Two weeks ago we Breckis entered into a bold experiment: Mike began working only part time at his office gig (saving the planet is taxing, you know) so that he can devote more time to other things that are important to him such as playing music, writing, gardening, and baking me bread. It’s a little nerve-wracking to have his guaranteed salary cut in half, but he has a plan to make it up via freelance writing and other projects that are still in the works.
One of our goals in this new arrangement is to grow more of our own food. We (specifically I) spend an embarrassing amount of income on restaurant meals. I love to cook, but I also love to eat out, try new dishes, and nosh on deliciousness that I’m just not going to prepare at home. Sushi, you have my heart.
And so, last weekend, we put in our urban garden. We may live in the middle of the city, but we’re taking advantage of the space we have. There’s more in the works, but below are some process shots. We have about 100 square feet mostly planted, and Mike is spending a few afternoons a week at a friend’s more sunny garden so we can harvest warmer-weather crops as well.
Right now we have kale, chard, spinach, arugula, lettuce, and snap peas on the cooler side of the garden. In the back, which gets full sun, are the carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. We’ve also planted garlic and onions, and leeks, corn and radishes will also be part of this spring round. On the herbs front, we have parsley, sage, thyme, chives, lavender and rosemary. I’m hoping to get in tarragon and maybe even basil.
Summer and its longer days, of course, will mean zucchini and cucumbers and all other kinds of goodness. For now, though, I’m happy watching our garden grow, even if my back is still sore from last weekend’s weeding.
This is Mike weeding the back area. Since he is very thorough and I’m more of a git-er-done kind of gal, I went through and mowed down the clover so that he could come in and dig out the roots. Teamwork!
Here’s the back area partially planted, watched over by the golden Buddha. You’re looking at carrots, potatoes, and the various brassicas. (Fun tip: how do you know a brassica? If you hold it underwater, its leaves will bead up with what looks like mercury.) We did a mix of seeds and starts.
The right side of the garden doesn’t get nearly as much sun as the back, especially at this time of year. It’s where we stashed our cool-weather plants. First, though, we had to clear out a jungle-like tangle of weeds. Here’s the luscious dirt that Mike got down to.
And here that side is planted with our beautiful greens! With any luck we’ll soon be eating salads produced almost entirely in our garden.
This is our fourth spring with this yard. Over the years we’ve put a lot of love and care into the space, and we think we’re seeing the benefits. There are more birds, particularly of the darting, fighting hummingbird variety; the larger, established plants are flourishing (we brought a trumpet flower back from the dead, and what we thought was a lime tree with rock hard little green fruit is actually a lemon tree now producing large yellow fruit!); every scoop into the soil turns up worms articulating their way along; and we discovered salamanders under every rock and planter! We hope they’ll stick around even though we cultivated their clover wilderness.
There’s more work to be done, and inevitably there will be failures that will bum us out, but I’m happy with how much we’ve gotten done so far. You’ll have to come over sometime and eat kale with us. Just watch out for salamanders.