Building a garden and a family

It's debatable whether this summer has been a growing season at all here in the Pacific Northwest.  I have little to show for the summer, garden-wise.  So far, I've picked three zucchini and four padron peppers.  Oh, and there were several half-pints of raspberries.  But when I stop and think about it, those aren't the only things this garden has been yielding this season.

The veggie garden in progress.  The clump of raspberries (on the left) got transplanted to the bed against the fence.
Putting in the garden was a full-family affair that began with my father-in-law single-handedly digging up the sod under the entire garden footprint.  Next, Byron built the garden beds out of untreated 2x4s (yes, we'll have to replace them sooner, but no leaching chemicals in the meantime . . .)  and we set them in place.  Our paths are roughly three-feet wide, give or take.  Byron hauled dozens of wheelbarrows full of dirt around the house to fill the beds, Herman leveled the dirt, and I amended it with a good dose of lime, plus a mixture of cottonseed meal, kelp meal, bone meal, and more lime.  I got the beds planted by the end of June.  Wyatt came along for the ride.

Me and my garden gnome.

We all like the result.  The orderly boxes, straight rows, and leafy plants have made us all feel like we've accomplished something -- together.

The tomatoes had a foliage extravaganza, which, luckily, has turned into a fruit-setting extravaganza.  Although all are indeterminate varieties, no fruit has ripen yet.  And, I'm suspecting that one roma tomato plant has the dreaded tomato blight . . . yellowing leaves.  Argh.  The good news is that I've managed to ward off leaf curl and blossom end rot this year (must be all the lime).

A happy padron pepper plant.
Nasturtiums and garlic chives.

We have onions and peppers that seem to be slowly growing, but growing nonetheless.  The zucchini, cucumbers, and summer squash plants have suffered a bad case of powdery mildew, but with all the rain and dew I'm not surprised.  We have three kinds of string beans growing.  Oddly some of the leaves look quite yellow and others are dark green.  Not sure if it's the sign of a deficiency of some kind or just the variety of bean.  All are blooming and setting beans.

The hubbard squash, which I've never grown before, is growing gangbusters and in three directions.  We chose to grow a hubbard since it's one of Herman's favorite varieties. He assured me that it is superior to all other winter squashes when baked.  We also put in some corn at the suggestion of Byron's dad, who has always grown it in his gardens in British Columbia.  We put in seven corn plants and they tassled and are now filling out with 11 ears.  I'm hoping they will develop into more than those tiny ears you put on your salad . . .  In any case, we might get a family dinner of corn and tomatoes and squash out of all our efforts.  I'm looking forward to it.

The herbs are doing well, and I've managed to successfully grow basil for the first year in a while.  (In previous years it would get all woody and die on me).

Beyond that, we have an entire bed of raspberries -- all of which we transplanted mid-season under the supervision of Byron's dad who was the grower of legendary raspberries when he lived in Smithers, B.C.  We harvested a couple pickings, but generally the plants have been focused on not dying rather than fruit-making.  Hopefully with some pruning and a wet winter, the patch will be wonderful next season.

I must say, too, that the cedar wood chips on the paths look great.  With their fresh smell, soft feel underfoot, and clean look, they they might just be my favorite feature in the garden this year.

The view of the veggie garden from the deck above.
We still have some unplanted dirt in one of the side beds, so next week I'm putting in a fall crop of kale.  I'll teach Herman what to do with it (he still cooks for himself).  Turns out that he hasn't ever eaten it once in his 87 years . . . or so he claims.  Once the beans and squash are finished I'll put in favas to overwinter.

Despite the mediocre performance of our plants this season, we've had solid growth in the way we all work together, share ideas, and enjoy the fruits of our labors.  Turns out garden building is really family building too.  Our beds are built and ready so we can start gardening early next year.  By next summer Wyatt will be eating veggies in a form other than a puree, which could impact what we decide to grow.  And Herman might have some more ideas about what to grow too.  I'm certain potatoes will be high on his list . . . . 


jill pratt said…
okay, you might be my bff...but i kinda hate you right now :) you make this gardening thing look a little too easy. to be fair though, i suppose you are supposed to do more than plant seeds and walk away...which is sort of what i did. maybe i'll try again next year. maybe my beds aren't deep enough either...or maybe gardening's not my thing and i should move on :(

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