Friday, February 13, 2009

Garden therapy - A backyard garden update (Feb)

It has been an amazing month for Garden Therapy! There has been produce to harvest, seeds to replant, and preparations to be made for the spring garden, which is just around the corner. I've done just about everything but weed, thank heavens, though I'm sure with warmer temps, the weeds will find my little bed. Every day brings excitement as I watch my little garden grow. Sure, it may be small, but we've seen a BIG return so far. 

I've been picking green onions pretty much on a daily basis. These are multipliers so I'm trying not to pick them faster than they can multiply, but it's hard (I love onions). 

As you can tell, I still have quite a few left to last me until I do a massive replant in March for the Spring Garden. Next fall, I'll have plenty  more space and I'll definitely be planting  more of these green onions. They're easy to plant, maintain, and their incredibly hearty (not to mention, they taste fabulous is just about everything). 

As I mentioned on Monday, I also pulled my first cabbage out of the garden over the weekend. I refer to them as my mutant cabbage. They're so huge and beautiful! 

I was only one day eating into the first cabbage when I realized just how many days it was going to take me to eat it. Let's just say I canned a large batch of all-local cabbage soup this week and am planning on canning at least one batch of cabbage soup for every cabbage still in the garden. Yeah - there are four more of them. Mmmm, mmmm!

I pulled up both the spinach and snow peas this month as they just weren't producing much. I replaced one of the squares with broccoli and the other two squares with new spinach seeds. All the seeds are up and growing nicely. I do have one empty square at this point, and will have more as February progresses and I continue pulling those cabbage, but I'll be holding off any planting until I plant the spring garden in March.

That, of course, isn't the broccoli I just planted, but rather one of the originals. You can finally see the head coming up from the center and I have been so excited about it, I just had to add the photo. It won't be long before we're picking and steaming broccoli...

So, on to the planning (and ooh, do I have plans)! I've purchased all my seeds and just need to pick up some tomato plants when they hit the market (probably next month). The problem is, I need space! So this weekend, Dave and I are planning to pull out some of that cedar I got for Christmas, and make two 8 ft x 4 ft beds. Let's see that pretty much quadruples my space, right? Yeah, that'll work. 

One of the beds will be a foot deep so that I can do root crops like carrots and potatoes. The other will just be the 6" deep (like the one I have now) for the rest of the plants like bush beans, cucumber, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and bell peppers. I can hardly wait to watch them grow...

Once, I would have told you that gardening was one of those things I could never do and yet here I am, about to quadruple my growing area, ripping up my lawn to feed my family. I can't even begin to describe how fulfilling it is to be growing some of our own food - slipping into the backyard to pick an onion, a little spinach, or a humongous cabbage for lunch; digging into the beautiful soil with my bare hands, watching my harvest from seed to my table. In that tiny little bed, I've found both peace and nourishment. That's my kinda therapy!


Beany said...

I thought that was too much cabbage. So amazed at how much you have growing.

Do you eat alot of fibrous veggies to help with your illness?

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - it's definitely a lot of cabbage, but too much? Never :)

Actually, I originally had 9 plants (I bought them at the last minute as small plants at the store. It cost $2 for all 9 of them and since I didn't have room for all 9, I gave 4 of them to a friend. I'd be a canning fool if I had 9 of those in the garden. I'm happy with the 5 I have.

I've always been a veggie eater. I probably eat more now than before, but it's hard to say what helps or hurts my illness. Something can seem to bother me at one time and not another time. Stress has been the main factor we're dealing with, although to be honest, if I had been eating a crummy diet all these years, maybe I'd be a million times worse...

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Your green onions look wonderful. Your garden looks wonderful. It is nice to see earth with things growing in it during the winter. Even if it is only via picture.

I can't imagine eating a whole cabbage that big by myself. You would have been eating cabbage on cabbage multiple times a day. Good call with the soup.

Sorry to hear your spinach and snow peas didn't do very well. Are you going to try the snow peas again in the spring?

I am jealous of your broccoli! Our garden space is very limited and can't really be expanded on (unless my neighbors wouldn't mind me taking over their porch for an expanded container garden), so broccoli is one of those things we haven't relaly wanted to give up the space for.

Your garden plans sound great. I can't wait for spring! I guess you just never know where life is going to take you. I never thought I would have a worm composting bin in my house, and yet, here I am with 1,000 red wigglers eating my garbage. Life, what an interesting experience, eh?

Heather @ SGF said...

Jennifer - We're very lucky to have such a big back yard. I love it - so much room for expansion and the more room for food, the less mowing! Win-win!

I ate four lunches on the cabbage, plus made 7 quarts of soup. Each of the four lunches was 1/4 of the actual head. Most of the soup came from the outer leaves. It turns out, I think the one I'm picking this week is bigger, but I'm looking forward to more cabbage stir fry. It's SUPER yummy!

Anonymous said...


after you harvest the first head of broccoli, watch for secondary, smaller head to pop up. and of course, after seconds come thirds :) we've had so much broccoli this winter from 4 plants that we decided to let some of it flower to see what would happen. didnt have to wait long for pretty little yellow flowers and then came bees..woohoo! i haven't seen bees in my yard for years...barren green wasteland that it was.

Cookiemouse said...

Looks like you have found a great therapy.

Heather @ SGF said...

blondeoverboard - how exciting! The broccoli growth has been slow but I love watching it change. Hopefully, I have the same good luck you had with multiple heads 'cause we love broccoli!

Cookiemouse - You bet! In fact, I went out yesterday morning and turned the compost pile as well as sifted out out primo soil. It took some time and hard work, but that soil looks awesome and it felt good to do some physical labor.

Theresa said...

Garden therapy is the best kind! And it looks like it is just as therapeutic for the plants as it is for you - what gorgeous veggies! You could try to make kimchi with your cabbage if you ever have 'too much' - it is very easy :)

Anonymous said...

Very cool to read about someone becoming a gardener... I, too, have been growing broccoli, and I'm amazed! This is the first year I've ever tried to grow it. Planted it out in October, lopped off the big heads a couple of weeks ago, and have been munching on new side shoots ever since. I don't get to cook the side shoots often, as I tend to eat them before they even make it into my kitchen. :-) Had someone told me a year ago I'd think raw broccoli was a great snack food, I'd never have believed them. Fresh from the plant is SO much better than the old, bitter stuff in the grocery store! Keep up the great blogging (and growing!)

Heather @ SGF said...

Theresa - Thanks! Do you have a recipe for that super easy kimchi? :)

Anonymous - Isn't it amazing what you can grow in the winter even having never raised a thing in your life? It's so much fun, not to mention tasty! So what else did you plant this year?

Theresa said...

Heather - I followed this method for the most part:

But wished I would have rinsed off the salt before brine-ing the whole mixture, since mine turned out too salty. But other than that, it was quite easy!

Heather @ SGF said...

Theresa - Thanks for the recipe!

GeorgyGirl said...

Growing your own produce is such a fulfilling experience! Not just in terms of the benefits to your pocket, but absolutely in terms of the benefit to your soul. As you mentioned, it solidifies the community and that's such a priceless thing to be doing. It's also wonderful to have a slice of greenery in an urban landscape and reclaiming land, no matter how small, for the benefit of yourself, your life, your neighbours and the planet.

I'm in the very first stages of my own growing experience, using my balcony and windowsills and blogging about it, and getting the message across that you *can* do it in the middle of an urban jungle, no matter your space or income.

Heather @ SGF said...

Good for you! Yeah, I'm of the belief that if I can do it, ANYONE can do it and you're right - you don't need a lot of space to make a big difference. Enjoy the adventure!