Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Last year I wrote a blog about Cutting Back and listed everything that I can grow which I no longer bother to grow.  Well, this year is the same theme.  Having already finished the epic dry creek bed project, we are moving on to refurbishing the two car garage and building a deck at our side entrance.

The garage with its old shake shingles and
house wrap hides in the background
The garage is about 70 years old, has been routinely ignored in favor of all our other renovation projects and is in need of a major face lift.  I always try to leave it out of garden and landscape photos, but sometimes it sneaks in. 

"Needs to be refurbished" - ya think?
What it needs is a whole new foundation
Our side entrance has been on hold for years and has been dug up a few times in the past few, first to replace the septic system and then just last year to run city water into the house.  It presently consists of a non-glamorous set of steps, deteriorating railroad ties, an expanse of bare gravel, and a stalwart Porcelain Vine which does a lot towards covering up the air conditioner and distracting from the general lack of landscape.

The side entrance last year mid-water project
This is the year we plan to remedy all that, so the garden has been tightened up again to be low(er) maintenance.  I cut out more than half a dozen planters which are very time consuming as they require almost daily watering.   I successfully (for the first time ever) restrained myself to 5 tomato plants and no eggplants.  And that's really about it. Still, it will be a lot less daily work.  Here is a list of what is in the garden this year:

Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Out in the open the plants have to be protected
with a wire cage until they are mature enough to
be prickly and not appetizing to deer and rabbits
  • Lettuce (lots of lettuce)
  • Strawberries
  • Peas
  • Potatoes (in containers)
  • Zucchini (way too many)
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes (only 5 plants)
  • Bell Peppers (in containers)
  • Bush Beans (still to come)
  • Various Herbs
Tomatoes surrounded by Nasturtium to keep
soil from splashing up onto the tomato leaves.  

Cucumbers shading the third planting of lettuce

Bell peppers in large landscape pots.
The Gro Thru grid will support the plants when
they become taller and heavy with peppers.
Right now, the strawberries are in their prime.  I pulled many runners to open up the bed, and to keep the plants away from the sides which is what caused my Strawberry Problem of 2016 where all of the plants grew through the cage making it almost impossible to remove for picking.  I am picking a couple of quarts every other day and what does not get eaten fresh goes into the freezer for Strawberry Crisp .

Peas are about ready to pick.  There are enough for nibbling but not yet for two servings at dinner.  I think probably if I feel around in the potato pots, I will find enough new potatoes for supper.

tall Wando peas

Maestro peas almost ready to pick

Potatoes in tubs
To harvest, I just dump one tub.  And I never damage
one like you might when digging
In addition to refurbishing, we also have a lot of seasonal maintenance.  The garden shed has been washed down and the doors painted.  The doors are white fiberglass, and you would not believe how much dirt they collected just from rain and atmosphere.  Within a couple of months, they would be grey with grunge.  This bronze color which matches our outdoor furniture and deck boxes will hide a lot of that.

So that's what' going on in the garden.  The weather has been beautiful, pests have been minimal, and everything is growing by leaps and bounds.  Time to start on summer projects.

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