Over the last few years I've been working on my gardening skills, specifically trying to grow food.
I'm quite late for this year's vegetable garden, but I'm hoping to get some beds prepared and planted this weekend.
What do I have so far? More than I thought, despite a rocky start.
I began with some seeds indoors in April. I had a small tray of herbs...
... and a large tray of vegetables (peas, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, and various kinds of squash).
I set the covered trays in our kitchen where the most sunlight comes in. Once they sprouted and it was time to remove the lids, I moved them to our master bathroom where I could lock them away from the cat (he has a tendency to eat greenery- no indoor plants for us).
The master bathroom was quickly became a mini homestead what with the ducks living in there and all.
Let me explain what you're seeing in that picture. There are potted herbs in the windows that I bought from a local nursery. The seedlings I grew are on the counter (look how big the cucumbers and squash grew!) and on the edge of the tub (hiding in the corner). There are ducks in the tub, their brooder is the blue storage bin in front of the tub, next to which is the duck food and wood chips for the brooder. The bathroom was a bit out of control.
Anyhow, as soon as the weather warmed up enough, I moved my seedling trays outside where they could soak up the sunshine (they weren't getting much in the bathroom). The next day they were all flattened and a few days later died completely. I suspect the outdoor cat may have laid in them. Grrrr.
All of my beautiful seedlings gone. I wanted to scream. Or cry. Or maybe both. But I didn't. Instead I left the trays outside, ignored and untouched.
Then last week I came out to find a few new sprouts.
That has restored my hope a little. When I set up the vegetable bed and get some plants in there, I will move these little guys, too.
Meanwhile, I transplanted the three surviving herbs that I had started from seed (one thyme and two basil) and the herbs from the nursery (sage, oregano, chocolate mint, and two cilantro). All of these have new homes in my herb section- a row of buried pots on a retaining wall.
Surviving and thriving from last year are lemon thyme, rosemary, and cilantro which mysteriously regrew this year after lasting only two weeks last year. Go figure.
At the far end of the row of herbs are two kiwi plants intertwined on a trellis. You'll have to trust me on the trellis part. It's no longer visible behind all those leaves.
Then on the next retaining wall is our fruit and nut section.
The strawberries and blueberries we planted last year look great this year and already bear fruit that is almost ready to pick. The raspberries are now three years old and should bloom later this summer.
There are also two hazelnut plants we put in last year that have yet to grow nuts. I have no idea what to expect there, so I can only keep watching. How crazy cool would it be to eat nuts out of my own yard?
We also have four grape plants growing on our arbor, all of which are three years old. One of them grew a handful of grapes last year, so I'm hopeful that we'll see some more this year.
Then there's the mini orchard which we started a year ago with a cherry tree, a plum tree, a peach tree, two apple trees, and "mystery tree" which we received in an odd conglomeration of surprise stuff from an online nursery two years ago. The tree had lost its tag, so we didn't know what it was and we never got around to planting it.
The following year (last year), mystery tree was a bare stick that we almost threw out, but it didn't seem dry (and therefore dead), so we planted it in the mini orchard to see what would happen. It sprouted a few leaves last year and didn't do much more than look silly. This year, it still looks silly, but something has formed- possibly cherries?
In case you're wondering, the wood structure behind the mini orchard is the duck run (more on that another day).
I had been frustrated by my lack of a garden this year. By not even having beds ready when I should have already been planting two weeks ago. But after walking my yard this past week, I realize how much I already have, how much there is to be excited about.
Hopefully this weekend I can set up the vegetable beds. In the meantime, I'll enjoy watching the fruits, herbs, and nuts grow. I might even pick a strawberry or two today.