Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Vegetable (Lasagna) Garden

Having a big garden has been long overdue for me. Last one I had was the year Isabel was born. Then the year after that I didn't plant one because we were planning to move and the year after that (last year) we were living in WI. So, now I can have one again. 

I planted it yesterday and hopefully am free of an frost danger now. Over the years I had been working on establishing a lasagna garden. The first year we started it we didn't know that we got a BIG (two pickup truck loads worth) load of bad compost. It wasn't sifted and we didn't really know to make sure it was sifted and it had a lot of weeds & thistles in it. Now we pay the price because we have a thistle garden. We had been mulching layers on the garden and had it covered for over a year, but that didn't get rid of all the thistles. Actually, the wind blew over some of the cover and the thistles just sprouted up. It was really unsightly when we moved back. 

We kept piling on layers, hoping to continue with the lasagna garden and smother out those darn thistles. They aren't too bad yet, but I will have to keep up with picking them. I decided against spreading roundup on the entire thing because 1) I didn't want chemicals on my garden 2) because of the mulching layers the roundup might not really reach deep enough for how deep the roots need are 3) the roundup could spread to other parts of my garden.

I thought about having it tilled up, but then I asked at my organic gardening class and they said tillingwon't work to get rid of them and may just make the problem worse. They said to dig down & get all the roots or I would have to resort to chemicals (you could almost hear the gasp in the room as they suggested that.) I went online and did some research and everything was pretty much confirmed. You don't want to till the thistles because the roots will be chopped and MANY new plants will sprout off those chopped roots amking your problems worse. Whew! Glad I didn't do that!

So, we added more layers and I have to get out there & pull. The good things is with the mulching layers in a lasagna garden the roots of thistles don't have a very strong hold on anything like they would in black dirt, so pulling them out is a cinch. Pulling out the thistles in my herb garden that is not mulched, not so easy.

Yesterday, I bought 480 pounds of peat, sifted compost, & dirt to mix together to create mounds on top of my layers to plant my plants & seeds in. We also bought some straw (looked to be free of seeds, but you can't guarantee a few don't get in, so hopefully that won't be out next issue) to add another layer to the garden. We will continue to add grass layers throughout the summer.

So, what did I plant. In the garden I have some Big Beef Tomatoes (seedlings bought from Menards), sugar baby watermelon & cucumber (seeds we started at home), and the rest are seeds we planted: zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkin, cantloupe (Isabel was insistant we plant this), green beans, yellow beans, lettuce (that free seed thing that came on the back of the summer kraft food & family), peas & turnips. 

In the herb garden we have chives, sage, tarragon, & oregano that come back year after year. We also put down some parley & dill seeds and some sunflower seeds (saw that 2 of those came up).  We plant the sunflowers for the birds. We planted some raspberry bushes this year too, two of them.

In my hanging pots I have cilantro (bought fom a local nursery), and then planted seeds of: spinach, basil, & nasturtiums. In other pots on my deck & cement patio we have roma tomatoes, banana peppers (both from seeldings I bought), some red pine seedlings (free from McD's last month), more nasturtiums (you can eat the flowers on those), basil, mixed greens, & lavendar, and several pots of flowers. And then I have these 2 hangings bag things with seedlings I bought that have cherry tomatoes & strawberries in them.

And since the baby isn't due until the end of October I should have time to do a bunch of canning . Maybe canning & freezing will be my nesting this time instead of cleaning.

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