Garden 4.0: Notes for Future-Me

This year, the garden has been a bit, ahem, wild. Overgrown. Unkempt. Let’s just say it’s in need of a serious haircut at this point.

20140726. Our backyard! And Birdie running laps.

Thankfully, due in large part to the wet, cool(ish) summer we’ve been having (and not to my serious neglect), we’ve still managed to get some lovely produce. The tomatoes, green beans, beets, radishes, lettuce, kale, and husk cherries in particular have done awesomely.

20140812. Husk cherries.

Now is the time, though, to start making some notes to future-me for future-garden. I do this mentally every year, and then I completely forget or push out of my mind the previous year’s lessons learned. So, dang it all to heck, we’re documenting the crap out of them this year!

20140708. State of the garden address.

Plans for next year:

  • Husk cherries are the bomb. We need a field of husk cherries next year. Okay, maybe a bed of them will do, but seriously… a lot, please.
  • Half a bed of tomatoes = perfect. Although Chris will disagree, horizontal trellising has worked nicely this year (i.e. no broken twine halfway through the summer during the latest thunderstorm to try to restring, heavy with tomatoes).
  • Let’s do onions for real next year, and half a bed of garlic was perfect. Next year: half a bed of garlic, the other half onions? Yeah? Yeah.
  • ONLY GROW HALF A BED OF GREENS, TOTAL. PERIOD. None of this “eight kale plants will do” crap. Jeez, girl. Greens do awesomely in our backyard, and we really only need two kale and two chard plants for our own consumption. At this point, the chickens have eaten more kale than I have, which is embarrassing (although the chickens are stoked).
  • I really need an entire bed of pepper plants. I love peppers. We EAT peppers. We CAN peppers. I want ALL THE PEPPERS.
  • Green beans: everyone in this house loves them, including Willem. Next year, we’re building a trellis of green beans – a TRELLIS you can walk through and be surrounded by lovely green beans – maybe as part of our front yard landscaping, maybe somewhere in back. Who knows. But we need a lot of green beans. Also, the purple ones are the bomb, because you can actually see them hiding among all that green foliage.
  • A bed of lettuce early in the season was awesome. Maybe that bed can be flipped later for fall plantings of beets, radishes, and arugula, all of which are awesome and need to be planted everywhere again next year, all summer long.
  • THINGS WE NEED NEXT YEAR: Cucumbers were sadly missing from our garden this year, as were carrots. I think I want to do a huge carrot field in one of the beds. I learned that the best carrot planters are 4-year-olds: they just throw the seeds (in huge quantities) everywhere. So that’ll be the carrot-planting plan next year.
  • Last but not least, how about some sweet potato love? I need to expand our sweet potato growing next year. We’ve been doing a sweet potato bin the last few years, which works but kind of requires upkeep all summer, adding more soil. And I want a LOT of sweet potatoes. I’m open to suggestions for best ways to grow them!
  • Oh wait… LAST last one… We need some winter rye for cover cropping this fall/winter. We ran out and didn’t have any last fall, which I swear is part of the reason we suddenly have grass trying to take over the beds this year. It also provides a great winter fresh feed for the chickens.

Also, someday Chris is going to make an epic post about the tens of thousands of bees who have taken up residence in our backyard. He finally managed to get me into the suit last week to help him move the (now two) hives around a little bit. This was me flexing and feeling very high on life after surviving the process without a) getting stung and b) having a panic attack.

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Giving Thanks, Days 13, 14, and 15: I Love YOU and YOU and YOU

I am a lucky, lucky girl in lots of different ways. I’m so thankful to so many people, most of all my parents, who will get their own extensive entry one of these days. I’m thankful for my circumstances and, in general, luck. Things have not always been fantastic, but when I think about how many opportunities I have had, thanks to the help of others, dumb luck, and my own efforts, it’s staggering.

So this post is going to be all about three amazing people in my life.

DAY (LUCKY NUMBER) 13: THANKS TO MY LOVE, MY COMPADRE, MY PARTNER IN CRIME, MY DUDE, CHRIS, FOR… WELL, FOR EVERYTHING. I’m so glad you decided you wanted to marry me. You bring out the good parts of me and make me want to be a better person. Maybe it’s the hormones speaking, but I am just overwhelmed lately with all the feels re: you. And me. And you and me together. And that’s a very nice thing.

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our wedding!

DAY 14: SHOUT OUT TO THE INSPIRATIONS IN MY LIFE. I had dinner with one of my favorite inspiring lassies, Sally, on Tuesday, and I love that I have a Sally in my life. It is amazing to grow with your friends, to be inspired by them (see: the Sally Project), to share the awesomeness that can happen when you decide what you want in life and just start DOING it. It is intoxicating when you start seeing positive results just from focusing yourself and making small, simple step after small, simple step, and even more inspiring when you get to hang out with cool people living through similar realizations.

100703. me and sally.

DAY 15: THANKS FOR BOXES OF BABY GOODIES FROM LOVED ONES FROM AFAR. My friend, Nikki, made my week – she sent what she had said would be “a few things” for the baby and turned out to be a box absolutely loaded with pretty much all the clothes I think we’ll need for the kid for at least the first several months. Seriously, this is amazing on so many levels – I no longer have to worry that my baby will have no clothes, I don’t have to go out and be a dirty consumer, the stuff she sent is beyond adorable, AND I’ll think of her and her little one every time the kid wears something from her. We’re talking a GIRAFFE CARDIGAN, sweet little rattles and teethers, the most amazing fleece lined baby parka thingie I’ve ever seen, and so many onesies and sleepers to make you swoon.

20131120. Baby clothes from Nikki.

20131120. Baby clothes from Nikki - GIRAFFE CARDIGAN.

20131120. Baby clothes from Nikki - you've got to be kidding me with the cute.

Like I said, I am a damn lucky girl. Thanks, universe, for being so good to me and bringing these wonderful people into my little world.

Giving Thanks, Days 10, 11, and 12: Bands from Half a Lifetime Ago and More

Day 10: THANKS TO MY ROCKSTAR BOYFRIENDS. I’ve now been in love with many of you for almost half my life, and you still pull me right back in every time I hear your dulcet tones. (Someday, I’ll have to give thanks to my “guilty pleasures” bands and songs. YouTube is apparently aware of all of them).

Jawbreaker’s Blake Schwarzenbach: his lyrics made 15-year-old me and 34-year-old me feel all the feels.

Cursive’s Tim Kasher: This super old, amazing video of two of my old favorites is making me very happy.

Day 11: THANKS TO MY FREAKING AMAZINGLY CRAFTY HUSBAND. Yesterday, he spent the day building out our nursery closet (you know, the one for which I had drawn a really amazing, I’m sure super helpful diagram). He brings our hair-brained ideas to life and, I’m convinced, can do just about anything: rewire electrical outlets, run cables through the crawl space, build garden beds, design and create a chicken run extension, level a rain barrel, build a compost bin system, create awesome closet systems, etc. You get the idea. I’m so glad I married him!

20110520. chris making the bed.

20130504. Chris finishing up the hop trellis.

20120123. an example of our actual notes to each other.

Day 12: The day is still young, but I have a sneaking suspicion I need to give a SHOUT OUT TO THE BACKYARDS OF THE WORLD (especially mine). Dearest backyard, you continue to feed us, even though I have been occupied with many, many other projects this year and not paid proper attention to you. If I’m hungry or thinking about what to make for dinner, all I need to do is walk outside, pick a bunch of greens, run to the basement for a garlic head, and voila! We have some green goodies to add to eggies (thanks, chickens!) or throw into a homemade pizza alongside some backyard sweet potatoes.

20130622. The garden.

As I stare out at naked branches and fallen leaves, it seems like a fitting time to thank the garden. It’s been a great summer, and now it’s time to rest.