Sunday, October 16, 2011

winter garden

I wrote this early yesterday evening. This morning, I saw that today is Blog Action Day 2011 and the topic this year is food.

I'm sitting outside.  There's a nice breeze and I'm in the shade of the pecan trees with the sun going down behind me.  The temperature is perfect whatever it is.  

I'm killing time actually, waiting til it is time to leave to meet my sister at the local theater.  It used to be a movie theater but obviously failed at some point.  Now it's being used as the local community theater.  I've been wanting to go to one of their productions and so my sister and I made plans.

Sitting in the yard, I'm sort of facing the garden.  Emma the cat is sleeping under the pepper plants.  She likes to lay in the garden.  Earlier she was laying in the space between the okra and the peas that Marc just planted, right on top of the spot where we are going to put carrots tomorrow.

Frank's garden

It's winter garden time, time to get things in before it's too late.  Our garden is small since we are still learning about growing food.  It's very haphazard compared to our neighbor Frank's garden.  Frank's garden is easily three times larger than ours, neat, all rectangled up, trenched around the edges to keep the grass out, row after row planted.

our garden

Our garden, a narrow strip on the other side of the yard, has no rows, no organization to it at all.  There are four tomato plants together at one end and one at the other.  We also have, still, the four okra from the spring garden as well as the two bell pepper and two jalapeño pepper and one banana pepper, also from the spring garden.  New and interspersed among them are three cauliflower and two broccoli, one swiss chard and two horseradish that got stuck in there sometime this summer.  Also peas that Marc put in today, wrapping the wire fence around the okra.

I have no idea what we are going to do with the horseradish besides just let it grow.

little garden

I've planted beans and spinach in the strawberry bed which I refer to now as the 'small garden'.  It's at the back of the property.  I put in some carrot and lettuce seeds today to fill in where the spinach didn't come up.  And I planted some zucchini in a big pot out there in an attempt to fool the squash vine borer worms which get my squash every year.

We don't grow enough to entirely feed ourselves but we do grow enough to contribute to lots of meals.  Frank, on the other hand feeds himself and his kids families and still brings stuff over to us sometimes.

We aspire to growing most of our food and not just because its fresher, tastes better, and is more nutritious but because it just seems right and it's certainly more satisfying than going to the grocery store.  It's not just the eating of the food that nourishes us but the energy, love, and effort that we put into it.  We nourish the earth and it gives back to us.

Frank's pear tree seems a little confused about what season it is.

And besides, unless the economy improves, it's that or, as Marc like to say, Chinese cat food.


  1. This struck home on today's blog action day. I did not know about it until a short time ago... But I bet that extending the attention through the week will be okay.

    Your blog about the gardens has made me think several times about how, as someone who can no longer garden, it is important that I stop at those roadside places that are giving away or selling their excess.

    Taking the time to stop, to eat what has been grown in my neighborhood--and then to be sure I USE the food.

    I think so often of the quantity of food people toss because the "expiration date" is one day past... food that has not spoiled. People who do not "like" leftovers, but constantly cook too much.

    We take so much for granted, even when we say we are on a budget.

    It's important, I think, that your family is doing this. And those of us who can't? We have to start thinking more about what we are doing...

    Thanks for your post.

  2. at least you're growing a garden. i've not attempted it in many, many years.

  3. You may not have Frank's garden, but I am glad you take satisfaction in having one yourself. You are a heck a lot more ahead than many people in the US who have the yard/area to garden but don't.

    I miss having a yard, but I haven't figured out the whole container gardening thing yet. Maybe next year. We eat a lot of vegetables and I hate the quality of the crap at the store.

    And what is blog action day?

  4. And there you go- you will be forever bound to growing food because it is in your blood and you have discovered it.
    Sometimes small is good. It is better to take on something you can do without killing yourself than to take on too much and give up. You can grow a lot of food in a small space.

  5. No two gardens are the same, are they? I like the gardens you show here, each with their own personality, no? I could never part with my tomato patch that we tend to each Spring. There's just nothing like that food straight from the vine.

  6. There is nothing that tastes as well as home grown...and when it's your home grown, it's even sweeter.

    Your soil looks

  7. Ellen- Isn't it wonderful to be able to cultivate our own food? It is as satisfying as creating anything else we make, and it feels darn good. Who cares how the garden looks, so long as it grows. I hope it yields a healthy bounty for you.

    Enjoy tonight's community theatre! :)

  8. Frank's garden reminds me of my dad's - except that daddy also has those raised beds.

    I wonder if we could put in a winter garden here? Of course, that would mean that the summer garden is done, but our tomatoes & peppers are still FLOWERING. If we don't get a freeze we could be growing things into November.

  9. i think gardens are very reflective of the gardener. mine is entirely haphazard with an undercurrent of order that is only apparent after lots of reflection and talking to oneself! steven

  10. Your garden looks pretty large to me but then I may be looking at the summer garden plus your new stuff. I think it is so cool that you grow as much as you can. I swear prices go up every week. I am in a constant state of shock at the grocery and people just look at me like I'm crazy. Whatever. Anyway, it looks beautiful Ellen.

  11. Wow! It all looks so good!!
    If you do process the horseradish...wear a gas mask.!! I am not kidding. The fumes will knock you out....!!!!
    Be careful

  12. It only takes a bit of love to have a wonderful garden. I grew all my baby food for my kids,and still like to grow more than I need for myself.I find it relaxing to labor in the soil.

  13. Home produce tastes so much better than shop bought, simply because it's freshly picked. And if it has no pesticides it's even better. Otherwise, nutritionally, it is no different from farm produced food.

    But it's a lot more fun to grow it yourself and it also makes you feel good, a very important factor.

  14. Frank's garden is very orderly, and your garden is artful. All gardens have a beauty and poetry to them.

  15. Hi Ellen
    what a huge backyard you have, with lovely shade trees.
    What are those tepee shaped things in the distance?


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