Saturday, May 4, 2013

Our little garden, May 2013


I've never posted about our garden here before, so I thought I'd give you a glimpse today!

One of my favorite things in the world is spending an evening working in our tiny little garden.  I wait until the kids are in bed and head out for some quite, peaceful weeding action.  Seriously, it's amazing how much I enjoy sitting in the dirt, slowly clearing out all the persistent little weeds that seem to pop up every single day.  (If you had told my 14-year-old self that I'd ever write the preceding words, I would probably have given you an eye roll for the ages.)  There's a unique serenity to be had in the fading light of a Florida evening, listening to the singing tree frogs in the woods around our house, while working in our tiny patch of intentional green.

To try to control the weeds a bit more effectively, I decided to mulch some this year.  Rather than buying anything, I just collected pine straw from around our big pine trees and laid it down all around the garden.  As you can see in all these pictures, the weeds are still making their presence known, but it's SO much better than without the mulch.  Plus, I wouldn't want to have no weeds because then I wouldn't be able to spend those evenings out in the garden!

Our back yard is surrounded by thick woods on 2 sides and faces due east, so there's very limited space in which to plant herbs and veggies, since they require so much sun.

Some "Celebrity" tomatoes
We've managed to cram a tiny patch of garden in the little space between our air-conditioning unit and the wall of our screen porch.  It's on the south side of the porch, so it gets good light until around 4pm in the summer, which seems to be enough for what we plant.  Here's how our garden looks today:

Our crazy, happy little garden
We have 2 rows of zinnias, which the kids love to cut and put in vases all over the house all summer long.  We planted an entire row of basil from a variety seed pack, a row of dill, a couple sunflowers, a bunch of cucumbers, and several tomato plants!  Since we're so far south, we were able to plant in the first week of March (oh Florida, how I love thee) and everything is coming up beautifully!  Our tomato plants, in particular, are absolutely covered in little baby tomatoes that the kids can hardly resist picking.  James insists on touching the "grapes," as he calls them, every time we go outside.  Silly boy :)

 Since I've had to wedge our planting into such an odd space, I try to use the location to our advantage.  I use chicken wire to train the cucumbers up to the screens, and then they grow wild all over the entire south side of the porch.  Two years ago they actually grew all the way up to the roof!

I love that we don't just have edibles or ornamentals.  It makes for a much more interesting garden when you mix the two together.  In addition to the zinnias in the main plot, I'm using our friends' old screen door again this year as a trellis for some morning glories.

Screen door trellis (top) and our baby morning glories! (bottom)
The last thing we planted were a couple hills each of birds' nest gourds (they're a very hard-shelled gourd that can be carved and dried easily) and Moon and Stars watermelons.  We tried the watermelons least year, but never got any mature fruit.  Lily and James so loved watching the vines wander all over the side of the yard, though, that I thought we'd give them a try again.

You can just see the little yellow spots on the leaves of this watermelon that are the characteristic "Stars"
Unfortunately, our rampaging squirrels murdered one entire hill of the watermelon, so there's only that 1 little plant left.  Go, baby watermelon, go!

A soon-to-bloom zinnia!
Most of these photos are a bit funky because it's been super cloudy for several days, but I couldn't wait to do this post, so I just took pictures anyway!  As the growing season continues, I'll keep you updated on our garden's progress (hopefully with better pictures!).  Thanks for visiting, and I hope your garden is growing beautifully, too!

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