I thought it would be a good idea to record a little garden progress to date. Remember, we live on 1/4 acre, our yard is mostly shaded by huge, old maples, an oak, an ash, and a gorgeous magnolia tree. There was some talk of removing the oak, it's removal would give us all the sun we need to grow tons of food, a whole lot of weighing the pros and cons of things went on there... but my tree hugging, protesting daughter (hmmm, no surprise) rallied her friends together for a poster making extravaganza which they then attached to all the trees in our yard. Declaring the slaughter of their beloved 'friends' cruel and unjust. My favorite is where she refers to Adam as Mr. Lawyer. Ha! Take that! She's my own Julia Butterfly Hill, bless her little hippie self. Her voice was heard, and the trees have all stayed standing on our tiny plot of earth, so we are attempting an 8x16 ft garden that is mostly shady. Where are we at?
I am pleased to say we have produced some very happy, beautiful romaine. Things were totally successful on the lettuce front! We then suffered 'crop damage' due to a significant storm with damaging winds. I felt so connected to what our farmers experience when nature destroys their crops. Granted, the scale is not the same, and our income is not dependent on the success of this garden, but the moment I went out back and discovered this scene I felt an even more heightened sensitivity to what it means to live the life of a farmer. I bow to each and every one of them. These plants oddly enough were not broken at the base, just literally lying on their sides. I propped and re-planted, read poetry aloud and prayed to the broccoli gods... days passed... I prayed some more. And then... low and behold, we had broccoli. Our very own, grown in the shade, tender beyond belief, tasty, yummy broccoli. Wow.
The broccoli is now all harvested, and I have to think about what to plant in it's place. The radishes don't seem to be as impressive, and the variety of kale I selected appears to be a little wimpy, which is funny because wimpy and kale shouldn't even be written in the same sentence. Maybe it's not too late to try another variety. The beans look like they are doing just fine, too soon to tell though. I'll keep you posted...
Our focus in this garden was on the area beneath the plants, seeing as we had little control over what was happening above. Some of you gave us the advice to remove limbs only from trees above the garden, we did do that at the end of winter. It's helped a bit, not enough for tomatoes and melons, but a little. So we decided to build the earth. Creating the most fertile soil we could was where we placed our greatest efforts, and I think this modestly sized, tenderly sweet head of broccoli is very grateful for that.