What’s growing in the garden?

Our backyard organic garden experiment started about 6 months ago. Way back in January we had no idea that by July we would have a wide variety of vegetables. But the picture above shows what our normal biweekly harvest now looks like. On top of that,  herbs, summer squash, eggplant, jalapeño, and the occasional strawberry.

Our 2010 goal is to allocate 20% of our food to come from local sources. I don’t know exactly how we are going to measure that! But between what we are growing in our yard and our CSA box from J.R. Organics we have pretty much eliminated the produce area of the grocery store. (Things like bananas and potatoes seem to be the hardest to replace locally.)

Lots of success, some failures

We’ve done pretty good for first year gardeners. But we have had some failures too. We planted the summer squash, acorn squash, and cucumbers way too close together. This caused the acorn squash to never fully develop and we had to pull that out last week. Our sweet corn was doing very well but suddenly stopped growing and produced only a few kernels on each ear. We planted garlic at the wrong time of year. So it’s still green but hasn’t done anything. We have one tomato plant which has taken over the tomato and strawberry area. It’s been fun to see the plant grow about 15 feet tall… but it’s also kept two other varieties of tomatoes from developing fully.

Watering schedules and bugs are still ever-present issues. And our worm composting… still just going so-so. Weeds and snails were a problem in the Spring, but with the drying out of the climate both have stopped.

Out with the old

With Kristen and I leaving the country in 7 days, we’re going to do a little garden maintenance this weekend. We’ll pull out the sweet corn, trim the summer squash way back, and eliminate a couple herbs which aren’t doing so well. I’ll also spread some organic fertilizer. (Very expensive fish poop!)

The cool thing about San Diego is that our growing season essentially never stops. So we’ll pull out some of those things and head over to the nursery to scout out what will take its place. We’re hoping to get one more summer harvest in before we have to think about fall plantings.

We are encouraged. Heading into this I wasn’t sure that we could do it. And I really wasn’t sure we’d enjoy it. This year has proven that we really can do this and we really can have a good time doing it.

Children’s Garden

Megan and Paul have been involved since day 1. Each day, Megan and I take a garden tour where we carefully inspect the progress of every plant. As the months have passed we’ve started to talk about the kids taking ownership of an area of the garden. So we are trying to figure out how to make that happen.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

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