Saturday, April 10, 2010

my buttercup garden

Jzboy built me a raised garden bed a good 5 or so years ago.

I love it. Actually, maybe I should say that I loved it.

The past two gardening seasons have been a bit difficult for me. I lost my motivation & the garden suffered. California summers, although incredibly sunny & beautiful - are very, very, very dry. Most times I couldn't even go out there to look, let alone attempt to harvest anything - it was too depressing. Everything seemed so leggy, dry and unloved. And I blamed myself.

Thank goodness for Fall and Winter because those seasons manage to provide just enough time to dull my sad memories of the previous years woebegon veggie patch. Spring arrives along with my renewed energy and hope for the garden. And, Spring Break always ends up being the week when it all goes down. Here's a pic of the clean, pitchfork tilled and fresh compost amended bed.

In the weeks leading up to this endeavor, I did a lot of thinking about what was going to go in the dirt. Typically I choose a theme for the garden bed. One year it was a French garden - that year I planted tarragon and haricots verts, another year it was a Rainbow garden - with yellow, orange and green tomatoes and then there was the "International" garden year - cilantro, japanese eggplant, bok choy and Thai basil.

This year I decided to plant a Hope Garden patch. Unsure what would grow within a Hope Garden, I ventured to my favorite spot for inspiration - Berkeley Hort. I knew I would find what I needed to make the veggie patch exactly what it was meant to be for 2010. Here it is all planted up:

Jzboy and I agreed that this years garden would provide some of our favorites such as green beans, lettuces, pattypan squash, maybe some carrots and definitely cucumbers. The tomato factor was an issue, though. Conventional wisdom advises against planting tomatoes in the same place over successive years. The dirt, apparently, must recover.

((insert gardeners confession))

We pretty much plant tomatoes in the same place each and every year. Multiple plants. Year after year after year. We simply can not help ourselves. I thought that if I simply amended the soil generously, it would be fine. The gardener guy disagrees and suggests that our persistent tomato planting may very well be the root of the garden bed problem. Reluctantly, Jzboy & I agreed to either go tomato-free in 2010 or mayyyybe one wee tomato. Maybe.

Berkeley Hort did not disappoint. Although I kick myself for leaving without the dinosaur kale that I meant to grab (I'll be back!), I left with a good few prospects including this singular tomato plant:

Its a cherry tomato. Prolific and sweet. Hearty and lush. Bountiful. "Scrumptious", even. And when I read the name of this little seedling, the Sweet Baby Girl I knew that it belonged in our little optimistic veggie patch.

Plus it needed its own, special buttercup-yellow tomato cage. For support.

Here's hoping for a very fruitful Summer.


HuluMama said...

Love your buttercup garden!! Isn't it nice to finally feel a little hope for a change!

Waterrose said...

wonderful little garden! I miss gardening, but don't really like doing it here in AZ... You could always set a bit clay pot out with a tomato plant so that your soil can rest.

Bella said...

Oh, what a wonderful Hope Garden!! That tomato seedling is going to produce the most incredible, sweet plump cherry tomatoes you've ever seen :)

AlliesAdornments said...

"Sweet baby girl" sounds perfect for a Hope garden.
Wishing you a bountiful harvest this year, both in your garden & in your life!

PS, i like that the security word given for me to leave a comment is like a combo of "sweet" & WendyZ's last name, "SweeZ", perfect for the Sweet Z's!

aubepine said...

What a lovely garden! Lots of luck!

In My Blue Room said...

ahhh yes a bountiful harvest indeed! Love it !

shannamichele said...

Now you have inspired me too :) What a lovely idea for a garden!

Kayce said...

Oh I how wish we got a bit more sunshine here in the summer to have a garden! Yours is perfect and I'm sure you will have a bounty come August!

Nansglam said...

Wendy your garden is wonderful. Enjoy all the great home grown goodies from it!

Katie J said...

Congratulations on the garden. I love that you have themes and I'm glad that Hope caught your fancy for this one.

P.S. I can't imagine a garden without tomatoes in it.

dreamer said...

This may be one of my favorite posts ever. Not one of my favorite posts you've written, nope, one of my favorite of all that I've read online.

A Hope Garden.

Beautiful idea.

As I struggle with garden/no garden this year you've made me rethink the it and remember the joy I felt last year.

PS - I've had much success with the water soaking crystals in a soil additive that make it more drought tolerant!

redmenace said...

Your garden bed is so inspiring. I'm jealous of those, albeit dry, summers in CA. I miss them! I'm excited to see how the bok choy turns out. That's a great addition to the garden. And, the tomatoes? Well, you can NEVER have too many of them!

Special K said...

I'm toying with the idea of veggies this year. Your garden has inspired me. Maybe I'll go ahead and give it a shot after all.

K said...

Your little garden is enviable! I need to do raised beds so badly. I'd love to show you my new house and yard and garden area and get your input. Perhaps we can trade apricots for avocados?

Do you know anything about figs? My fig tree has big figs, but they are green and soft and falling off the tree...