Welcome to I’m Diggin’ Friday, a weekly feature here at Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog that explores the ins and outs of Barefoot Gardening, a fun, family-friendly, low-stress way to grow fresh produce right at home!
Things are growing steadily in the barefoot garden. I’m also embarrassed to admit that I haven’t done much out there in the last couple of weeks. Not even watering, as Mother Nature has taken care of that with a trio of well-timed thunderstorms.
We’ve harvested the last of the in-ground potatoes and will see if the potato bin experiment was a success when I return home from my business trip next week. The cucumbers are ripening nicely, as are the cherry tomatoes.
The Great Pumpkin
The pumpkins are completely insane and one is ready to harvest. My brother suggested pinching off all the other flowers and seeing how big it could grow, but I think this variety is bred to produce smallish pumpkin. (I have no idea because all of the pumpkins were volunteers – more on that in this post).
I’ve been reminded that The Great Pumpkin will only visit a sincere pumpkin patch – I think an enthusiastic, all-volunteer patch qualifies, don’t you?
Eggplants, Pole Beans, and Bamboo – Oh My!
The eggplants are starting to grow, although only two of the four plants have fruit. I can’t eat Italian or globe eggplants (allergic reaction) but have no problem with Asian eggplants, so I grow them every year.
Well, now I do, since I live in a warm enough climate for them. Boston’s summers just weren’t long enough but Maryland is just right!
We planted pole beans in the patch where the garlic had been and they’re coming up nicely. Strangely, the vines haven’t been winding themselves up the poles. Instead they’ve been winding around each other and trailing on the ground so I have to untangle them and coax them up the poles.
As you can see in the cuke photo above, bamboo is my favorite pole and trellis material. We just cut in from vacant lots or friends’ backyards. In the DC-area is grows like a weed!
The Value of Patience
This fuzzy patch is one of two asparagus beds planted last summer. Asparagus is a hardy perennial that is very easy to grow, but it requires patience! You plant the crowns in the early spring and then leave them alone – no harvesting, no nibbling – for the next TWO summers. After that, however, you can have fresh asparagus for a decade or TWO!
Now there’s a plant that personifies (botanifies?) the barefoot gardening approach. You give it a little care up front and it pays you back in spades for YEARS to come. More on using perennials in the vegetable garden in a future post.
Feeling Fruity – Berries and Figs
It’s not all veggies around here. A few weeks ago I blogged about strawberries. In the berry realm, we also have raspberries, blackberries, and currants. I planted two goji berry bushes but one died and the other’s not looking too hot- I may try to transplant it to a better spot.
But those aren’t the only fruit we have. One of the reasons I LOVED our house on sight – or I should say four of the reasons – were the mature fig trees growing on both sides of the house. Until then I had assumed that figs needed a Mediterranean climate, like olive and apricots. But they grow wonderfully here.
Oooo – Pretty! (And Yum!)
I’m not big into planting flowers – I want food for my efforts – but the woman who lived her before me did such an amazing job planting bulbs and perennials that I still benefit from her labors. In the spring we eagerly anticipate the emergence of the crocuses and daffodils followed by the tulips and irises.
But nothing pleases me more than the hibiscus that pop up amidst all the lilies across from my office window. And did you know hibiscus flowers are good in herbal teas? In fact, if you’ve ever had one of Celestial Seasonings “zinger” teas, you’ve tasted it. The citrusy taste is from hibiscus.
My son loves it so this year we’re going to harvest and dry some of he flowers ourselves.
…in an Itsy Bitsy Gardening Space
I have to clear up a common misconception. I don’t live on a farm. I don’t live on a huge lot in a distant exurb. I don’t have a huge community garden plot or allotment (to use the English term).
I live on a normal-sized lot with grass, flowers, shrubs and a driveway. All the veggies and fruit bushes and trees that I’ve described to you grow in small patches. The biggest is maybe 8 x 10 feet.
In a future post (yes, I know I promise that a lot – I mean it!) I’ll focus on how to garden in tiny places – like balconies and containers – as well as where to garden when you have absolutely no space of your own.
In the meantime, grow green – and barefoot!
How does YOUR garden grow?
How are your tomatoes, cukes or pumpkins? Got any bean coming up – or veggies ready to harvest? Have bugs got you down or is drought drying you up?
Share, kvetch or commiserate – in the comments below!
BONUS: July Poster Giveaway
This month’s special giveaway is this fabulous out-of-print NOAA poster, Marine Mammals of the Western Hemisphere. Everyone who leaves a comment between now and the end of July gets one entry in the drawing. Link to this site on your blog and get two entries. Get your comments in now!
Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. She’s currently writing a series of short erotic romances. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.Follow @danielle_meitiv