Saturday, April 05, 2008

Some Pictures from Yesterday....

I wanted to provide some idea of what early April looked like at my place yesterday. Unfortunately, this is NOT what it looks like today. Today, we woke to gusty winds & sleety-snow. That's right, snow. Falling-from-the-sky type snow. Not the kind that is shown on the ground in these pics I took yesterday.This pic is the front of my house taken from directly across the street. To the right of the pic is our driveway and you can see just how much slush & ice is still there. That's a berm of snow along the front, and the central part had almost thawed. This pic also gives a pretty exact idea of just how small my lot is. Only about 4 feet of land on the left side of the house belongs to us, and the driveway takes up the whole right side of the property, leaving us only the small front & back yards to work with. This is why I'm reluctant to say that I'll ever be producing truly enough vegetation on my lot to feed my family sufficiently. BUT, it's worth a try. And, seeing how small my front yard is, you can probably imagine why my hubby is somewhat reluctant to give up even a bit for a veggie garden. However, I think that given the choice between being hungry and having a lawn, he'll decide to give up the lawn for a garden, if push comes to shove.

Now, to the back yard. This is the right side of the back yard, from the door-step. I'm standing on the deck, here. This shows ya something of how our sheds fit together with the dog kennel (in the far-right bottom-half). There is about a 5 foot gap between the side-wall of Scott's car-port-shed and the metal shed. (The car-port-shed is actually MISSING that side-wall, because of the wind. The canvas for it is now tucked INSIDE the metal shed.) I'm planning to put my (still to be built) compost bins against the wall of the metal shed, tucked into that 5-foot space. The back of the sheds meet the back of our property line.
I'm sure you can also tell here just how much water we have yet to get rid of before any gardening is done. ALSO, there on the left side of the metal shed is where I'm hoping (and Scott IS in agreement with this one of my plans) to put a little terraced veggie bed. I want at least 2 steps high, and 1 foot deep for each bed. So, it won't be big at all, but it'll be big enough for a couple of zuke plants, and a small row of swiss-chard. There at the far-left is a glimpse of my lilac bush.

NEXT, again the left side of that smalle metal shed, and the rest of my back yard. Yes, this is as yet the remainder of the back yard. That portion which is not in use yet. Though it is hard to see, there is space about six feet back, and 10 feet over from that lilac bush in which to place my clothes-line tree this summer. Of course, some drastic improvements will need to be made in the early part of the summer in order to make the back yard work-able. We really need to get some more fill-dirt brought in, so that the yard doesn't sink in toward that hole in the back. As it stands now, it's just too wet to do anything till about mid-May.

This is also a glimpse of the deck we did not get to enjoy today. *wry smile* So much for enjoying a barbeque. What's the saying "(wo)Man plans, God laughs"?!?!

And lastly. I just had to show this little bit of growing goodies. Folks who know, may recognize this as a rhubarb plant just starting to send up some shoots. Those little red nubs are maybe 1/2 inch out of the ground. And there are only 2 to 4 of them, as yet. But, should it ever stop snowing long enough, I'll have rhubarb. *grin* I was given a recipe for SERIOUSLY yummy rhubarb butter, the other day, that I'm looking forward to trying with some of my bounty this summer.

Though, obviously it's not a large enough picture to illustrate my plans, to the immediate left of this rhubarb plant, I'm going to place a big black half-barrel planter with a tomato plant inside. And I'm going to have the hubby place a cup-hook into the wall several feet above the planter, and we will drape the planter in clear, plastic tarping with an eyelet at the top. I'm hoping that draping the planter in such a manner will suffice for green-housing the tomato plant(s). There's a second planter that will go over to the right of my rhubarb by about 4 feet. I'm thinking to put a cucumber plant in that planter, though I may do a second tomato plant. We'll see. As this side of the house is south-facing, I think it will be the most likely place to plant my tomatoes & cucumbers for the best odds of getting produce from them.

I'll take more pictures when it clears, and hopefully dries up a bit. Maybe it'll be easier to illustrate my above plans when I've actually got a view of that side of my how in it's entirety.


I'm sitting here looking at my seed catalogs, and I think I've finally (yeah, FINALLY!) decided to order from SSE (seed savers exchange, that is) but I'm still not ENTIRELY sure of what I'm ordering. I mean, I know for tomatoes, I know for cucumbers and even peppers and melons. Those were actually simple. I just restricted myself to only the one or two variety that reputedly reports well in Northern Europe & Russia/Siberia. As I've said before, I figure if it'll grow well in Siberia or Northern Russia, it darned well should grow well in MY yard.

But, no, my problem is not with those type vegetables, ironically. My problem is with such mundane things as beans. I mean..... There are seemingly dozens of different kinds of beans. Which are best??? I've never even heard of a great many of them. And though I can understand the idea that having a supply of home-grown beans for soups & stews & such would be a great idea, I also wonder at the actuality of growing sufficent amounts to provide us with enough for more than 1 or 2 meals. It takes a LOT of beans to make a pot of chili! MUCH less a bowl of 15 bean soup! *wry smile*

But, here's what I've got so far. Keep in mind this is from SSE's 2008 catalog, and when I go to order here in a few minutes, they may actually be out of some of these very varieties I'm planning on purchasing.

*Charlevoix Dark Red Kidney beans (the type of bean that we use most often, in our family, except green-beans).

*Empress (large straight, green beans, will be very yummy pickled if it produces sufficiently)

*Painted Pony (looks to be good for both snap beans or soup beans, would probably use for soup beans)

*Bulls Blood beets

*Burpees Golden beets

*Romanesco broccoli (has this awesome spiral pattern to the florettes, also grows well in cool northern climates reputedly)

*Scarlet Nantes carrots

*Copenhage Market cabbage

*Mammoth Red Rock cabbage (maybe. I'm not terribly sure I need to grow two type of cabbage on my tiny lot, even if one is such a pretty red!)

*Parade cucumber (russian variety which are reputedly resistant to extreme weather conditions and have a quick growth time)

*Applegreen Eggplant (maybe. I'd like to try, anyway. reportedly does well even in cool, wet climates.)

*Bogatyr garlic (another Russian plant variety, stores well, reportedly)

*Baby Oakleaf lettuce

*Pirat lettuce

*Tango lettuce (maybe. Again, do I NEED 3 variety in my little yard?!?!)

*Red Russian Kale (another that I'm just not sure about. I know kale is good for us, but I don't know how well the hubby & kiddo would like it)

*Collective Farm Woman melon (ukrainian variety that reportedly grows well in central russian and even as far north as Moscow)

*Minnesota Midget (an extra-early variety from Minnesota, but again, do I NEED 2 variety of melon??)

*Australian Brown onion (seems to be just a general, good variety that stores well)

*Amish Snap (must be good, all the seed catalogs carry this variety, a good general sweet snap pea)

*Yukon Gold potato (though, having not yet talked to my neighbour about what kind of luck he had, I'm reluctant to even order potatoes. But I guess, once they get here it's gonna be "fish or cut bait" as far as getting Scott to help me plant them.)

*Black Hungarian peppers (med. heat, relatively quick growth time)

*Chervena Chushka (sweet, not hot, produces decently well in cold & wet summers)

*Early Scarlet Globe radish

*Plum Purple radish

*America spinach (heat & drought resistant, slow bolting variety)

*Purple Top White Globe turnip (again, know that root vegetables are good for a person, but don't know much about COOKING root veggies beyond potatoes & carrots. I'll give it a try.)

*Five Color Silverbeet swiss chard (we LOVE swiss chard, this came down to picking a variety that looks like fun, with all the different colors!)

*Sunset Runner beans (more beans, pretty flowers, relatively quick growing time)

*Anna Swartz Hubbard squash (keeps well)

*Black Beauty Zucchini (all I can pray is that this produces well enough to please me, but not so well that Scott finishes out the year hating zucchini in any form for the rest of his life.)

*Potimarron squash winter squash (has a nutty flavor, evidently, stores well)

*Wood's Prolific Bush Scallop (and WHY am I considering 4 variety of squash?? This one looks like fun, and unique to us, though. *shrug* I guess the seeds will store well for planting the next year, if I don't plant any this year.)

*Black from Tula tomato (russian heirloom described as "ugliest, most delicious tomato ever grown" by SSE member, good canning & slicing tomato)

*Siberian tomato (quick growth, "dwarf sprawling plants with very early sets of fruits")

*Stupice tomato (extremely early plant, produces well in Northern climates, again wondering at the sensability of ordering 3 type of tomato when I'm not sure of even getting produce from any one type)

*Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon (I think this one sounds interesting, and is a good cool-weather producing plant "brought to Saskatchewan by Russian immigrants", but the FIL is rather nervous about trying watermelon that's got a creamy green interior when RIPE. He seems to think the only watermelon worth eatting is the type that's red inside. We'll see if I can't change his mind.)

I think that pretty well covers it. As I said, though, I'm really wondering at the sense in ordering so many seeds when I'm only really sure about a handfull of them. But, no harm in trying and by giving myself plenty of options I guess I've got the best chance of having SOMETHING positive happen for me in the end. I mean, I won't know unless I try, will I?!?! And the hubby actually encouraged me (with his Dad's back-up) to get to it on ordering the seeds. I just hope I'm doing ok as far as the varieties I've picked. My FIL didn't really give me much imput (besides the ugliness of that black russian tomato, and his reservations about the creamy-green watermelon), so I don't know for sure that what I picked will be ok with him. Then again, I know that he'd just go down to the grocery store & pick up whatever mass-marketed, big-ag. seeds they sell in the twirly-racks, if left to his own devices. *sigh* I wish I was more sure. I really do.

Ok. Really better get to ordering, if it's gonna get done this weekend!

Have a Blessed Day!


EDITED TO ADD: Shelli, unfortunately it IS the case that almost anything grown in AZ (native to AZ, that is) is unlikely to grow here. *smile* Otherwise I'd love to have some stuff from AZ in my garden(s). Thank for the thought, though!

ALSO, I did NOT order potatoes or garlic. They were sold out of potatoes (all but two fingerling varieties, which are smaller than what we ever use) and the garlic wouldn't ship until Sept. *shaking head* I can't plant garlic here in Sept, it would freeze. (Unless of course, in my ignorance, I am missing that this is precisely the point. *shrug*) I also decided to forgo the Siberian tomatoes, and went only with the "Black from Tula" and the "Stupice". I also decided against the Kale, Red Cabbage, and Tango Lettuce. And the Minnesota Midget melon was also sold out. So, my order did not look exactly like I'd posted above, but I think I did ok.

The total was $105.25, with USPS shipping. It should be here in a week's time, which gives the ground a little more time for drying. I ordered only one pkg of all EXCEPT the various beans I purchased. For each of the bean types, I ordered 2 pkgs. The hubby seemed amazed, and yet when I told him that I did a bit of weeding of types, and only ordered one pkt each, except for beans, he said that he was ok with it. I think he's also somewhat relieved that I won't be planting potatoes out front, now. *grin* (Though, if I can find somebody locally to spare a couple yukon gold potatoes from their order, and get get a potato box or two built, I may yet be able to grow some. I'm gonna ask on Freecycle.)

Ok. I'm off to get ready for bed. It's been a LONG day!

Have a Blessed Day (again)!


Michelle said...

Here in Tucson we have a really great place downtown (only about four blocks from where I live, actually) called Native Seed Search. It's a non-profit organization that tries to preserve and distribute the various seeds and plants native to the Southwest it has a really fantastic selection of seeds that have been virtually bred out of existence. It's a quite remarkable organization, really.

Too bad Alaska's ecosystem/growing season is so different from Arizona's, because I'd totally buy some seeds from there and mail them to you. :)

Tori_z said...

I bet you can't wait to get started in your garden. Good luck! :)

Connie Peterson said...

Yes, plant garlic in the fall ... then it will sleep until spring, then grow until early fall and you can harvest it. That's the plan for most of the garlic. We did it once, but managed to ruin the crop in the summer by not weeding enough.

I simply can NOT understand the excitement of ruhbarb!!! Why anyone in her right mind would enjoy something so stringy and tart and bitter is beyond my scope of imagination. But you enjoy it if you want, crazy as it is!!!


whimsical brainpan said...

I hope things warm up and everything melts away soon.

Wish I could be of some help on the seeds. I simply know nothing about them.

MarmiteToasty said...

What WHAT? thats your house :) and there was me expecting to see an iglo LOL.. being Alaska and all ;)....

Good luck with the seeds etc, and yep, get that front garden dug over and planted lol ya can still shove in a few flowers and whatnots....

What I found/find strange in doodleland in many (not all but many) houses is that ya dont have ya gardens (especially ya back gardens) fenced in...... so when ya sitting out the back in the summer or sunbathing in the noddie.... ya can see ya neighbours.... that SOOOOOO wouldnt go down here very well lol....

I await pictures of ya veggies as they grow.....

You had snow, come look at what happened at our place today LMFAO....


Robin said...

I thoroughly understand Rhubarb.... it's the planet's Sweetart. Thanks for showing us more of where you hang your hat, and skates and afgans.....

Wendy said...

Your yard looks like mine :). I direct-sowed several cold tolerant plants this weekend: peas, carrots, beets and mesclun lettuce. The packets recommended sowing "as soon as the soil can be worked." I could dig it, and so I planted ;).

You should plant your garlic in the fall, just like Connie said. It will grow in the spring. The alternative is to get it in September, overwinter it in a cool dark place, and then plant in early spring (as soon as you can work the soil ;) for a fall crop. I've never had any luck with garlic, because I never planted it at the right time. It's taken me a lot of years to figure out that I can't just plant my WHOLE garden in May/June and expect everything will just grow. Different plants need different environments and different temperatures, and try as I might, certain things just don't grow for me - like watermelon ;). The cool part about plants needed different temperatures is that if I really work my space right, I could grow a lot more, because if I plant peas now, by the time they're ready for harvest, it will be time to plant tomatoes, and I can harvest the peas and plant tomatoes in that spot - crop rotation and successive planting. From what I understand that's the only way to survive as a subsistence farmer in less temperate regions - like Alaska ... and Maine ;).

DirkStar said...

Nice looking place you have there.

I'm coming to join you cause I know you have foodstuffs now...

Greg C said...

If all that grows, you can do away with world hunger. That's a whole lot of things to plant. :)