Sunday, March 2, 2008
How Does Our Garden Grow
Apologies to all those in more northern climes, but check out our garden box! This was shot today, March 2. Last summer's box failed pretty miserably after my post about it. Not only did the corn fall to pests, but so did everything else in a matter of about 30 hours. It was a sad state of affairs, and the weather became too hot to replant anything. This year, I tried planting earlier—in January—hoping for better results. I hit it right for the lettuces, herbs, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, I think, but too late for broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. The cauliflower and cabbage plants are growing but aren't producing anything; the broccoli hasn't moved at all. Next time, I'll plant all three of those in October. Still, I've already harvested off the lettuces three times and they just keep shooting out more leaves. Hurrah!
All of this has continued to spur my thinking about gardening & "smallholding" within the suburban landscape. Why, exactly, do we have this cultural obsession with grassy yards that do absolutely nothing but demand attention, water and chemicals? The days of the Victory Garden are long gone but not that far away. I would love to see a rejuvenation of the idea that anyone, no matter where they live, can grow some of their own food. I'm personally surprised by how little time it takes to look after things that grow themselves. Granted, our scale is small indeed, but the results are larger than I expected them to be given the amount of time I spend on it.
I'm now thinking what else we could do, including ripping out the scraggly plants along our fence in the backyard and replanting them with either bananas or blueberries (or both!). Did you know Florida is now a major supplier of blueberries? I'm looking at a species called "Sunshine Blue" as a possibility. It's a dwarf with the lowest amount of "chill hours" required to create delicious fruit—a nice plus in a state that completely missed winter this year. I'm not sure what else we might do here, but a call to the Cooperative Extension Service is next on my list. Maybe they can help!
And my idea of installing a few chickens in the backyard continues unabated. I'm just waiting to get a larger plan in place before jumping into anything as major as that. In the meantime, I can enjoy the chicken flock (complete with illegal rooster) that some construction worker is raising on a work site next to my office's parking lot. Go, urban farmer, whoever you are!