We've been working so, so hard on our garden this year and really hoping...like praying to the garden fairies, the sun gods, the center for agriculture, and considering a sacrificial lamb hoping...that it will be our best garden yet. We've had nothing short of an obsession for years now. Many moons ago, Jim and I started our first garden in the edge of the parking area at our first apartment.
Serious gardening mistakes going on here....
I mean how many peppers and tomatoes did we try to shove in those little pots?!
We eventually advanced to a small, in ground garden on the side of our next apartment. We took over some available flower beds for the larger plants, as well as continue with some pots for herbs and smaller crops. It was a small area to work with and not optimal as far as lighting goes, but we made the best of it. We started experimenting with different vegetables, established an herb garden, and had our first encounters with pest, diseases, and other cause of death. I think I was using a 35mm camera at this point and don't feeling like digging up and scanning photos, so I have no available documentations of those stepping stones, but about three years later we ended up with this....
Fancy fence to keep out our Watership Down crew + hand made lattice fence for cucumbers, zucchini, and squash (2009)
Various lettuces, oregano, spinach, and cilantro various lettuces.
Last year we regressed a bit, but to no fault of our own. We moved into our house, so we had to start over in terms of preparing a plot for the garden, the soil was crap, we didn't know the land well enough, we had a bazillion grubs and other pests (which ended up killing our cucumbers and zucchini), and in general were just short on time due to other house projects. We still ended up with some tomatoes and peppers and a good supply of herbs.
This is a terrible picture taken through a screen in an upstairs window but it gives an idea of the size and placement of the garden last year
This year has brought on a lot of experimenting and a lot of garden 'firsts' for the Robinsons. We've triple the size, added raised beds, and our using a mix of grown plants from a nursery, seedlings started inside a few months ago, and seeds directly in the garden beds. Our crop lists is insane, we added a killer net type fence to keep, and I'm pretty sure our neighbors think we've lost our minds.
The area with no raised bed is the site of our garden last year. After mixing in manure and compost, the soil quality was so much better so we decided not to cover it with the raised bed. One of the nice things about raised beds is they can go pretty much anywhere, so we moved it over a bit and basically have two garden beds in this area. We realized last year that it didn't get quite enough sun, so we've dedicated this area to mostly shade/partial sun crops, as well as experimental crops.
In ground: sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and onions
Raised bed: string beans, brussel sprouts, kale, lettuce, spinach, and argula
Little pot: zucchini
Come to think of it this whole area is pretty much experimental. The only thing we've grown before are the lettuces and spinach (we have some inside our pool fence that we've been eating for weeks now) but never from seeds; everything else on the list is new to our crop list; for the carrots and asparagus we but seed/root directly in the ground; sweet potatoes were a last minute addition after talking to some lady at Home depot and I think they're not going to get enough soon in this spot; and the brussel sprouts are seedlings started indoors.
Our second raised bed (this is why people think we're crazy) is up on little hill near our pool fence. This area gets a a full day of sun and should be a better spot for all our sunlovin' plants. This bed is a little less experimental than the lower garden....
The plants were purchased from a nursery and almost all veggies we have experience growing in the past: tomatoes (4 varieties), peppers (3 varieties), cucumbers, and eggplant (1st time growing). You can also see a potted little plant which is clementine tree that was sent to me in the mail as a gift. So far, so good for the little guy.
We've still got a little work to do, like adding mulch and cages for the vine plants, but it's pretty much grow time now! So, either we'll be feeding our entire neighborhood this summer or....that's not talk about the alternative.