January 2009 Gardening Update

Hello to all my readers who are gardening fans!!

Mr. A kept the garden watered while I was sick, and on Saturday I made the trek out to see what was going on. Lung infections sure do sap your strength and energy. Just walking the 70′ out to my garden from the front door wiped me out for a while. Thankfully I have a couple of sitting areas in my garden where I could take a break once I got out there.

I was so pleased to see the growth! We are having the most incredible weather, currently outside it is an amazing 74°F. If I thought this was going to keep up, I’d just plant my tomato and eggplant seeds outdoors instead of getting them starting in the indoor cage. But I know it will probably cool down again, so I will take the safe route. Besides, with my energy being so low, I can handle little pots indoors, I know I couldn’t handle preparing the individual beds in the big garden.

Speaking of my “big” garden, I thought I’d share the wonderful garden I am so lucky to have. Mr. A worked hard to build it for me. Living in the desert, we have a lot of hungry critters out here, and I’ve been plagued with them all: birds, cottontail bunnies, quail, snakes, gophers, fire ants. At least some of these can be kept out of the garden by enclosing the entire thing in chicken wire.

First up, here is a bird’s eye view of my garden. You can click on all the images to see a larger version.

We’ve been here since 2002, and it became clear pretty quickly, due to all the critters eating every baby plant that popped up, that I was growing nothing unless we enclosed the area, so here is the original plot. The only thing we bought new was the chicken wire, and it actually was concrete meshing which we found at a supplier for pennies on the dollar for the cost from Home Depot.

I filled this up very nicely, if you look closely in the photo you will see some plants coming out of the top of the garden. The garden is just about 6 feet tall, and those are Yellow Pear tomato plants growing up that high! For my birthday, Mr. A enlarged my garden for me.

Unfortunately, we didn’t realize we should have dug up the ground area first, and laid chicken wire underneath, too! Now I’m having problems with gophers, so I’m having to make individual beds within the garden, that are underlaid with chicken wire to keep the gophers out.

Now without further ado, here are the garden update photos.

In this photo, you may be able to notice the fine dirt in the front left side? That’s from my gopher. Grrrrr. This is the first bed I put in last September, and did not put down any kind of protection from the gopher(s). I am really not sure what to do about catching this beast, because my kitty guard; I’d be afraid to have her hurt by a trap. And I don’t like the idea of poisoning my soil.

Here in the next photo is my tiny little patch of peas. I have circled some of the flowers, which will eventually produce the peas! I ordered more peas with my last seed order, and now I wish I had the energy to get out there and get them planted. I need to check my schedule and see if I’m still okay to plant peas.

Next, here is my kale. I transplanted a bunch that had come up really close together, and allowed them to grow a bit longer. Now it’s time to remove half or more of these, to allow the remaining plants to grow bigger. Energy, I need you! I have pointed out the one single purple kale, but it’s so overgrown by the others that it looks like shadows more than anything. I didn’t order purple kale, it just came with the seeds.

Here we have radishes, Tom Thumb lettuce, and my crucifers. I need to weed out some of the Tom Thumb lettuces as they are far too close together. I cannot remember what I planted – cabbage, cauliflower? Maybe even broccoli! I did keep notes, but the seeds came up in different areas than which I thought I’d planted so I’m not sure what is what. We’ll see in a few weeks. Also, to the far left, beets are coming up!

Another photo with the peas, kale, and my one lone bok choy. It is so cute there by itself, all frilly looking. In the bottom left of the photo, you see my mystery plant! I planted carrots in the area, (a few came up, but they are still pretty tiny) and this big thing came up. I have no idea what it is! Also, there is more lettuce in the bottom right of the photo, which also needs to be thinned. This will make a delicious salad, and I always bring enough to share with my boss and a couple of my coworkers that adore baby leaf lettuce.

Here’s a closer image of the mystery plant. I hope someone can help me identify, but I’ll learn what it is eventually. I have taken a piece of the leaf off and tasted it, and it seems like something I’ve tasted before, but I cannot pin it down!

In this next photo, you can see my Swiss Chard in the top left, which I think Mr. Gopher is eating one plant at a time, dang it! I know there were several more plants last week. Several of the lettuce I planted in September has bolted and I hope to harvest seed. My self starting cilantro also has bolted. The green onions in the front are a mixture of some that I planted from seed, and the others are from when I buy green onions from the store. I keep the last 1/2″ or so with the roots intact, and then plant them in the garden. Within a week or so, they are growing into nice onions.

Here again you can see the green onions. The little stump looking things are some that I just took out and planted about a week ago. The onions that look bigger and healthier to the right were planted from seed. They are an Asian type red bunching onion. I should be able to pull them up and separate them, and grow more onions.

Another mystery plant, which took FOREVER to grow and show me what it was. Celery! The baby plants are so teensy for the longest time. The leaves looked like clover, and I tasted a leaf but could not figure it out. I thought it was parsley at first, but the leaves were more waxy and lighter in color than parsley. So yesterday, finally I could detect the celery flavor. I have never grown celery before, this is a first. I need to get them weeded and transplanted. I obviously need to keep better notes about what I’m planting where, in my garden! But this is pretty fun trying to figure out what is coming up!

Well, that’s it. I just wish I had more time on my hands, and more energy. I have to be really careful with overdoing it until I’m feeling much stronger. I have had a relapse before with a lung infection, and it is no fun.

To my readers back east in the frigid cold, I hope my post today has put a warm spot in your heart, and given you hope for the upcoming spring! Have a lovely day and stay warm!

Yours Truly,

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6 thoughts on “January 2009 Gardening Update

  1. OMG, I love your garden! I am so impressed, and envious – there is no way I could do that, although I wish that I could. Actually, I just wish I was your neighbor 🙂


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    HI CFO! Thank you!! I wish you were my neighbor, too!! I could definitely use some help with keeping up with my garden!! I have to get my tomato and eggplants into the ground this coming weekend, and the beds aren’t ready yet. Ai-yi-yi!


  2. Nice looking garden, Mrs. A. The mystery plant looks like either turnip greens, or mustard greens if it’s a little spicy. For gopher, either a cat or a pellet gun with lots of patience works are good remedies.
    There’s also pressurized exhaust, if these guys from California have a dealer in your area: http://www.handmgophercontrol.com


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @101 Centavos, if I remember correctly, it turned out that was a lone turnip. We have a cat that can get into the garden and she is a hunter, but she has never had success with the gopher(s). I will check into that pressurized exhaust. My current nemesis is the round tailed ground squirrel. I have shored up all sides of the garden with metal siding and there is no way for them to get in that I can see. Unless they are using the gopher’s burrows to come in that way. So far I don’t see any signs of them in the garden and I know they are out and about as the weather has warmed up. I hope they forgot about the garden.


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