Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gardening by the Deck

It's been several years since I've done any gardening.  First it was because the hubs was graduating with his Ph.D. and we didn't know where the job search would be found.  Then after he got a job it was because we had made the decision to look for a new home.  Then it was because we were moving to a new home.  I've been missing it.

A previous year's partial harvest

The hubs had built this awesome little raised bed garden for me.  I grew mostly chiles (for the hubs), but also attempted some green beans and tomatoes.  My tomatoes never had an ideal location and we harvested enough beans for one meal before they were eaten practically to the ground by unseen invaders.  I gave up and just grew chiles.  Lots and lots of chiles.  One year we had over 75 plants of at least 40 different varieties.

I was really excited that our new place had two acres of potential for gardening.  (Well, not really two.  The acre on the south side of the creek is wooded and wild and we're probably not going to attempt to tame it.)  I spent a great deal of time evaluating hours of daily sunlight and shade and how well different areas of the yard drained.  What I wasn't considering in the least was the deer that came with the two acres.

We routinely see anywhere from one to nine deer roaming around, often right outside of our windows.  It drives the dogs absolutely insane.  And I know if I were to put a garden in the ground without a six foot fence, they would drive me insane as well.   So instead of digging in the dirt and having the cute little garden of my imagination, I have planters on the deck.

Two large cedar planter boxes were left here by the previous owners.  This one is actually in quite a state of disrepair, as the bottom has fallen out of it.  We'll have to take care of that in the fall when the plants are finished.  This box has Anaheim, jalapeno and habanero chiles, tarragon, thyme and a lot of involuntary cilantro.  Since I absolutely adore cilantro, it was allowed to stay. 

The other box is in a bit better shape, although it will be overhauled this fall as well.  It contains two sweet peppers, basil, rosemary and two varieties of Brandywine tomatoes.  

In the past I've always seemed to end up with indeterminate (vining) tomatoes that I didn't have adequate support for.  When these get going, I'm going to sort of trellis them along the airline cable on the deck.  I figure this has the potential to be a win-win:  the tomatoes have something to hang on to and it will be easier for me to harvest them.

In addition to the two large planter boxes, I also have a couple of containers of mint (lemon mint and orange mint) and started a couple of buckets of radishes (French Breakfast and Black Spanish).  Unless we're in need of a ground cover somewhere, the extremely invasive mint will stay in containers.  This is the first time I've ever attempted to grow radishes so I'm anxious to see how they turn out.  I noticed yesterday that the seeds had sprouted, which is always a source of excitement for me.  

I wish I had started everything from seed back in December, but indecisiveness overcame me and I ended up doing nothing at all. But I'm already making plans for next year's "garden".  

Lovely little tomato blossoms

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