I've been fairly quiet this summer, and there are a couple of reasons for that. They also played a role in how our garden went this year, so I'll just get into that story.
|We made root salad with the few radishes we got out of the garden. Mmmm...|
We had a couple of really good weeks with the garden. Then Hubby and I both became horribly ill right as our late spring took a surprisingly wet turn. We'd picked solid bottomed pots because North Alabama summers tend to be hot and dry, so imagine our chagrin when this year turned out to be one of the wettest in recent memory. By the time we'd recovered enough to do anything meaningful with the garden three weeks later, half the garden had drowned. Our stakes and cages refused to stay upright, and we ended up fighting black spot and blossom end rot as a result.
Still, we managed to get enough beans to use for seed next year, a couple radishes, several handfuls of tomatoes, and some nice cucumbers. Our geraniums didn't do so well, and the petunias gave out a couple weeks ago. But the marigolds are thriving, and the lavender and rosemary I set out front is growing well. We're hoping to be able to harvest next summer.
Once I'd recovered from being sick for a month, I spent an intense two and a half weeks restocking and creating 2015's new fragrance lines. Then lightening struck the office where I still work one day a week, and I got a devastating sinus infection because engineers were obliged to crawl around in the ceiling to replace burnt out wires and all the gunk that stirs up. I recovered just in time for Con Kasterborous, and I've been busy since taking inventory and starting preparation for the shows coming up in October.
So what have we learned from our first year with a family garden? First, the patio thing just isn't going to work for much. We will probably keep a few of the larger pots to grow things like pumpkin, flowers, and herbs, but they aren't going to cut it for the vegetables. So we've been setting aside a bit every paycheck to go toward some nice, big raised beds and a compost bin.
|See. That's our yard in the fall of 2010.|
We hope to be able to put the beds in this fall using the lasagna gardening method to kill off grass and weeds while providing nutrients for future crops. Lord knows we have more than enough leaves to rake up and lay over the bottom layer of cardboard thanks to the plethora of maple trees in our neighbor's yard. Plus, it will give me a use for the stack of boxes my soaping supplies have come in, especially since I only need six or seven to pack up the soap and things for shows.
The original plan called for keeping the patio garden for another five years or so before we put the first raised vegetable beds in. Silly us thought it'd work well enough that we'd need the pergola for growing grape vines and both beds for the fruit bushes first. But because we'd planned the entire thing out, we know where we want to eventually have everything, so placing the first vegetable bed in years before these other ones closer to the house shouldn't cause a big problem.