Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our Backyard

After the whole Giovanna thing I found it extremely difficult to come back here. (see post below for a short explanation)

The hubster and I have spent the weeks since, preparing our yard for the upcoming garden season. Our garden area is 49' wide by about 55' long. Here is Mr. Clay, in all his glory, riding his tractor tilling up the garden area. He has on his portable air tank (backpack) and he has to wear a dust mask to help protect his lungs:
Since he cannot do heavy strenuous work anymore, I spread gypsum (to help break up our clay soil) and countless wheelbarrowfulls of soil prep (also for the clay) and spread it all over the garden to be tilled in. Here is a far away shot of him on 'compost day' . The dark area is where he hadn't yet tilled, and this shot still blocks off about 12 feet of the left side of the yard.
We cannot plant tender plants (tomatoes, chilis, and squashes) until the end of May here, and even then one year, we still lost half our plants to a late freeze on Memorial Day weekend. So we have spent weeks weeding (burning, cutting and pulling by hand) and cleaning up the rest of the yard.

I don't have any really good shots of how bad the backyard looked because ...well, to be frank, it was quite 'white trashy' looking and I never wanted to have pics of that. This is about the only pic I have, and even then you don't even see the half of it:

And here it is cleaned up... most of the way. We wanted to plant grass on this half of the backyard. And those paving stones you see stacked up there on the left in the shade, are to make a walkway to the garden area :

After planting the grass and laying the pavers:I'd like to say that the grass has come in nicely; but as you can see, it hasn't. This is 3 weeks after planting and the only green you see are very happy weeds. :) Mr. Clay has to till this all up and we have to replant it again, due to us listening to uninformed people at the farmer store where we bought our seed.

This has been the first year we have actually got our butts out (well, ok, me really) and planted the cold crop seeds-peas, radishes, lettuce, and carrots don't mind being planted in the cooler temps. Our peas are doing very well:

See all that green on the other side of the fence? Our neighbors have a ton of weeds! This is only shows about half the peas we planted. We are so going to be so busy minding our peas, we won't even time time for the Q's ;)

Our first crop of radishes, lettuce, and carrots have sprouted and we are already eating fresh radishes.

See the baby lettuces?..they are so cute and in the background is the first feathery leaves of the carrots. If you have never had a homegrown carrot, you don't even know what a carrot tastes like. Talk about flavor! And homegrown lettuce is better than any store bought, by far!

So I planted a 2nd crop:

The second crop is under the white cheese cloth type material. It allows the sun to shine through and also I can water through it. If I don't cover it we have a flock of doves and other birds that come and pick it clean. This way the birds are kept out while the seeds sprout, which has already started:
I also planted two of my squash plants. These are two that I started from heirloom seeds, indoors under lights, and is a variety I have never tried before called 'Tatume'. The fruits are round to slightly elongated are are said to be even tastier than the normal zucchini. I was told they are easily grown onto a trellis or fence, are drought tolerant, and are supposedly resistant to vine borers, too. For those who have grown squash before, you know what a nuisance those squash bugs can be. I shall let you know later if they are in fact resistant to them, and if they indeed grow up the fence.
Well, it's time for me to go cover up the plants for the night(blankies and tarps). We are expecting freezing temps and a chance for snow....and then I hear my world famous tacos calling me for dinner :)
Until next time...