Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Garden Before and Afters, and More

We're starting to settle in a bit around here, but what with moving, getting chicks, planting a garden, unpacking, oodles of grocery shopping (re-stocking a kitchen from nothing is a lot of work!), having lots of visitors and spending lots of time with out-of-town friends while prepping for next weekend's wedding of two very good friends, we're staying pretty busy!

The house is slowly taking shape, but once we got the kitchen mostly organized, our next priority was the garden. Jessa (Matt's sis) came over on Friday night, and again last night with her boyfriend Eliot, and we put in a lot of work on the garden beds and cutting back the jungle at the back of the garden. It's been hot and muggy here, so we've been mostly gardening in the evenings, going outside after dinner when it's cool, and working until it gets dark. Here's some photos I took of the garden on the day we moved in:
(Click Photos to Enlarge)
 The compost bins were full of big sticks and being encroached upon by stray raspberry canes and lots of weeds. 

 This bin was literally a massive pile of sticks with a stack of tortillas on top, all covered in flour. I'm pretty sure the previous tenants had no idea how to actually use a compost pile...

 A view of the garden area from upstairs. The beds are fantastic, with trellises and everything, but were about six feet high in weeds when we arrived. 

 The near bed on the left is mostly in strawberries (which are bearing full bore right now- we're getting about a quart per day), and the one on the right was full of thistles.
 This was the raspberry jungle at the back of the garden. We also discovered what we think is a gooseberry bush. 

Another bed of strawberries hidden in the raspberry patch!

And after we put in a few hours' work:

 One raised bed ready to be tilled and planted. 

 This bed on the side of the house was mostly spearmint and was really compact, rocky soil. Jessa and I tore into it with a hoe and a turning fork, pulled out most of the mint and enriched it with compost and potting soil to help aerate it. It now is home to some cabbages, winter squash, marigolds, and parsley and a clump of chives that was already there.

 Matt went to town on the jungle area and the compost bins. It's SO much nicer now. The raspberries are all cut back and the strawberries are accessible, and he cleaned up and reorganized the bins so we can do a rotational compost system. Most of the sticks have been pulled out and gone into our yard debris bin (Portland has an awesome program where yard debris are collected curbside with garbage and recycling. We'll compost things like grass clippings and leaves and small weeds, but the bin is awesome for big sticks and root wads).

 This is another bed on the side of the house that was completely taken over by mint. I started tearing it apart yesterday morning, and then Jessa took it over last night and transplanted in a couple stray strawberry plants we found.

One of the raised beds after being tilled and enriched. Now home to tomatoes, basil and marigolds, and the "bare" space is planted in greens and radishes, with peas against the trellis. The radishes were up this morning, only four days after they were planted!

Elsewhere in our home:

The little fluffballs are all doing great, no signs of weakness or listlessness. They are growing like crazy, and are bigger every morning than they were the night before! They are all still healthy and feisty, and so far the call every morning from the spare room is "Five alive!"
 The Rhode Island Red and the Gold-Laced Wyandotte.

 The G-L Wyandotte at the top, the big Salmon Faverolle, and the wee Australorp.

We are finally done with all the bulk shopping to set up our kitchen, and got these pantry shelves set up a couple days ago, as there is no actual pantry space in our house. I think once they're organized, they'll look great and be totally handy.

The big sink (which I LOVE, by the way) is posing a challenge, as a drainboard doesn't work with the lip of the sink standing so high above the counter. Matt's mom gave us the over-sink drying rack, so I think the system is going to be to prop the rack and drainboard up over the lip while washing dishes (using a two-dishpan system to save water), then put the drainer in the sink at the end to open up the counter space. 

Matt and I just put in another stint in the garden after he got home, and have everything in the ground! Now it's time to make some dinner and continue with the unpacking. Hope all is well with you and yours.

1 comment:

Brenna said...

The place is looking great! I am so jealous of your garden area, it looks like it will be providing a great harvest soon!

Brenna :)


PS- I made strawberry jam last night and will be posting about it tonight! A great way to use up extra berries.