Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Decorative Gourds Take Over My Garden

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Freshly picked gourds

Freshly picked gourds

Last Halloween I had a few friends over. One of those friends brought a friend, who brought me a lovely decorative gourd. I’ve always loved those things for some reason, and it was just a very sweet thing for her to do.

After having the gourd displayed in my dining room for a couple of months, I started to grow a little tired of it, but I hate to waste, and I really hated to throw away a thoughtful gift. The gourd seemed like it would never decay, which would have made me feel justified in getting rid of it.

So instead, I gave it new life. I planted it in one of my garden beds. I buried it whole. I didn’t harvest the seeds or do anything else special. Just stuck it in the ground and forgot about it.

I didn’t think about it again until several weeks ago when a giant clump of sprouts popped up in my garden, like some kind of chia pet. Puzzled, I dug it up and was delighted to see that squash holding together the sprout clump. What the heck – I put it back in the ground and let it grow. It came this far, after all.

Garden bed

Garden bed - overrun by gourds

It has really taken over. It pretty well owns one entire 8X4 garden bed, and it keeps trying to work its way into the one next to it. I’ve had to pry it off of my kale and lambsquarters a couple of times already.

I picked my first batch of gourds. Not really sure what to do with them all, and there are surely so many more to follow. This has been a fun experiment, but one I don’t think I’ll repeat.

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Surprise Raspberries

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
Raspberry bush

Raspberry bush

Last spring, after having given up on producing my own blueberries, I planted a raspberry bush. Within weeks, it was dead….or so I thought.

Today, I finally got around to removing the little protective fence I’d put around it, and discovered that the bush was still alive. Not only that, but it has berries on it!

Perhaps the secret to success, at least when it comes to berry bushes, is to ignore them.

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Blueberry bush finally produces berries

Sunday, May 6th, 2012
A little clump of blueberries

A little clump of blueberries

After 4 years of abuse, neglect, and incompetence, my blueberry bush has actually produced some berries this year!

I planted the bush 4 years ago around this time, following instructions and advice on acid-loving plants as best as I could. It looked OK for a few weeks, but it wasn’t long before I tripped over it and dragged the garden hose over it several times. The bush is still growing on an angle. A big bunch of its roots can be seen above the ground.

The following year, it didn’t produce a single flower. Nor the year after that. Actually, the third year, it barely produced any leaves. I thought it might be dead, but when I tried to break a branch, it didn’t snap like a dead plant. Always a sucker for the underdog, I decided to let the blueberry bush keep living.

Blueberry bush

My blueberry bush

I’ve been told by many people that you need to have a second blueberry bush for it to produce berries. I’ve tried to plant a second one twice now. Both times they died within the first year.

Don’t ask me how this “crop” of berries came to exist this year, because I don’t know. It certainly wasn’t anything I did on purpose. There are no more than a dozen little berries – 2 clumps. It’s very likely the birds will get to them before I do.

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Local Back Yard Produce Bartering

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Check out Veggie Trader! A new website that allows you to search for fruits and veggies grown by your neighbors in local back yard gardens. Sign up and you can trade your excess garden vegetables with your neighbors. Yet another way of building a strong local community!

It doesn’t seem like there’s much going on for Asheville yet, but I did my part to help change that by signing up for a Veggie Trader account. If my garden ever manages to produce excess I will be sure to list what I’ve got and hopefully trade with a neighbor for some good stuff that I’m lacking.

Sign up! Eat well! Get to know your neighbors!

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Gardening Posts Moving To Foodscout

Monday, August 10th, 2009

When I started my garden (much too) late last year and then again this spring, I said I’d leave updates on how things were going.

Long story short, they went not very well. I only managed to scratch out a few young chard leaves and gave up on the rest. But luckily, I also came into a job around the same time as my garden was dying and so was able to get some professional help.

I’ve got some beautiful raised beds now growing greens, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and okra. And much more on the way.

However, I’m posting all my gardening updates at rather than here on vegangirl, so if you’re interested, you can check it out. I’ll be posting again pretty soon since my squash is starting to come in. I’m also going to be adding another raised bed and some rain barrels for watering in the next few weeks.

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This is what a plum tree looks like

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
plum tree

Plum Tree

When I moved into my house 2 years ago, I was told that the pretty little tree in the front yard was a “decorative cherry tree”. What a waste to grow inedible fruit, I thought to myself.

I never noticed any fruit at all on it last year. But this year, sure enough, little hard “cherries” started appearing. But then they kept on growing, and getting lighter in color. And then the squirrels started eating them.

Well if the squirrels are eating them, what are the chances that I can’t also eat them?

plum in the tree


By coincidence, I had to have a tree guy come by due to some other overgrown trees in the yard. And he said “oh cool, a plum tree!”

Wow. I have an actual fruit tree in my yard! And the few plums I was able to eat before the squirrels stole every last one of them, were absolutely delicious.

bowl of plums

Bowl of Plums

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Vegetable garden, take two

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I went out onto my back porch today to take in a little vitamin D, and happened to notice that my blueberry bush – the one that I had written off for dead not a few weeks before – blossoming with new leaves. It reminded me of the ill-fated “winter greens” that I planted in October around the same time.

Spring is here. Time for new beginnings. I figure this time, my leafy greens have a couple of things going for them that they didn’t have last time around:

  1. No more sub-freezing temperatures
  2. No more cats using the garden as a litterbox

I used a metal rake to break the dirt up a bit and smooth things over, then sprinkled some all-purpose organic fertilizer, that I had bought for some good reason I’m sure, around the planting area. Then I buried little rows of left-over seeds from last fall.

If this goes well, maybe I’ll venture into planting some root vegetables or vine plants.

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Garden Updates: Everything is Dead

Friday, March 27th, 2009

blueberry bush in winterI realized that I promised garden updates after planting various things last fall and I never filled you in on the results. Well, they are not good.

The mint plant was doing quite well for a while but then it died after a big rain storm. I can’t be sure but I think it was from getting dumped on by a rooftop waterfall resulting from a clogged gutter.

My winter greens didn’t last long. I was very good, at first, about covering them with the frost cover when it was going to get cold at night. But we had many cold nights and that frost cover was a big big pain. I got lazy. The chard died first. Then the kale and winter lettuce. But the garden is all prepared now for spring so I may plant something soon now that the weather is nice.

I thought the blueberry bush was completely dead as well but upon closer inspection, there are a few new buds on its branches! So there is still hope for that one. That’s the blueberry bush pictured above.

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Winter Greens Begin to Sprout

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

kale shootsLike a kid asking if it’s Christmas yet over and over again, I’ve been running out to my garden every day for the last week, hoping to see a few plants sprouting up. I planted dino kale, winter lettuce, and rainbow chard 11 days ago and was starting to worry that my haphazard gardening system (if you can call it a system) was going to fail straight from the get-go.

You cannot imagine my joy at seeing little greens shooting up from all 3 rows. The dino kale has quite a few plants growing – a couple look like they are already an inch tall. The lettuce has about half a dozen sprouts, and I found just one chard sprout starting to grow.

After planting the seeds, as discussed in my last post, all I had to do to get the plants to this point was (1) water the garden regularly and evenly and (2) chase my cat out of the garden so he wouldn’t use it as a litter box. Most times, both (1) and (2) happened simoultaniously.

My camera doesn’t take very good closeups so there is a somewhat blurry picture of a few of the kale sprouts.

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It’s not too late to plant leafy greens

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

winter greens fencedI made a commitment at the beginning of the year that I would plant a garden before the year ended. Here it is October and all I had was a big sheet of black plastic covering a big chunk of my back yard. I put it down in January to kill the weeds, thinking I’d have a thriving garden a few months later, but never got farther than pick axing some of the area to break up the dirt.

winter greens suppliesYesterday, I called over to my favorite local gardening supply store and asked if there was anything at all I could still plant this late in the year here in Asheville. Lucky for me, they listed off a few of my favorite leafy green vegetables! They sent me away with 3 packets of seeds, a small box of fertilize, and some frost cover for the nights when it may drop below freezing.

winter greens prepare soilTo get the soil ready, I broke it up just a little more with a pick ax, mixed in a cup of the fertilizer and just over half a bag of “Nature’s Helper” (soil conditioner) I still had left over, and then mixed it all around and smoothed it out with a metal rake. I planted one row of seeds each of dino kale, winter lettuce, and rainbow chard.

To prevent my dog from turning into a nice cool, messy dog bed (and hopefully discouraging the cats from turning into a litter box), I picked up 30 ft. of garden fencing to protect it.

And so there you have it – I now officially have a garden. Smaller than I had envisioned but it’s a start! We’ll see in a few weeks how well it works out.

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