Working in the yard during the cool weather

Did some clean up on one of the raised beds. My green cabbage got attacked by bugs and I was not pro-active with stopping them. My fault on the cabbages. My purple cabbage is doing great and I am not having a bug problem with those at all. I pulled the brussel sprouts as I did not get anything at all but a fairly tall plant with no sprouts whatsoever.  I have one basil plant that is doing great and a volunteer tomato that grew under some of plants. I staked the tomato and then covered the lower part of the plant with some straw. What is cool is this plant has the first tomatoes I have found in my garden and I think it’s either an Early girl or perhaps a beef steak type of tomato.  I added a little more of the bag soiled I got from Home Depot just to top off the bed a little more and add a bit more nutrients for the tomato. I’m going to plant some of the colorful lettuce and see how it does as a second planting.

The volunteer squash are finally putting on some veggies and it looks like the white patty pans are the ones that did the best as volunteers.  Having so much growth is sort of a new thing for me and my garden.  While I’m ecstatic about the growth I need to thin it out a bit, picking the healthiest to keep growing for food and seed for next year. I was not prepared to have a healthy garden as most of my garden in the past have been sort of sad, sickly things.  I added some more wood mulch to try and augment the soil as well as kill out some morning glory in a couple of areas. Dug up the goat heads in the alley and there is a new plant in the alley  that is spreading but I have no idea what it is except it is green, low growing and has no stickers of any sort. The “cheat grass” is pretty much under control and even the goat heads are not spreading very fast. So I think this fall I will be able to get to work on the alley way for some good plants I want to have on hand as well as improve the soil and look of the area.  For next year I will have 3 distinct type garden areas based on soil/sun/water conditions I can take advantage of and plan how to maximize the use for growing.

The compost pile is starting to break down and I’m getting some very nice stuff to add to the yard and my soil amendment/ grass growing experiment.  The areas that I put the most compost down are doing much better compared to the where I just barely covered the ground.  All of it has helped for water retention but so far I need about a 4 inch depth to start seeing improvements to the soil where the water main was dug out.  I spread a bit of organic lawn food and sun/shade  grass seed in my backyard in hopes it will start to fill in the back yard grass area I want to have for the place. It’s still early days for this experiment but I think that I can feel and see a difference as far as soil and grass health.  I laid down a bit of straw on the north side of the house that is very shaded most of the time and has a large area of dead soil even weeds don’t grow there very well. I ‘m going to give the straw a chance to break down before I add any grass seed of any sort.

I doubt that I can grow enough to feed me on my city lot but I have had a vast improvement in my garden and my lawn just by mulching and using the compost as well as expanding my garden beds to the front yard. I maybe wrong as I see how my small raised beds are much more productive because I am working the soil first and letting the plants do their magic.I have been caught by surprised by how well adding in good compost and mulching has made in a healthy yard and garden.  I am certain I can augment my basic food supplies, eat a somewhat healthy diet and save water by using rain barrels and a modified drip irrigation system. Saving money is always a good thing in my book as cash is already in your hand and if you don’t have to spend it, that is a good thing!

I’m a big believer in in not looking to be perfect when you are learning something new! Experiment and be willing to fail as I have found learning what not to do is just as important as figuring out what to do next.

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