I wrote this post back in September which was not that long ago. I’ve had a busy past few years, and I’ve been promising to show you how my urban garden grows. I will make a third attempt this year (since I’ve been trying since 2016 ) and you know what they say…
‘third time’s a charm‘…fingers crossed hoping this works!!!!
I start making plans for my garden in the middle of summer which for our zone 5 garden is around late July or early August. I start journaling in an inexpensive spiral notebook by jotting down ideas as I sketch loose diagrams of my garden. Over the years, I have gone through tons of these spiral notebooks. I know some people use programs on their computers to figure out their garden space, but I have found a simple spiral notebook to be my go to each time I want to make changes to Palm Rae Potager.
I like to make plans for the next year garden while I say goodbye to the present year garden. These are some of the questions I address in my journal each year. I am all about the 3’s today!
- What was NOT successful this year?
- What was VERY successful this year/ exceeded my expectations?
- What do I want to change next year to make these two goals attainable?
I wrote the below section in late September. I will fill in where needed to freshen up the post. I intended to follow through this year with explanations as to how I grow our Urban Potager. I have my fingers crossed that the next few months I will stay on task. Things are quiet around here at Palm Rae Potager, so I should be able to achieve this goal.
This past spring I created a new gathering space outside as we replaced our old porch that was falling off the back of our house. The railing was collapsing, and the wood was rotten. It had to go. When remodeling our home, we always attempt to keep the same footprint and use what we can instead of tearing up and replacing everything. This porch area was poured back in 1968, and it is still functional. There is no need to tear all this up and replace something updated. We live in a throwaway society and need to start preserving what we can utilize and not keep filling up our landfills; just because we need to stay fashionable. My motto is if it is “functional” than it is stylish.
Each time I tried to capture a picture of this remodeled gathering space after a get together; it never looked right. What was wrong? Usually, I can catch a picture of something, but not this gathering place.
I decided to saturate “it ” in my photoshop. I FINALLY captured it…
I thought about it for a few months ( remember I am behind in posting!) since I just could not find the right picture. AHA! I got it. The people were not in the picture and when they left…..they took some of the garden colors…That was it! Each time we gathered in our garden with family, friends or neighbors a bit of color was taken home. I genuinely believe people create gardens to be enjoyed by others and to color their life with happiness. We sure could use a bit more of that in this world today.
To me, it is all about giving others a wonderful time sitting in nature. I heard several people say, “I can’t believe I am in the city?” Yep, it made them happy and they were like little kids playing outside in the forest. Our gardens “heal” if we build them and share. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a beautiful day or evening! Can you?
Time to Start Planning for Next year!
As I am working in the garden all summer, I am thinking about what I need to change or save for the next garden year. It usually starts around the middle of July and continues through the middle of September if we have a hot fall. I decided this past year to document how Palm Rae Potager starts from the ground up to provide for year-round eating. Our garden does not just pop up one day with food and nature dancing all around. It is a carefully choreographed “garden dance” that begins the year before.
A system and a plan are always set in motion the previous year. I bet some of you did not know that, well, neither did I until I started thinking about what, how and when I do various things. People often ask me; Where did you start? I feel like at that moment, I have so much to tell them all at once that we would be sitting there for a few hours and I have no doubt it would overwhelm them and they would walk away with the idea that it is too time-consuming. Yes, in the early stages it is a bit more time consuming, but if you do it right, it takes care of its self as the summer progresses along. You do get time to sit down and sip a cup of tea or share a craft beer with friends in the evenings!
Many of my garden seeds are saved for the next year from the previous year. Yes, I save MANY of my seeds. Some years, I keep seeds from one crop, so I only grow that one out. I have grown out my red peppers three years in a row. I should have enough red pepper seeds to last me a few years. Next year, I would like to grow out a variety of peppers to trial and see if there are any others I would enjoy eating. If you want to save one type of pepper you need to grow out only that pepper on your city lot. Peppers will cross with one another. I selected the traits I wanted in red pepper. To me the early red color and sweet flavor. You can read about that goal in this post (here).
However, this year, I think I would like to grow out a good cooking pepper that does not need to be the color red. Maybe a banana pepper. I have now until next spring to decide. In the meantime, I have collected seeds from my red pepper from this year and should have enough seed.
I believe it is time to start over saving my cucumber seed after this year. It looked rather awful most of the summer. One thing about lemon cucumber is it keeps on producing even if the leaves or plant look horrible. I love my lemon cucumbers, but this year, I believe it is time to try some other types of cucumbers as I grow out a few sources to see if they are the right lemon cucumber I want to enjoy each summer.
That is the funny thing about seeds you order from other places. They will say a seed is this or that and the longer you garden you find out, hmmm…that is not what I ordered. This has happened to me over the years more times than I want to admit. The problem is that I need to trust my seed sources. I have been keeping records of where my seed sources are and which ones tend to be “not true to seed.” They are not what they say they are, imposters! Shoot, I am not mad since I have saved some seed of my own and being in the seed sometimes you never know what someone else is growing and seeds do cross. However, some have been a pleasant surprise.
Also, known as triloba “variation” or “prairie glow” depending on who is selling the seed or plants. I tried to find it several places this year, but each place sold out. I decided to save my own seeds from a plant I purchased.. Not a problem now! This is why you have to plan ahead. It does self-sow but if you have an urban paper like I do you move your garden beds each year to keep your soil healthy. I always pull up my little seedlings that have self-sown. Once I recognize them, I do not have a problem, but the first few years I pluck the little guys out early spring!
This week and next as long as it stays warm enough, I am collecting seeds from my garden. I will share with you all about my Fall salad garden!
Happy Gardening from my garden to yours!