Updates: Garden & Compost

It’s been awhile since I last posted about my garden. In the time since I have been involved in a major remodel of not one but TWO of the bathrooms in my house. Which also means that I did not have a shower at home for four weeks and had to drive all over town to friends and families houses to use their showers.

Luckily the major work on the bathrooms is complete and I am back to showering at home thank goodness. That is also good because now I can really concentrate on the garden I’ve been planning all spring. Last Saturday we planted all our seedlings in the garden plot in the backyard. We also direct sowed zucchini, watermelon, pole beans, bush beans and sunflowers. Here is what the garden looks like:

To the left is the compost bin on the north side of the garden. Just past that are the pole bean supports that look like a teepee. Then you can kind of make out the tomato cages – eight in all. You can’t really see the plants from that far away yet.

It’s been about a week since the big planting and things are going fairly smoothly. So far I’ve lost one Big Boy tomato plant and one broccoli plant. I think another two broccoli plants are about to go bye-bye as well. I’ll only have one left after that. I’m not too terribly upset about it. It is what it is. If they all die I’ll just plant something else in that space. FIL started brussel sprouts and okra at his house and then brought them out to be planted in our garden. The brussel sprouts all look terrible and I don’t think they are going to make it. The okra looks very healthy so far, however I checked them today and one okra plant appears to have been damaged by the thunderstorms we had this morning.

So what is doing well so far? Well three of the four Roma tomato plants look good. The fourth one is alive just very, very small. Two of the three remaining Big Boy tomato plants are doing well and the third is also very small. All four of my pepper plants are still alive and kickin’ but they are so small. I hope they will grow soon! All four basil plants are also still alive but also very small.

We planted two hills of zucchini and as of Friday afternoon they had sprouted! Here’s what they look like:

Compared to all the rest of my tiny plants these guys are HUGE.

The sunflowers had also sprouted:

FIL actually picked out these seeds and brought them over. We couldn’t have a garden in Kansas without sunflowers. According to the package these guys are supposed to grow to be 12 feet tall! I’ll believe it when I see it.

As of Saturday afternoon the watermelon had sprouted:

We only planted one hill of watermelons just to see how they would do. The variety is Sugar Baby which produces smaller watermelons that are only 8-10 inches in diameter. I’m VERY excited about them!

The pole beans were also starting to poke out of the dirt on Saturday. There are eight supports in all in the teepee and about three of them had seeds sprouting.

The bush beans are all still snug in the ground but I have a feeling they will be showing themselves soon.

The marigolds I started from seeds are doing pretty good except one has been completely ambushed. It had a bunch of leaves and a bud one day and the next day it was as if someone had hacked it off down to its bottom two leaves. I have no idea what happened to it. The others look great and they are all planted among the tomatoes. The zinnias are alive but they don’t look so great. That surprises me too because we’ve grown them before and they grew like crazy. We called them the monster flowers. The impatiens all died before I could even put them in the ground. I threw them in the compost.

Speaking of compost – here’s what it looks like now:

It has decreased significantly in volume from when we started the pile. Here’s what it looked like on Day 1:

The pile on the left is now in the middle which is the picture above. It has decreased in volume by at least half. We have been consistenly adding kitchen scraps and a few grass clippings and turning the pile regularly. Now it’s heated up really well and there are TONS of worms in it. You can actually feel the heat coming off the pile when you turn it. It’s kind of crazy how that process works when you think about it. Pretty soon I think we’ll start adding kitchen scraps to the other pile that has been dormant so far so we can get it going. The goal is to have enough compost made by the fall so we can turn it into the garden at the end of the season before winter.

I have really enjoyed gardening so far. It’s going to be a lot of work throughout the summer and I’m sure I’ll be frustrated when something dies or an animal eats my crops. But I think it’s worth it. I’m learning a ton and I find it fascinating that you can grow food from just a tiny little seed. All you need is sun, soil and water.


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