Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gartenjahr 2010

I can't remember now if I've mentioned it before, but in the dead of winter I declared that this was going to be Gartenjahr (garden year) 2010. I did this
1. because we were actually going to be in Provo for the summer
2. as a preemptive strike against more ambitious and expensive home projects
3. since our yard really hasn't had much attention. ever.
If we do nothing besides remove rocks this year it will have been very productive. We happen to live on a shoal of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which means that our yard is entirely rock. Digging is actually more about prying the rocks apart and planting anything requires some serious rock abatement.
Rob was quickly on board with Gartenjahr since he is the gardener in the family. He obsesses over the Seed Savers catalog. He coddles seedlings in the boiler room all through the winter. He turns over the garden without a rototiller and when that is done he is forever turning over the compost pile.

Next I took two classes: a residential landscaping design class which I loved but eventually bailed on to take a spring break with the rest of the family (we should have spring break); and a gardening class by a local guru that was painful but only six weeks long. I'm still trying to figure out what I learned of practical use for the yard. Since I didn't complete the work for my BYU class, we don't have a landscape design yet. And the gardening class mostly taught me that we should have seven acres to work with, so I'm not certain what to apply there either.
For the first time, Rob planted a winter garden. I confess that I was a naysayer. He used this former portion of his compost empire and covered it using a pet corral, two shower curtain liners, and a bunch of binder clips. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of it at that point -- I was too busy saying nay. We think he planted it in about October, and it just sat there until he removed the plastic just before he went to Berlin in March. He planted lettuce, spinach, chard, beets, peas, and garlic. It grew slowly all winter long, but since March it has taken off. It has been a real enthusiasm booster as we're putting in the summer garden now to be bringing in a harvest already. We'll definitely do it again, and we'll probably try a fall garden as well.
On Saturday Rob took some baseline pictures around the yard. Among others are the tulips, the apricots, the lilacs, the rhubarb and the neighbors' wall which we latticed with ivy. The garden has strawberries, chard, garlic, onions, lettuce, spinach, half a dozen kinds of tomatoes, and squash, zucchini, cucumber and herbs (basil, basil and more basil). We're hoping that just saying it will help it to become a good Gartenjahr 2010.
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Jessica said...

It certainly sounds ambitious. I think I'd do nothing but raised beds if I were on top of rock-rubble.

Curtis said...

I just got done writing an update on our garden, and then, I noticed you had a new post.

Show offs!

It looks like you're going to have a great Gartenjahr 2010. We'll come over and admire when our Gartenmonat has ended.

Emma said...

Amazing. I want to learn more about this winter garden of yours.

And there is one thing I know to be true it is the McFarlands have always had greener thumbs then anyone else & their gardens & flower beds are far superior then anyone else. Going to the house as a kid I always remember how amazing & green & prefect everything was!

Ann said...

Looks lovely. And that lettuce was incredible, so job already well done.

Lois said...

Your yard looks awesome!

Why is it a German "garden year"? Why can't it be Spanish? Enough German stuff already. Let's hear it for Spain!

mary ann said...

OK, scratch all that. It SNOWED this morning and now the tomatoes, basil and one major branch of the apricot tree are completely gone. Bad news. I bought Rob three more seed packets of basil as consolation.

Zina said...

That snowfall was totally discouraging to any garden ambitions I had. But it was also vindicating of our not having done much yet (it did kill off a few flowers). I went out during the snowfall and knocked as much of the snow as I could off of our apple and plum trees. I got frozen and soaked but I think it helped.

With limited space you might want to look into Square Foot Gardening. I've been to a couple of presentations about it and it sounds like it would work.

Actually I guess we've even used some of the ideas, but since Dean didn't go to the presentations with me he does some of it wrong. And he's pretty much our only gardener other than a little help from the kids, since I abandoned gardening and yard work around the time I became pregnant with Hazel and haven't taken it up again.

Oh, except Mabel helped me put in a bunch of bulbs last fall and our tulips have been gorgeous in between the constant onslaught of wintry weather. This last snowfall pretty much killed them off for good.

I didn't really mean to comment at such length. Oh, well.

Zina said...

And yet, I forgot to say that a) Gartenjahr sounds like a great idea and b) that ivy trellis is amazing.

Megan said...

I got our garden planted only to have it killed by the snow. Your winter garden is amazing. Enjoy all the fruits of your labors!

M-L said...

It looks amazing! and I love that you took classes. Great project.