August 24, 2009

A Tour of my Garden

This past year I have begun learning how to grow my own food. I started in containers in my apartment because we had no outdoor space. In August I moved to a new place and was able to move my plants outside. Here is what I have so far and hopefully next year I'll be able to expand into something awesome.

Planter boxes growing herbs. The outside 2 are basil and the middle is cilantro. The right picture is basil too. After this year I now understand how to prune basil so as to encourage it to bush out. It's starting to bush though it's kind of funky because it took some experimenting. The cilantro doesn't look the healthiest. I think it's ready to be done. I have harvested it multiple times and it looked good, but now it's getting light colored and kind of purple. I'm not really sure what that means. Maybe I need to do some research.

I just planted some beans. Apparently there is "one seed Chicago" and this year's seed is the bean. I got a free packet at an event I went to and decided I would plant them. I previously had carrots in this container and decided that hopefully the beans would help regenerate the soil because carrots take out a lot of nutrients.

These are my tomato plants. I got them from Slow Food Chicago when they were small. I kept them indoors and they didn't seem to want to flower. They grew really big and bushy but wouldn't flower. Since moving I brought them outside and they are finally flowering! Soon I will have cherry tomatoes.

I did a bit of guerilla gardening in our front yard. This area was full of weeds so I cleared a small area and planted mustard that the kids at church had left behind (we did a planting activity one day). I had to replant it so we'll see if it takes. If so, we'll have tons of tasty greens.

These are not from my garden, but still a fun garden related project. I got a ton of pickling cucumbers from the farmers market on Friday. I cut them up and made pickles! This is my first attempt at anything like it, but I think they tasted ok. I'm not sure if I could keep these jars out of the fridge or not, so I think I'll refrigerate them just to be safe. Hopefully next year, I can do this with stuff from my garden.

Finally, a picture of future plans. This is where we're hoping to plant a garden next year. The soil is in rough shape so we'll have to do a raised bed. It's also pretty shady so for sure I want to cut down those trees. I'm considering trying to put the bed in this year and attempting to build a cold frame for it. Greens into the winter would be a fun experiment. We'll see.