Hi all. I thought I'd share a few pictures of my gardens are looking so far. I have two gardens this year: my 96 sqft Community Garden plot and my new 400 sqft land share plot.
The Community Garden is only a 5 minute walk from my apartment, so I'm using it more as a "kitchen garden" with plants that need to be picked more frequently or need more maintenance. The above photo was taken a week and a half ago and everything has grown so much since then. This is an exciting time of year when vegetable plants seem to double overnight. My basil plants (right) are growing in beautifully. This is the best basil I've ever grown. The cabbages (left) were off to a great start, but now have signs of cabbage worms. I'm not sure if there is an organic solution that will effectively kill the worms.
I'm also growing small amounts of snow peas, scallions, kale, beets, carrots, parsley, cilantro, spinach, arugula, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, dill, fennel, two tomatoes, a lot of bush beans, and I'm trying the potato box again. There were four parsnips that were already growing in the garden this Spring. I had planted them last season, but they didn't come up then. I pulled all but one of them because they were as big as bushes and were crowding out the other plants. The three that I pulled had very small parsnip roots- not big enough for eating. I'm leaving the last one in (left) as an experiment; maybe it's root will beef up over the Summer.
My new land share plot has been a lot of work to get ready. I met a woman on a hike last Fall and she happened to mention that she had a rental property with an old, abandoned garden on it. She offered to let me garden there for free (water included) as long as I use drip irrigation hoses for watering. The garden is 400 sqft and is located on the other side of town from my neighborhood, about 15 minutes by bike. Mark and I tilled the soil and added a truck load of compost last Fall, but the whole garden had to be re-tilled again this Spring. The soil, unfortunately, is of very poor quality. It compacts easily, is light brown and rocky, and does not retain moisture well. It is also full of weeds. I think it will take years of adding compost before the soil will be especially fertile. Last Fall, Mark and I dismantled the crappy, old fence that was around the garden and put up a new, much better one this Spring. We used all reclaimed materials that were buried in a junk pile in back of the apartment building.
Since this garden is further away from my house, I planted it mostly with lower maintenance crops that will be ready to harvest around the same time in the Fall. It's my "root cellar garden." One of the apartment tenants is gardening in about 50 sqft of my new garden and my remaining 350 sqft is full of garlic (which I dug up on Monday), beets, carrots, fennel, cabbages, fingerling and California white potatoes, pumpkins, blue hubbard squash, and salmon falls river squash. There are also a few peas, tomatoes, zucchini, sunflowers, and calendula stuck in there. Cilantro and mustard greens self-seeded throughout the garden, an unintentional gift from a previous gardener. I'm letting them flower and go to seed again, since that's how they got here.
The photos don't do my new garden justice as it just looks like a jungle of green, but I'm quite proud of it. It is certainly an aesthetic improvement to the property. I think the prayer flags that I made are a nice touch. The automatic watering timer that I purchased and set up is working, however I only purchased two 100 drip foot hoses for the entire 400 sqft. The timer and hoses were expensive, but I should have bought at least two more drip hoses. The slow drip of the hoses allows water to soak deep into the soil, but only directly were the hoses are. Many areas of my garden where the hoses aren't laying are totally dry. I am concerned that I am growing small, puny onions and beets because they aren't being watered enough.
"Abundant sunshine" is the indefinite weather forecast here in Montana. Hopefully a few hail-free thunderstorms will come by to help water the gardens.