Martha would be proud

It’s been a while since I’ve perused a Martha Stewart magazine, but I recall there was always a calendar listing all of Martha’s to-do things for the month.  One time there was an entry stating “prepare garden beds for planting such-n-such.”  My daughter made the comment “It’s more like, have Javier prepare the garden bed.”  Something tells me Martha probably had one of her staff do the work, but I like to think that she gets out there and really does get her perfectly manicured hands into some muck once in a while.  After all, she’s an ex con.  She’s hard core!

In the spirit of Martha Stewart, let’s get ready for spring.  What does that mean?  For some it’s enjoying the warmer weather while others delight in the spring rain.  Kids and students of all ages look forward to Spring Break.  If you are a fan of the Easter Bunny, it’s your season.  And whether you are a seasoned urban farmer or someone who just likes to dig in the dirt and throw some seeds in and cross your fingers, the time is now.  I pretty much fall into that second category.  Although the seed thing has never really worked for me.  I like to buy the plants already started because I feel I have a pretty decent chance of getting something to harvest in a couple of months.

We just celebrated our first year in our current home.  We moved in March 1st, 2009 and spent so much time getting moved in and settled that the five raised beds in our huge back yard were low on my priority list.  I did manage to get a few things planted and growing in the summer last year, kind of  a baby step in gardening terms.  I was determined to start earlier this year and I actually made progress last weekend.

See all of those weeds in the back two beds?  That is what all five of the raised beds looked like before last weekend.  Fortunately for me, the dirt in all of the boxes is really good stuff, soft, loose and easy to dig and weed.  If it wasn’t I probably would’ve put plywood over the top of the whole mess and made a deck.  Did I mention that I am lazy when it comes to manual labor?

Here are  three beds all cleaned up and ready for planting.  I really enjoy the prepping of the beds because it is so much like cooking.  Mixing the compost into the dirt, getting my hands in there and really connecting with the ingredients.  I don’t think I am ready to actually taste the stuff to adjust seasoning, but ya’ never know.  Anyway, raking and smoothing the earth was like frosting a cake; I kept leveling and smoothing just as I do when I’m whipping up a confection for a client ,until it is baby bear just right!

The chives actually survived the winter ( so did the little tag) so I left them in place.  I will be adding more herb friends to this little area soon so the chives will not be so lonely.

The front box has lettuce and the rear box is home to broccoli and three varieties of beets.

Golden beets are in the foreground, to the left are Shiraz Top Red beets and on the right Candy Striped beets.  That’s the broccoli in the background.

This is the rosemary shrub that grows by our deck (see, we already have a deck so that crack I made about building one is kinda moot).  I just put this picture in because I think it looks pretty nice and I love having fresh herbs on hand all year round.  The next three pictures are of our back yard.  I wish I had a panoramic lense on my camera so I could capture the entire thing in one shot.  We love this yard; it’s like having a city park behind our home.

To the left you can see the raised beds and our next door neighbors yard.   We just happen to have a master gardener for a next door neighbor, which comes in pretty handy when I have questions.  The fact that she is in her 80’s , hard of hearing  and a little unsteady on her feet doesn’t stop me from asking for advice.  Besides, I can talk pretty loud.

The smaller tree by that shed is an Asian Pear.  That gets really loaded down by the end of summer! 

This is a shot down the center of the yard.  From left to right we have a cherry tree, and apple tree of some kind and another apple tree.  We have yet to see any apples but we did get some cherries last year.  Our gardener, Ed,  and his daughter Katie, were here working the day before these pictures were taken.  The college aged Katie mowed the lawn and we’re not sure if she has balance issues or was perhaps hung over.  You be the judge.

 This final shot has the apple tree from the previous photo plus an Italian plum tree.  There is a currant tree way back in the corner near the wood fence that the humming birds love!  It’s the little tree with the pink flowers.

We also have raspberries, blueberries, a green gage plum  and a fig tree on our property.  Today, when I got off work,  I purchased 6 pack starters of peas, leeks, cippolini onions and cabbage.  Looks like I may become an urban farmer yet.  Thanks for reading my ramblings and checking out the photos of our back yard.  It may not be as grand as one of Martha’s estates, but it feels like a royal garden to us.

3 Responses to “Martha would be proud”

  1. March 30, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Wow Darlin’, you’re quite the gardener! I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into your homegrown beets.

    Actually, last year we got quite a few cherries, but that tree is 50 freakin’ feet tall, so we were only able to grab the low hanging fruit… the rest was for the birds. The real out of control producers last year were the Asian pear tree and the greengage plum tree. I think maybe we should get a goat this summer.

    Tell the truth honey, I saw you out there eating dirt when you were working the beds last weekend. No worries… your secret is safe with me.

    I love you!

  2. 2 Nikki
    April 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I’m not a fan of Martha as a person really… But I’ve got to admit, that woman knows her stuff!!!!!!!!
    Her cupcake book is in my collection, and definitely a go-to book for me any time I get in the baking mood… And the website isn’t bad either! A HUGE assortment of great recipes…
    You make it look really simple to grow all of these things in your backyard… I don’t have a backyard, but will as of October of this year (no grass yet though… ah, new homes…), so I’m looking forward to getting to do this!
    Best of luck with the spices and foods, the rosemary looks wonderful! 🙂

  3. 3 jswesner
    April 27, 2010 at 1:07 am

    Looks fantastic! Great job!

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