Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden Envy. Garden Lust.

Gardening really is an addiction. One you get that first, sweet taste of gardening success, you just want more and more.

They really should put warning signs on seed packets. You know, something in big bold letters like "This is only the beginning!" or "Slippery slope ahead!" or "For the love of your wallet, don't plant this!" If they'd done that, maybe I wouldn't have a cabin brimming with houseplants and a perpetual scheme in the back of my mind about how to expand my gardening space in the backyard.

Warning signs or no, I'm a goner by this time. 

Each summer I convince myself that I finally have just the right amount of gardening space. After we put in the large-ish raised bed last summer, I was sure I had plenty of gardening space to keep myself content until we move onto bigger, green pastures (aka, some place where the septic mound doesn't take up all the good planting spaces).  But then the new raised bed was super successful, which only inspired more great ideas for garden expansion.

It kind of defeats the purpose of gardening to be thrifty when you just keep buying more and more bags of top soil, manure, and peat moss. Somehow, there's never compost to go around and I'm always in need of more large pots and building equipment for raised beds.

But then, I always keep stumbling upon something I just have to grow. Here are some fruits and veggies I'm currently lusting after:

Asparagus: 
Asparagus
I love asparagus and we've been eating a lot of it this spring. But each time I throw a bundle of asparagus grown in Central or South America, I suffer terrible locavore pangs. After all, it is a vegetable that we're perfectly capable of growing in the Northwoods and if I simply waited until it was in season in these parts, I could enjoy all sorts of locally sourced asparagus. So why not grow it myself?

As one of just two perennial vegetables (the other is rhubarb), asparagus takes a couple years to establish itself and because it doesn't offer instant gratification (or as instant as any vegetable can offer) I worry that we will have perhaps moved on before we can actually enjoy the asparagus.  The bed would also require special insulation during the winter months and of course, we'd have to built another asparagus bed to house the patch. . .

Strawberries: 
Strawberries

Another source of locavore guilt. I buy far too many strawberries that hail from California. There are plenty of pick-your-own strawberry farms just over the border in Ontario, but when the strawberries ripen in mid-July, I'm too overwhelmed with summer mayhem to make the two-hour trip up to one of these farms. Which makes me want to grow my own so badly.   

But they're kind of a pain to grow (or so I'm told) and I don't think they'd like a raised bed much, since they're pretty susceptible to frost damage. I'd have to figure out some way to make some sort of an embedded patch for them and we just don't have much top soil to play around here.

Potatoes:  
Potatoes-Kipfler-HeatAffectedHarvest-9288-2040gram
I might just have figured out away to grow potatoes this year. Our growing space has been too limited in the past years to give potatoes the garden real estate they need. But I think we might have some success with potatoes if we grow them using the Stout method.

We recently moved all the soil out of the roadside garden into a new raised bed and I think we'll try to put down a layer of compost in the new empty space, then throw down some seed potatoes, and cover them with mulch and maybe a layer of top soil, just to make the garden a little more presentable to passersby. What the heck, eh?

What veggies and fruits do you have a hankering to grow this year?

 

12 comments:

  1. my mom grows some fantastic strawberries, but she's had to rig a whole system of nets and covers to keep the birds and chipmunks from eating her crop every year.

    i'm dying to try garlic and shallots, but i think it might get too hot in LA for garlic... also, no yard to dig up quite yet!

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  2. I really want to start an asparagus bed also. It is one of my very favorites. I have some strawberries started that come up every year (in a raised bed) but would like a better spot for them. We always grow potatoes but I too, want to do Ruth Stout's method for easier gardening.

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  3. I borrow space from my friend's huge garden and you are right! She and I are always trying to reconfigure everthing in order to get more produce!

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  4. I haven't discovered this addiction yet because we've never had yard space, but man do I have a craft addiction (which started out as trying to do things myself to save money, similarly). God help me when I can garden- I'm lusting after those veggies too! Asparagus has been so damn good lately.

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  6. You should check out my good friend McKenzie's blog, Oliver & Abraham's (www.oliverandabrahams.com). She blogs all about farming, and she and her fiance AND roommates are currently working on their brand new garden.

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  7. I would love to grow any kind of veggie! I am thinking zucchini maybe...I love zucchini. Oh and just saw the I'm not a Mommy Blog button and could not stop laughing!

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  8. Asparagus does take some doing to get a bed establish but it will provide spears for the next 15 yrs. I grew up on a strawberry farm and still can't get enough of them. I planted 75 plants three years ago and have more than enough berries to eat, make daiquiris, jam and to freeze. The down side is that you have to replant them every few years. Potatoes, I think are the easiest vegetable to grow. Except for the Colorado beetle problem, they don't require much care. Last year I planted 20 lbs of seed potatoes and got a 250 lb return! We've been eating stored potatoes since last October. We dry them for two weeks then pack them in large coolers with the drain spout left open. They keep best at 55 degrees.

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  9. Asparagus does take some doing to get a bed establish but it will provide spears for the next 15 yrs. I grew up on a strawberry farm and still can't get enough of them. I planted 75 plants three years ago and have more than enough berries to eat, make daiquiris, jam and to freeze. The down side is that you have to replant them every few years. Potatoes, I think are the easiest vegetable to grow. Except for the Colorado beetle problem, they don't require much care. Last year I planted 20 lbs of seed potatoes and got a 250 lb return! We've been eating stored potatoes since last October. We dry them for two weeks then pack them in large coolers with the drain spout left open. They keep best at 55 degrees.

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  10. Ah, asparagus...love it too and just had some for lunch. I, too, purchase mine from the store or rely on the generosity of others. We've been trying without success to establish rhubarb for several years and moved it to a different spot this spring. No room for potatoes or much of anything since we have a small yard in town. I plant tomatoes in pots, seed spinach and lettuce and that's about it. I'm also potting basil and oregano this year.

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  11. I am green with garden envy! Sorry I havent been around awhile. Busy working on canvas, my divorce and finally moving to NC in roughly 4 weeks time. Till then the gardening season most probably will be over. SIGH. I love asparagus, strawberries and potatoes. Latter in particular. Not sure whether you have hd the opportunity to check out one of the last blog post with an asparagus recipe.
    http://paulabowser.blogspot.com/2012/04/italy-asparagus-meets-mango.html

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  12. The only eddibles I grow are nasturtiums and herbs of various kinds, but my Dad grows quite a lot of fruit and vegetables. They include blackberries, strawberries, apples, gooseberries, rhubarb, cabbage, potatoes, squash, onions, leeks, kale and lettuce.

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