Back? Right. Now check this out...
Bed 1 (4 x 4 shallow) - Not in full harvest, Bed 1 is still offering up some wonderful goodies. We are harvesting kale, lambs-quarter, sage, and green beans from this bed. We're still waiting on spaghetti squash, cucumbers, yellow squash, and basil, but they are not far behind as you can see particularly by the beautiful vines along the trellis. Those yellow squash we rescued from the trash bin at Home Depot are doing beautifully and they were FREE! Cucs and squash are just weeks away. I can just feel it...
Bed 2 (4 x 8 shallow) - This, of course, is our tomato bed. All 12 plants made it through the frost (although originally we thought we lost one of them) and all are producing beautifully -the tallest of the plants are well over 6 feet tall. I'm pulling off at least one tomato every day. There are 6 different varieties all in this one bed like tomato berry, razzleberry, celebrity, big beef, early girl, and jet setter. The first round of green beans were also in this bed and I just ripped them out last week, having made their last cycle of beans. Tiny green pepper plants still line the front of the bed, but they are yet too small to see in this photo.
Bed 3 (4 x 10 deep) - The plants are yet a little too small to show up in a photo, but Bed 3 is my sweet potato bed. I still have a few onions to harvest from it, but the rest of the bed is filled with 6 sweet potato slips that I made myself from grocery store sweet potatoes and coached along by a market vendor. The slips took to the soil perfectly and we're enjoying watching them grow (I'll enjoy eating them even more come fall!).
Bed 4 (4 x 10 deep) - Nothing to show in this bed, but Bed 4 will also be a sweet potato bed. My sweet potato slips need one more week to root and then they'll be planted. I know. I know. That's a lot of sweet potatoes. But they are one of my favorites! Mmmm!
Bed 5 (4 x 9 shallow) - This is one of the two beds where we've seen the most dramatic progress. Last month, you could hardly tell anything was growing. This month, the chard, basil, green peppers, and green beans are alive and well. There is also sage growing in this bed though not large enough from which to harvest. Speaking of harvest, we're picking chard and basil from this bed almost daily, with green beans and green peppers not far behind. Yum!
Bed 6 (4 x 10 shallow) - Bed 6 has also come along rather well. It's covered in swiss chard, leaf lettuce, and collard greens. Other than a few green pepper seeds that I planted in a few empty squares, this bed is practically in full harvest. We're pulling some of these greens just about every day (and even giving away some of the excess - there's so much of it!)
Bed 7 (4 x 10 deep) - No picture here either. There's no soil yet in the bed so we'll be working on it through the summer months so that we can plant some fall veggies later this year. More soon.
The Orchard - Yep. That's right. We now have an orchard. That's 4 dwarf columnar apple trees. We're not sure how they'll do, but with any luck the Fall of 2010 will bring us beautiful and plentiful apples. One of them didn't make the shipping process (the far back one) so we're waiting on the replacement. Right smack-dab in the middle is one final tomato plant that a friend at the market gave me. It's a grafted indeterminate tomato plant that we planted so late in the season, we assumed it wouldn't produce until well into the fall. So much for that reasoning. It already has tomatoes on it just one month after planting. Go tomato plant, go!
So that's how the backyard garden is looking these days. The only things I really need to supplement my local diet is starches (rice/wheat berries/potatoes) and fruit. We've been getting a few things yet from the market like beans and corn, but I'm thinking I might just try those on my own later this summer to replace the greens in Bed 6. There will be plenty of room.
Over the past month, as I've delegated some of the responsibilities of my volunteer work to other volunteers, I've found much more time to spend in the garden. It's a beautiful relationship - one that gives as much as it takes. How could I have ever guessed that in 8 months, I'd go from no garden at all to eating primarily out of my back yard. And garden therapy not only feels good, it tastes amazing! I can only imagine what the next month will bring...