Our Garden Metamorphosis Has Begun — Organic Veggies, Here We Come!

September 20, 2010 § 8 Comments

As those of you know who’ve been reading my blog since I started writing it five months ago, we’ve been waiting to renovate our backyard before kicking into full gear on the organic vegetable gardening front. The woman who originally owned our house was clearly a gardener; she built terraces into the sloped backyard and planted a host of flowering shrubs and trees.

Unfortunately, as she aged and had to go to a nursing home, the tenants who rented the house didn’t do much upkeep, so the railroad ties delineating the terraces began to rot, the pine trees towered to 80 feet (killing everything underneath them with their acidic pine needs and/or their shade) and the other vegetation fell into disrepair (including our now-beloved and productive apple tree).

Over the past five years we did a bit here and there — we cut down the pines, opening our yard to the possibility of sunshine, and earlier this year, we cleared half of the weeds and began taking better care of what remained.

But today, the big guns came in. I wish I could say we were crafty enough to do this on our own, but I’ll be honest: we’re not. So, a landscaper and his crew are hacking out the remaining pine tree stumps by hand with an axe because you can’t get a stump grinder into our backyard (three stumps, two feet in diameter each; not a fun job); rebuilding the retaining walls; and installing a large raised vegetable bed in the sunniest part of the yard, complete with chicken wire buried 18 inches into the dirt to stop gophers from digging up our food. We’ll also create spots to plant beautiful flowers and shrubs so that we feel ensconced in nature, even though we live in the city.

Which means that soon, this…

Giant old pine tree stump

…will be transformed so that more of this is around…

"Seattle" dahlia bloom

Swiss chard

Artichoke buds

And I’m also dreaming of planting, nurturing and one day harvesting Romanesco and Chinese broccoli, kale, bull’s blood beets, French carrots, onions and leeks…mmm. (I’ve learned my lesson on the tomatoes — not planning on any of those.) The next phase of our edible gardening adventure has begun — our next step toward my long-term vision of growing 80% of the produce we eat!

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§ 8 Responses to Our Garden Metamorphosis Has Begun — Organic Veggies, Here We Come!

  • Eftychia says:

    Hello, I have an organic garder too, but my father does all the gardening… :-)!!!

  • Nona Lim says:

    Stephanie,

    I finally had time to go through your blog. Wow… so many entries! Let me know how the gardening goes. I have romantic notions of planting veggies but just haven’t had the time.

    Maybe I will be inspired next year to do something to our yard in Oakland. Will have to have you guys over when we are finally moved in.

    PS: Am totally jealous of your cooking week in Italy!

  • Carol Collins says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    Who would have thought we’d have so much in common?! I am also gardening. I have in the past but then kids came along and there went my time! Now I’ve started again. I am planning a plot 19X24 ft. and going as organic as I can. I have added rain barrels this year and plan on using organic soil in raised beds. I’m jealous of all the things you can grow and I probably can’t due to where I live. But I plan to try some different stuff: red carrots, hierloom tomatoes, and whatever else I can find. I look forward to seeing your progress!

    Carol

    • Carol, It is so great to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by my blog; I hope you return. I’m excited to hear that you’re doing organic gardening and trying to preserve some unusual species. I would love to hear more about your garden progress and what varieties are working for you. While some stuff grows great in S.F., many things (like tomatoes) do not given the foggy, cold weather.

  • naomi says:

    it is going to be so lovely. so excited to see the progress.

    • Sally and Naomi, Thanks for your kind words! We are excited as well to see the progress. So far, the guys have hacked out, with chainsaws and axes (amazing), two giant pine tree stumps out of the ground. In their places are gaping holes. I can’t wait until those holes are covered with beautiful plants!

  • Sally White says:

    How exciting! I bet it will be beautiful back there. I cannot wait to see it. I love the pictures!

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