Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Keeping it local, keeping it in the front yard

There's something completely rewarding to step out front and pick our lunch. Lettuce, chives, herbs are all producing in the garden and landing in the salad bowl. I really should count the amount of steps from kitchen to vegetable bed. I don't think I'd need to carbon offset those steps, would I? Oh sweet sarcasm. Let's do it visually.

Go here:
salad box

Get this:
Salad from the garden
I may or may not have jazzed up that salad with homemade pickled beets, toasted walnuts, cherry tomatoes, and feta after I took that photo. Chive blossoms are spicy and tasty. Throw them in your salad for beauty and bite.

We've been working to maximize our use of space here in El Jardin Encantado. Almost all of the vegetables for our summer season are in. But not quite all. Here's a mini tour...
Front bench
This bench is in the front corner and is the perfect place to take a break, visit with friends, or just rest your eye in a busy space. The barrels on either side are new this year and are to increase our space for edibles. This is a hot, sunny and valuable space, so we're maximizing it as much as possible. In the barrels are columnar apples, along with herbs and lettuce. Plants are tagged in Flickr if you click on the photo. That showstopper in the background covered in purple blooms right now is flowering maple, or abutilon. I thought for sure we had lost it to Snowpocalypse and can't believe how healthy and glorious it's looking right now.

yes, that's corn
We may be crazy, but we're trying corn. Actually, we're growing the Three Sisters trio from native american practice of growing corn, squash and beans together. The beans fix the nitrogen in the soil feeding the corn, the corn serves as a host to the bean as it grows up the stalk, and the squash leaves shade the ground and keep it cool, allowing water to not evaporate so quickly in the hot summer sun. Let's keep our fingers crossed for that hot summer sun, okay?

at the front porch
We're maximizing vertical space, with hopes the cucumber will grow up the trellis. Alongside the cucumber are peas. Other plants in this front-of-the-house bed include tomatillos, peppers and cabbage. I love the look of cabbage in the garden: I think they're the northwest version of the punctuation points you see in California gardens using agaves. We've lined the front beds all with cabbage in hope they'll soon be thick with giant purple and green globes.

Peppers, peppers and peppers=summer salsas!

new outdoor space in the backyard
A sneak peek of the new backyard patio area. We've removed a too-giant tree, filled in a flower bed, and are finishing up a whole new area for outdoor entertaining. This is also known as my summer office. We broke it in with a brunch with friends this weekend and it just makes me so, so happy. And yes, that salad from the garden was on the menu. Salad from the front for a brunch in the back. Here's to sunshine.


CrackerLilo said...

I've never had chive blossoms! That sounds awesome! (Looks good, too.)

I love that you're trying corn. Grain is one thing urban gardeners just don't (can't, usually) do very often.

Lindsey said...

Lovely! I just picked and ate my first lettuce ever last night. It was divine!

Mark H said...

I think WE may have to come down and have another tour....NOW EVERYTHING looks in place and beautiful. WE too are enjoying our first lettuce pickings....fabulous. Our corn, however, is still in the plastic coldframe in pots....We can NOT put those out until mid-June.

Wacky Mommy said...

Girl, I knew it would happen eventually. You have lost your ever-lovin' gardenin' MIND.

Gorgeous pix -- gave me about 50 new ideas. I love growing corn -- the leaves sound so great when they rustle. And you can sing to it, the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and all that. Yes, I sing to my plants, doesn't everyone?

Flower gyrl said...

Lovely. Thanks for suggesting eating those chive flowers. We've got so many that a few blossoms won't be missed. We planted corn last summer in our teeny front vegetable patch (formerly known as the lawn) with good results. Granted my guy is a farmer whose people have been planting corn for a few thousand years.

Unknown said...

love it!! the 3 sisters method is something we want to do when we get our back property ready for corn. amending that soil and building retaining walls are going to be essential though so it's a project waiting to happen right now..haha!

your garden is such an inspiration!

Laura said...

Love those pretty purple, flavor-packed chive blossoms.

A Lewis said...

Looks like chive blossoms are the discussion of the day, thanks to you! And I already comment on Flickr about the bench....such a pretty place to rest, to rejuvenate. I need to see it this summer!

Rozanne said...

The garden looks better than ever--it is truly AWESOME (and I rarely ever use that word.

Heavy Petal said...

"Snowpocalypse"! LOL.

Gorgeous. Love the chive blossoms - never thought of that.

The other great thing about the three sisters combo is that the spiny squash leaves deter squirrels and raccoon, who, in my experience, love nothing better that to torment you by stealing one-day-away-from-being-ripe cobs. Blast them.

Anonymous said...

Chive blossoms? I've never had a chive blossom. I really want a chive blossom.

Heather said...

Your garden is just so inspiring. I finally put in a drip system, so maybe I won't quit being lazy and not water my plants when it's 104 because I just don't want to get off the couch! I promise, I'll do better. :)

Stephen said...

Hello & best wishes from another NoPo gardener... shall we do a garden exchange tour?
Love your blog!
Have a great weekend.

Powered by Tofu said...

Great pics! I just started container gardening this year!