Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thoughts and Transformations

Yesterday, the town next to us was holding what they billed as a "master gardeners' fair". I was very excited and brought a sample of my compost hoping someone could identify the creepy crawlies in it. I was so disappointed. The fair consisted of four booths, one guy selling raised beds seemingly made from rough pallet wood who yelped in pain each time he touched his work without gloves, another with spindly tomatoes, one selling marginally living flowers and shrubs and a lady with a big hat...none of which were master gardeners. I asked around which wasn't hard to do since I was the only patron of the "fair" and heard the lady with the hat was my best bet at the compost answer. She didn't want to look at my sample, but I politely pushed the issue. She eventually took a side glance at the container and said they were worm eggs; I replied with sarcasm that I had no idea that worm eggs had multiple legs and could run that fast. She waved her hand around and said something to the effect that compost was a living organism and that if I didn't have bugs, then I had problems.


What I did learn is that the town is setting up a community garden where you can purchase a 4x8 raised bed plot for $35 a year. The first year is going to be volunteer work and construction. Next year, hypothetically, will be the first year you can plant. She kept flip flopping if it was going to be a community garden where you'd have your own space, or a teaching garden where you'd plant your own stuff for schools and churches to come in and learn from, meaning they'd be in and around your veggies doing who knows what to your beds which doesn't thrill me. I can't decide if it's something I want to take part in or not. I'd love it because it is full sun and would allow me to plant more of the things I can't put in my sun challenged back yard. However, walking into a community garden run by a group that is shaky on their own dedication to the project has me nervous. I may, more likely, keep it in mind and check on their progress next year, which is a shame since I'd love to be involved in starting something like this, but I don't want to get all involved physically and emotionally and have them drop the ball which seems likely at this point. Maybe I can volunteer over the summer and see where the project is when I go back to school. That way I can form an educated and not simply judgemental opinion.

Otherwise, the transformation from a spring garden to a summer garden is taking place this month. The red radishes, lettuce and broccoli did phenomenally this spring. I think I may limit the spring crops to this next year and leave more blanks to plant summer crops after Easter. Here are the way things are shaping up now. I'll start from the front left and move across and then back.
On the end of the first large bed there is a zucchini peaking it's head out. Next to that are black radishes in front and carrots behind. Radishes are about the size of a golf ball and I pulled another today that rivaled a tennis ball, but they need to get much bigger. I don't know if I'll leave them in to maturity, but thin them to one or two left to mature. The carrots are irritatingly languid. I'm planning on putting sweet potatoes there in the next month so they may not make it. To the right of the bed I have three cantaloupe plants which are more than likely too close together. The small box with the bolting onions (why can't I grow onions? I've tried multiple times) will hold SB watermelon. I figured they can run in with the cantaloupe. I've heard that peppers and melons shouldn't be near each other, so what do I do? Plant peppers on the right of the second box as close to the melons as I can get them. Oh well. live and learn. On the left of the second bed is another zucchini plant just put in today.

The first 3x3 box still has carrots in front and lettuce in back. I put a squash in the middle to mature while the others finish out. The back 3x3 has four bush tomatoes in the corners. They won't bush out so much with the limited sun, so things should be fine having them in that tight space. I left a bucket out there, I now notice. Sorry about that.

You can see how sporadically my larger bed has filled in. On the back row you have four of cucumber, one tomato and three squares of pole beans. Working in the front by the cucumbers, you can see how spotty the bush beans filled in. Something is eating them as they emerge from the ground (I'm thinking the little creepy crawlies, but whatever) I just replanted, so we'll see if I'm luckier the second go around. There are six squares of bush cukes, and the hanging pot with the pole beans I'm hopeful will climb up to the deck railing is blocking a view of the six okra that may or may not make it with the limited sun. I put an okra in the blank spot at the end of the pepper bed and some in a pot so hopefully I can get something out of them one way or another. I also put some soybean seeds in pots in front and in back. If I opt out of the watermelon, the soybeans will also go in the small onion bed.

The peas in the front pot are blooming!'s only taken since early January. They're pale and slowly dying from the bottom up, but they're flowering like mad. I'm glad I left them...we'll see if anything comes of them. I'll be pleasantly surprised if they do.

Granny and EG have calmed my fears about the limited sun in the back yard. Things may not grow as large or produce as much, but if anything I'm hopeful it will do the plants some good in the fierce GA heat of July.

The fierce thunderstorms are here and the morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.


  1. ribbit - Why don't you send a sample of your compost to Auburn University? I know how it would bother you to do it (ha!), but Auburn and Mississippi State are the best agricultural schools in the Southeast. I agree with your thoughts on sparing your garden from the brutal summer temps. I really think it'll surprise you!
    Oh, I almost forgot....War Eagle! Ha!

  2. EG, you're the one blazing the Florida BCS win on your blog, not me. I have loyalties. :)

    Yeah, yeah, War Eagle...or is it Go Tigers? :) Did I ever tell you I went to a GA game once where UGA got off leash and ran across the field snarling at the Auburn Eagle. The poor man holding that UPSET eagle was petrified.

    But I digress. I could, and probably should send a sample somewhere, you're right. Do they take just anyone's or do you have to be in state?

  3. Ribbit, your plants are looking fantastically healthy and robust! What a bummer about that community garden.

    I would have second thoughts, too. A 4'x8' bed isn't very big for $35, is it? Heck, you just come up here, honey...I'll let you have 2 or three that size for thirty-five bucks!

    I love your bucket of beans. I'm running out of planting room...might have to do some hanging buckets ;-)


  4. I thought that, too, Granny. I wouldn't get my money out of it but rather the chance to grow things I can't here. Thanks for the offer, but if I'm hesitant about going 3 miles to a community garden, I think Wash state would be pushing it. :)

  5. Ok....Any SEC school that wins the national championship is welcome on my blog (except the retards in T-town)Ha! Oh, i'm sure Auburn would take your sample - no problem. If ya want me to, I can find out for ya. EG has connections! Hee Hee

  6. You make me laugh with your description of the "Master Gardeners' Fair". It sounds like something I attended a few years ago for Earth Day. There were more booths, but everyone was selling the next big thing, and no one had any actual useful information about gardening responsibly or taking care of the earth.

    I absolutely love the layout of your garden.

  7. Really?! That was the "fair"?! Sad...

    Your garden looks great from above!

  8. ::new girl waves hi::
    Oh I like how fun your garden beds are laid out!
    Even easier, can you take a picture of the buggies in your soil sample and post them to someplace like gardenweb?
    And your onions probably aren't getting enough sun, they're really day length sensitive which is what allows them to bulb. Are your planting short day varieties that are better in the southern part of the US? If not try it, you might have better luck.

  9. EG, that's been my biggest problem the last two years. What means more to SEC win or my hatred of the Gators? Hopefully we won't have to worry about it this year. Let me think for a while on the compost issue. The red ants have invaded the beds and I'm hopeful they'll duke it out.

    Thanks, Gumshoe and Just Jen! I had to make the most of the space I had. Atrox_ and Gum, I was a bit disapointed in the fair, but I'm hopeful to find something else like it soon. I'm looking forward to comparing overhead shots after the season is over.

    JJ, you're prob. right about the daylight. At least I'll have some really fat scallions. :) Thanks for commenting!

  10. OH! I tried getting a picture. They're just too darn small and quick. Seriously, they're almost smaller than the periods at the end of these sentences here.

  11. Your configuration is unique for sure, but by my calculations, you have about as much space as I do in my garden, and I always seem to have more than enough space. I'm sure you can make it if you interplant like EG. I have faith in you!

  12. Sinf, I have about 126 sq ft of planting space and that includes the little box on the side yard. I'd have more room, but I have to make sure the gate doors can open fully and the man can get his tractor in and around both sides of the boxes.