Monday, May 25, 2015

Backyard Garden 2015

We always plant in May. Usually, May is when it starts getting warm. The days are longer, and Springtime in Berkeley is a glorious time of blooms and hope. My birthday is in May, and always falls on the same weekend as the Edible Schoolyard Plant Sale - two things that combine for a relaxing birthday weekend of planning and planting. This will be our 4th season.

I like writing about gardening. It's helpful for me to track progress; I like looking back at early photos and seeing how our little plant babies have grown. I like being able to share how our plants are doing with other gardeners (can I call myself a gardener?), and I like trying to find words to describe the magic and wonder of planting things in the ground that later become food. It's pretty special.

And so, a few weeks late, here's a little bit about what we've planted this year. Once again, we hit up a combination of the Edible Schoolyard and Berkeley Horticulture. And this year, we decided to experiment with mulch! It's been such a dry season, and California's in a pretty major drought, so I figured anything we could do to help our soil retain water would help. Plus, I hear that mulch is good for repelling pests like the snails who end up terrorizing our plants. We went with cocoa shell husk, because omg you guys it smells like chocolate. Also, it's pretty, and it wasn't expensive, and I'd never heard of it before. I like to just try things, ya know?

In this year's garden:

  • Tomatoes (5 varieties; 6 plants)
  • Beans (2 varieties; 12 plants)
  • Sugar snap peas (6 plants)
  • Lettuce (2 varieties; 3 plants)
  • Dill (6 plants)
  • Basil (6 plants)
  • Peppers (5 varieties; 10 plants)
  • Rainbow chard (6 plants)
  • Squash (2 varieties; 2 plants)
  • Beets, Carrots, Fennel and Radishes (from seed; # plants unknown)

Without further ado, the photos! 

First things first, we had to turn the soil. Which we did a lot.
And by "we" I mean mostly Will and our friend CC.
We have a planter box this year (thanks, landlord) due to the
dubious nature of planting things underground in that spot,
next to a tree that may or may not be poisonous.
Date: May 2, 2015
Soil turned. Compost added. Planter box filled.
Look how beautiful that soil looks!
Date: May 9, 2015
The plants are in the ground!
I repeat: the plants are in the ground!
Date: May 10, 2015
And then, the cocoa shell mulch! The planter box and that
patch in the front don't have mulch because that's where we
planted our seeds. Waiting until they become seedlings to
mulch 'em, because we want them to be able to break through!
Date: May 10, 2015 (my birthday!)
A week later - progress! Some of our seeds have started
sprouting, and things are looking pretty stable.
Date: May 16, 2015
About two weeks post-planting, we're getting some serious
sprout action from both the ground and the planter box.
Everything else has started shooting up, with the exception of
our poor delicata squash (top right; next to the yellow spiral).
It seems to have completely rotted out -- I'm not sure if it was
a bad plant to begin with, or if the soil and the mulch and the
watering were all just too much for it. Nothing else is rotten,
though there are a few patches of mulch that looked to be
a little moldy. We've turned off the sprinklers for now; it's
not very warm out anyway, and we might as well save water
and let things dry out a bit.
Date: May 22, 2015

And there you have it. The backyard garden, circa 2015! We did some thinning today, because as you can see, the sprouts were coming in a little thick. More on that to come. Happy gardening! What are you planting this year?

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