Firstly, I’m not a horticulturalist. What I know about gardening in general you can probably fit on the back of a postage stamp, and not a large one at that. However, I’m keen to learn – my parents were always good about the garden when I was young(er) – and I’d like to get better at it.
Therefore, I thought I’d do a quick update on our ‘garden’. That’s in quotes as it’s a rectangle of land sandwiched between the house wall and the car parking space, being about 2m by 6m, so it’s not quite a garden by many non-Japanese senses, but here, it is, and I’m very happy about it.
To put in some back story, when we moved in, it had some very sick looking grass in it, two old conifers, and a rapidly ageing fir tree which the salesman was oddly proud of. The house had been a model house before we bought it, so the garden was near the end of it’s intended life. I nursed it all along for the first year, keeping it maintained and as green as possible, then at the beginning of 2010 I ripped out the grass and the conifers. I left the fir tree, but I think I’ll need to replace it this year or next – likely for another since it’s nice at Xmas time. I’ve also put down half of a stepping stone path for getting around the house, which the kids can jump along, but was simple to lay, and doesn’t affect the drainage. I’m hoping to get the second half done at the end of the month.
The idea has been to turn the space into a vegetable / herb garden, mainly to provide a bit of education and entertainment for the kids, but also because I hated looking at dead grass, and the idea of being even a tiny producer of my own food interests me.
So the tomatoes and the roses went in around May (2010), and both did well – really well. We tried some asparagus too, and it came through, but never seemed to flourish. Then I was looking at some other items which went in in late September as an Autumn crop. The roses are obviously a more decorative touch on the exterior to hide the small wall.
After that overly successful summer for the tomatoes – I think in all we had well over 100 great tasting ones, not counting the ones which fell or burst on the branch – I hacked those behemoths down as they were threatening to grow in front of the door, and have slightly moved the 2nd. generation, which was from a couple of tomatoes we re-planted nearby, to near the fir tree, though one more has spawned in the old site which the offspring quite likes the idea of. The wind has damaged the one I moved so I’ve tied it up as best I can until after the winter.
For the late / Autumn crops, I decided to go for my first herb – parsley, as well as onions and carrots. I wasn’t really sure how well the parsley would grow or even how big it would get, so I put in quite a few seeds from the garden centre and four plants grew so I’ve had to remove three because that last one consistently is growing well and spreading so no worries there, and it smells and tastes great. I’m even giving some leaves away.
The onions seem to be growing well, and I think I’ll pull one or two out and see how well developed they are over the next week. This is a sign of my ignorance of the growing seasons, or at least spotting readiness for vegetables. I need to read up on that; it’s simple with tomatoes, but not so much with root veg.
Sadly the carrots didn’t seem to go anywhere. I’ll leave them till Spring to see whether they just didn’t feel like it at the time, or whether they failed because of where they are in the garden since the garden is generally south facing, but due to a short wall, one side gets slightly less sunlight time than the other.
So for 2011, the tomatoes, onions and parsley will stay, I’d like to keep or retry the carrots, and I’d actually like to grow some Japanese produce like daikon with a goal of a mainly home grown veggie miso shiru sometime.
More news when it happens.