Author Archive

the economy of growing your own food

In an effort to not be redundant and post this in a third spot, I am going to just invite you all over to read my recent post at The Hip Homemaker on how I have tried to be economical in creating my first year garden… See you over there!

Onion
Onion

the fruits of my labor

I am so excited to see the harvest coming in this week.  It really is a snowball effect.  It starts with one little turnip, a couple of cucumbers and then suddenly it is madly out of control.

This week I pulled up all of my turnips and prepped them for a potato turnip gratin I will bake for a dinner party Tuesday night.  I also harvested 15 good-sized pickling cucs, my first yellow squash and of course a bowl full of salad greens.  My broccoli is getting really close and the blooms on the cantelope, zucchini and yellow squash tell me that they are not far behind.  A few tomatoes are starting to turn from green to various shades of yellow and red.  And I am already designing next year’s garden in my head, doubling my beds and planning the placement better for rotation.

Here are a few pictures of the garden this week:

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Broccoli

Broccoli

Lettuce

Lettuce

Squash Blossom

Yellow Squash Blossom

Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers

You can see a few more shots in my Flickr photostream...

can I compost that?

As you start to get farther into your gardening adventure, you may want to start composting. Here is a very helpful composting list from the always wonderful Gayla over at You Grow Girl, one of the original and best indie-urban gardening sites on the web.

I will be posting some new photos of the bounty in my garden over at my blog, The Hip Homemaker tonight.

my garden this week

Things are growing and getting big in the sun. Despite some of the disappointments I outlined last week, I was giddy last night as I traipsed through the garden with my camera in hand.

Here are a few of the exciting things I saw:

Cherokee Tomatoes

Cherokee Tomatoes

Juliet Tomatoes

Juliet Tomatoes

Lettuce

Lettuce

Zuchinni

Zuchinni

Cucmber

Cucmber

Turnips

Turnips

You can also stop by The Hip Homemaker to see some of my recent garden inspirations.

success and failure

As a first-timer with almost all of these veggies, I didn’t really know what to expect, and there have already been some hard lessons.  One thing that keeps coming at me from all directions, from gardeners who have been doing this for 40 years and from ones who have done it for 4 years, is that there is usually one thing that doesn’t do well.  And it never seems to be the same thing two years in a row.  And for every failed attempt, there is some wild, unexpected success that leaves you baffled and happy.

My success so far:

  • my raspberry and strawberry transplants all made it and are leafing out like crazy.  I have flowers on the strawberries too!
  • all of the frost bitten plants I picked up at the Ace nursery for free are thriving. brocolli, cauliflower, cucumbers.
  • my spinach grew into a crazy, green monster that I could barely keep up with. I have a big bag to take to my coworker tomorrow to exchange for some lettuce.

Which brings me to my failures:

  • most of my lettuce didn’t germinate and the stuff that did hasn’t really grown.  I am going to clear out the spot and try again.
  • only about 6 of my beets germinated. They are growing fine, but i would like to have more.  I will try again in the fall.
  • my peas did nothing…nothing.  They are all about 3-4 inches tall and have stopped there.  I think I am going to just pull them out and try something else.

As someone who hates to fail at things, it is reassuring that this happens to everyone and its not the end of the world.  I will try again next year!

sunflowers by the coop

sunflowers by the coop

my garden this week

Here are a few shots of the little plants coming to life or growing big and strong in my garden this week…

(broccoli, from the free, frost bitten starts I got at the nursery )

(cauliflower, which is also from the free starts and was only chosen because it was free)

(I did not properly record this planting on my map, I think it is a turnip, but may be a beet. Anyone know for sure?)

(cucumbers for pickling from the free starts)

(the first little bean to pop through)

(peas)

(big spinach leaves, which I actually picked and ate in a salad for dinner last night)

(one of my 8 tomato plants, 7 heirloom and this cherry)

(nasturtiums in pots around the chicken coop. I also planted peas in here, although kind of late. we’ll see what happens)

(sunflowers in a small garden between the fence and coop. i’ve never done sunflowers before, but now I get why everyone loves them. they are growing soooooo fast and are so easy)

my urban homestead

I am a new blogger here at 1000 new gardens, so I thought, rather then just diving in, I would start with an introduction.  I am a longtime Missoulian, first time veggie gardener.  Over the winter we moved out of our old house, which I think can boast the shadiest yard in Missoula (good for cooling your house, bad for gardening) into our new digs with a nice, sunny south facing yard.  I knew that I needed to garden.  I have been interested in local food for a few years, but since the birth of my first bean, I have felt more of an urgency to find good, healthy food that is easy on the environment.  Also, coming from a rural background, I really want my kids to grow up knowing where food comes from and how it gets to our hungry little mouths.

So, back at the end of April, my mom came to town for a few days and we worked from dawn til dusk building raised beds, a chicken coop and compost bins.  Most of our neighbors are older retirees, who watched with interest to see what those “kids” were up to.  There was much discussion about avoiding roosters and stories about the various livestock and wildlife that has graced the neighborhood over the years, including horses, goats, sheep, homing pigeons and a myriad of deer, birds and rabbits as well.  We also heard about the young couple down the street who bought their chickens off ebay. Who lives in Montana and buys chickens off ebay?

the coop and raised beds

the coop and raised beds

A week later I planted my cold weather crops in the fading sunset after putting the baby to bed.  I planted peas, lettuce, carrots, spinach, onions, beets and turnips.

A week after that I picked up four little puff balls from quality supply and built them a brooder in my basement shower with a box from cooking.com, a shop light, some pine shavings and food and water.

The next week it was raspberries and strawberries from a woman in Ronan, heirloom tomato starts from my coworker and squash starts from my neighbor.

Last week, I put in all my tomatoes, and planted beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, more lettuce, basil, peppers, sunflowers and nasturtiums.  Some from seeds and some from starts.

my garden plan

my garden plan

Things are sprouting and growing and I’ve already learned a lot (like don’t scatter your carrots, plant rows, they are too bunchy when I scatter them and I don’t like it).  I’m excited for this project and to be a part of it.  If you would like to see more about my garden, as well as my craft and home projects, you can find me at The Hip Homemaker.

Amy