Since our new house has a large backyard, one of my goals is to gradually convert it from lawn into a garden. Now that we’ve been here for two months, time to check in on what progress I’ve made so far.
First of all, sadly, I neglected both of my baby Meyer lemon tree plants after the move. They were left at my mom’s house, watered rarely, and the last of the unhappy leaves finally fell off when I moved them over a month later. But plants are resiliant. I put this one outside where it could get fresh air and whatever water nature provides, and the leaves have already started coming back. (The one I kept indoors still isn’t happy, so guess where it’s going.)
So far I’ve built three makeshift raised beds from some bifold closet doors that had already been removed and weren’t in terribly great condition, combined with store-bought compost dug into the existing soil.
The tomato bed was the first of the bunch, and it’s a jungle now. There are just a couple of tomato plants (one uncaged and falling over itself, one bursting out of a cage it has outgrown), many onions planted as sets but now floppy, parsley, thyme, leafy things, and some plants which I’m not sure if they’re weeds or part of the Save-the-bees seeds I added. Since reading Masanobu Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution, I’m less concerned about weeds in my garden, though. As long as they don’t get out of control. Fingers crossed.
Uncaged tomato plant falling over itself
Tomato plant that has outgrown a cheap small plastic cage
Onions, parsley, big leafy things, weeds?
I also planted out bell pepper plants in there a couple of times but both times they disappeared. There must be some critter visiting my yard that really loves to eat young bell pepper plants.
Bed number two is the future home of my cucumbers, with a few watermelon radishes and nasturtiums in the empty spaces.
Bed number three is a home for melons–cantaloupes, canary melons, and watermelons. They really shouldn’t all be crammed together in such a small space (the vines will crawl out onto the lawn in different directions), but not all of them will make it to adulthood and this is a chance to see which ones win. I also planted melon seeds in random areas around the yard, but they won’t be getting watered so regularly unless it turns out to be a rainy spring. There are just a few nasturtiums in here also to help repel insect pests.
I’ll be building at least one more bed in the not-distant future, but in the meantime I also found an abandoned pallet and added some compost to give my yellow squashes a home before it got too late in the season. (In Austin summers many plants have a tendency of dying.) Going outside today to take this picture, I was shocked to see that two of them had grown so large already but then remembered that those were the two I started inside. Heh.
Last but certainly not least are some seedlings still growing inside. Here’s a marigold, tomatoes, oregano (experimental form of plant-the-cuttings-directly-in-soil propogation), jalapeno, and bell pepper.
And a few more: another jalapeno, zinnias, more marigolds, and rosemary cuttings.
I need to start lots more marigolds and zinnias inside to make sure they grow happily and make my front yard look nice for a general housewarming party in June.
And with any luck, this summer we’ll have a variety of delicious foods at our doorstep.