Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My garden, and my gardening hero (Ruth Stout)

First of all, a little information about my garden: we've got snap peas, lettuce, arugula, and spinach planted in existing beds along the patio. With the exception of the spinach, they are doing well. The snap peas aren't getting as much sun as they'd like, but they are planted along the fence to improve the soil in that bed. I also have pots full of herbs: the giant one has tarragon, sage, oregano, thyme, and salad burnet (the latter will soon be replaced by chervil.) Smaller pots have cilantro and parsley, chives, basil and dill.

A slight segue: if you cook at all and don't have an herb garden, do yourself a favor and buy the largest flower pot you can find. Set it by the door closest to the kitchen (outdoors, of course, in as sunny a spot as possible) and plant herbs in it. Don't forget to water it. Being able to nip out back with the kitchen shears and cut fresh herbs for cooking is one of the most fabulous things EVER. Trust me on this.

Anyway, we have also dug a new garden bed this year. It is currently sporting the following: chard, celery (very wee celery plants), scallions, Brussel sprouts, 3 radishes (that's all that survived), pole beans and snow peas. There are also a great number of mystery squash plants, courtesy of the compost heap. I hope some of them are marina de chioggia.

The garden is having some drainage issues (as in, I could probably plant rice in parts of it) thanks to our insanely heavy clay soil. I dug out the worst spot today and placed a layer of sand and leaf matter down deep, which will hopefully help the situation.

The other thing I did today was mulch the heck out of the garden bed. This is where my new gardening hero comes in: the amazing Ruth Stout. I'm currently reading Gardening Without Work, and it is an amusing and informative read. It's also one of the first gardening books I've been able to read cover-to-cover.



Anonymous said...

I've had really good luck building up my soil with Pat Lanza's Lasagna Gardening. Our property here in MI is an old clay lake bed. I started with 6 layers of wet newspapers to kill the weeds & grass & added 6" of grass clippings, 6" of soil & another 6" of compost, topped by soil. Now all my leaves & grass clippings & kitchen veggies scraps are composed & go on the garden. I have a foot of beautiful topsoil, full of worms!

Anne said...

I wish I knew about lasagna gardening before we dug the new garden bed! I will definitely have to try this for the next one.

Jamie Keifer said...

This got me curious! Our garden only has flowers, weeds and grass, and I was thinking if maybe we could turn it into a lasagna garden too! =)