Looking back

With the garden being mostly done for the season, I find myself feeling a little nostalgic. This year was an adventure for me. I was really ambitious- venturing to even have such a large garden the first year we moved in- and I think it paid off. When I was still in the planning stages Jeff definitely had his doubts and occasionally patted me on the head to reassure me that if it didn’t work out so well this year then not to worry much and not to be scared to downsize. Thankfully I shrugged his doubt off, and I was not immune from gloating here and there when he would show off our garden to a neighbor or say something like "Man, our garden kicks some serious ass!" I win. He was really so supportive, when I put my foot down and said I was doing what I wanted with it, he just rolled up his sleeves and helped me to do it. A great partner, that man. He worries too much, but I guess we balance each other out.

I managed to store a lot of food (I’ll have the final tally pretty soon). I kept my expectations low and I treated garden time/research/weeding/whatever like it was a treat- a welcome respite in the midst of a hectic world. I think part of what gave me that perspective was the fact that we bought this house and I was feeling grateful about even being able to have any of it. I had so much to feel grateful for this year. I hope I stay grateful, it made work feel like play.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some pictures. The evolution of the garden, year one.

I found this on the side of the road last week on trash day. It was inside of this huge beautiful basket that I spotted (people really throw this great stuff out!) and wanted for my living room to hold blankets and yoga stuff. It felt so right, too, because engraved on the box it says "Life begins the day you start a garden." I love it.

Breaking ground. My original plan was to create kind of an hourglass shape in the yard outlined by garden, but after watching the light after all the leaves filled in, I vetoed this plan and we’ll expand the garden diagonally to just beyond the shed there. It was a cool shape though.

The first of the raised beds. We had our four cedar beds (from the old house) at the far end of the garden, but when we went to the store to get more we found it was prohibitively expensive. I don’t know what happened, but it jumped in price. We came home a little discouraged but then realized that we had these cement thingies bordering our trees in the front yard. We dug them out and hauled them to the back and built four more beds. We were just a little sore for the next few days. Then we made another bed bordered with bricks at the tip of the triangle there (you can see the pile of compost sitting there on the left). We also had just started the little irrigation system (made almost entirely from free drip hoses! There was a guy just giving them away one day, and so we got a bunch- this was so cool because those hoses are pricey. It was just cool how everything just kind of unraveled for us in that way).

The garden filled in with the teepee trellis I made, the herb and flower gardens (in the pots and bordering the garden).

Planted. Trellises up. Walkways partially mulched- they stayed partially mulched the whole time… We’ll do it next year!

Garden in full-swing. Things are growing well up trellises, everything is pretty healthy. I had some powdery mildew on the squash and cucumbers (I’ve always had it), but I kept it under control by spraying the plants every few days with a milk/water mixture. It really worked!

Here you can see the climbing/trainable plants growing all the way up (and some past) the trellises. The flowers were really nice during this time too.

And this is what it looks like now. There’s only some root veggies and swiss chard out there. It was so strange to clean it all up so quickly and look at it this way. I am excited for next year, though, and I’m grateful for the break from it now.

And now, some pictures from an orchard trip last weekend.

My favorite.

That’s little miss Tuula there, not so little anymore! Amazing how big these girls are now.

Jeff and my brother in law, Obeth, being funny and trying to get the best apples.

And some bonus stuff.

From a frosty morning.

Kale. Before.

And after.

Just from a quiet, glowy morning.

"There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling."  ~Mirabel Osler


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