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Dairy of an Urban Gardener

Garden

BACKYARD GARDEN

Installment: 1

Information provided by a gardener living in the City of Los Angeles, California


I prepared the garden the week prior to Good Friday the 2nd of April 2010. This is a tradition in the South and I still do it even though I am in “Sunny California” I think because of the maturity date of the vegetables, is the reason the Southern gardeners’ planted on this day. Preparing the garden means to turn the soil and get the entire weeds out of the dirt and fertilize the soil. Next you need to think about what you are going to plant and how much room there is because some plants stall tall and some produce (runners) leaves that branch out and spread on the ground. I have three separate spaces for different vegetables. I have a watermelon garden, a raised garden (above ground) and an all in one garden. Today I planted snow peas, corn, strawberries, red bell pepper, okra, cabbage, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, onion, garlic, Kentucky pole beans and carrots. I still have plenty of room left and I think I will have to share with my neighbors. I also have a lemon tree, apricot tree, black berry bushes and potatoes growing in my yard. I am thinking about planting sweet potatoes. The maturity date of the vegetables is between 50 to 100 days. So I will plant a second garden when these vegetables mature.

The rain during April has been very good for the plants except the okra. Okra plants don’t like a lot of water and the rain was a little too much so I will have to replant. Also the watermelon plants didn’t survive; it wasn’t because of the rain it was just a little too early to plant watermelon from plants I should have started from seeds. But I did have a backup plan, I have started some seeds in a planter box and I will transplant the plants when they are tall enough and the weather is a bite warmer. August 18th is National Watermelon Day so they will be ready for the big celebration.

For all the “Gardeners” who don’t have the space you can still plant a potted garden. Use large pots for tomatoes, planter boxes for corn on the cob and strawberries. To start your plants from seed use the following simple method. Use an egg carton and save the empty eggshells and use them as “pots”. Just poke a hole in the bottom of the shell, fill it with soil, and then plant your favorite seeds. When transplanting, simply crack, and then bury the eggshells. They’ll protect the plants and provide much-needed nutrients to your tender young plants. Eggshells are also good for pepper and tomatoes. Just soak crushed eggshells in water for 24 hours then use the water to water your plants.

A garden requires lots of water and with the recession a higher water bill is not something we need. Some of the thing that you can do is to use the “gray” water, that water that you can use from changing the fish tank, boiling eggs, vegetables, pasta and water that run down the drain while waiting for the faucets to get hot. The rain water caught in a barrel is the best use of water, but this California and we all know it doesn’t rain in Southern California.