Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Welcome to the garden.

Elderberry saved from the farm I work at, where they regularly mow it just as it is about to ripen because, and this is incredibly difficult for me to understand, food is not important to them. They've grown up in our garden and will, at some point, be transplanted out. But this year, this is where these are. Sometimes vines, sometimes trees, sometimes whatever, is in the nursery of the circle garden.
The cabbage about to head, the onions doing well, compost in the back there.

Two tomato plant survivors, Italian drying type, which, when we bought the seed several years ago, was supposed to be a determinate but is anything but. These two plants will likely make a forest, and besides that, we can root the suckers for more plants.

The first extra cute cucumber.

Potatoes, hilled.
This would be the largest part of the rectangular garden. The full width would be marked by that wavy row of sunflowers about 3/4 of the way up the photo, and scale shown by the man hoeing at the top. The red corn is at the bottom. You might notice how weedy it is. It gets weeded out a row at a time. Then there are sunflowers, potatoes, more sunflowers, and the white corn. With some melons and such at both ends and other odd places.

And that picturesque row of sunflowers from another angle. White corn to the left, potatoes to the right. That corn right there has not been hilled yet.

This corn right here has been hilled, and beans planted in it. Squash to be added soon.

So, as you can see, this is a lot of what we've been doing. Things are, generally, going well. Everyone has his/her projects/passions and everyone has the things we all do together, or for the benefit of the family, or whatever. Not that there are any clear lines like that. But if one were looking for camaraderie, well, there'd be no better place to find it than in our garden with us all down there.

A sister once commented that her garden was full of weeds. Our garden is full of weeds. But all the food plants need is a small advantage. Maybe I've said this before, but it doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, perfect gets in the way of, well, pretty much everything. The garden is perhaps the least affective place in the world and is thus the most healthy place in the world too.


Mr. H. said...

Your garden looks to be growing quite well this green and full of life. I'm curious, do you attempt to maintain control over the weeds all summer long or just until the food crops can hold their own?

Your nursery made me smile, we also leave part of our gardens for nursery work...and right now it also contains a few black elderberry bushes that I am trying to get going from cuttings.

My wife commends you for saving the elderberry of her favorite plants.:)

Kate said...

Nice tour, thanks. I must confess that I've never even heard of hilling corn. Do you consider it necessary/highly advantageous, and if so, why? Our three sisters bed is currently the least well amended area that we grow stuff in. This spring I just dumped a small pile of compost in each spot where I knew I'd be planting several corn plants, as I did last year. (I use a sort of modular system for the three sisters - each unit is 7 corn plants and 5 climbing beans, then one squash mound for every two units.) A lick and a promise is all this area has gotten so far. Next year might be the year that it comes in for some real weed suppression and soil amendment. It could certainly use it.

CG said...

I've tried to make this comment several times. Let's hope this time blogger works for me!

Let's see. We don't probably ever maintain control of weeds. We try to give the crops a head start, and mostly we plant in such a way that they then shade out the weeds.

I love elderberries for their beauty and cried the year they were mowed at the barn. The next spring I dug some up, some from each patch, and they landed in that part of the garden. What I would love would be to have a split rail fence down at the county road with tall perennials like elderberries, Jerusalem artichokes, and echinacea growing behind the "v"s. But the decorative stuff like that gets really low priority around here. There are several other places I'd like to drag logs and fill with manure and put those plants in too -- maybe that will get done.

We hill corn for several reasons, but probably mostly because it reduces wind knock down and makes the plants incredibly stable. We take the hilling as an opportunity to plant the beans so that works too. We have grown corn and three sisters in myriad ways and right now this is the way we've found works the best for us. We used to do it in hills but found hilling was easier in rows. When we can, we tend to fill in between the rows with fairly raw manure during the growing season (timing is critical for that -- the corn has to be up and hilled so the manure doesn't get too close but the squash has to have not run a lot yet so that we can still walk between the rows carrying the manure in). Then that gets plowed in the next year.