet in the very back of our lot to create a vegetable garden. The soil in some places was great because the previous owners of our house composted...what genius!

However, most of the area we wanted the garden to be was used as a dumping ground for yard waste and concrete. I must mention we had many mustards growing here. Mustards are really good at improving soil quality, but we wanted to use this space so they had to go. We had to clear this, till the land and plant our green manure - the clover. And we needed to plant the clover around the rain schedule for the fall/winter (Nov). Here in Southern California we don't see a single drop of rain for MONTHS on end - yeah fog here and there but real rain that makes stuff grow - not for 5-6 months straight. But we got the clover seeds out and the rain helped sprout them and up came our field.

It was beautiful and grew very well. After it was about 18 inches high we went out and weed whacked it all. Then my husband tilled it all under. This green then rots in the soil and makes it nice. We had started a compost pile a while before so some of that also went out onto the lot.
I think that thing was tilled at least 3 times, maybe 4. Let me say now - this is hard work, but extremely rewarding.

We weren't quite ready to plant until March, but when we did, many things went in, over the next year and a half we put in an almond tree, another apricot, artichokes, broccoli, corn, carrots, fava beans, haricot verts, olive trees, grapes, squashes, zucchini, leeks, onions, shallots, garlic, potatoes, berries, cherries, herbs, lettuces, tomatillos, flowers for beneficials and cutting. We have apples, nectarines, plums, mangoes, pineapple guava and peach. 

We can eat out of our garden, however, our apples and some of the other fruit trees are too young to supply us with what we need right now so we need to supplement - hence the CSA subscription.

Here's a link to more photos of our garden:!/album.php?aid=223531&id=585101538

I'll post those recipes as soon as I make them!

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