Preview: Our 2011 Garden


Song: Back Up Pistol by Wick-It the Instigator
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I can’t wait to start our garden this year. Seriously. If you look at our house, you’ll see me standing there with my nose pressed against the window of the back door, gazing longingly into the yard, pining for the days when it’s warm enough to be growing peppers and other delights. Those are also the days of baseball, and let me tell you, I can’t wait for that to get started, either. The White Sox are coming to Denver this year! That’s just about the most exciting thing, ever!

tomatoes and lettuce

This is from last year, which wasn't our best gardening year ever.

You won’t be shocked to hear that we’re not master gardeners or anything. What usually happens is that I plan for an elaborate onslaught of vegetables and herbs and choose and implement a color scheme of flowers for the front yard. I’m all about getting the seeds started and planting everybody, but soon after that, my interest tends to wane. In the garden, I like creating more than destroying — I love planting and hate weeding (and good lord, we get some terrible weeds here in Colorado, the likes of which I’d never seen in the midwest). As usual, I’m good at planning and big ideas and poor at follow through. This means approximately half of the vegetables don’t do very well and Ben ends up doing all the maintenance, most of which involves watering. This year, I will be better! You heard it here first!

Soren isn’t old enough to appreciate a garden, but I think that good, home-grown veggies are especially important now that we have a kid. When he’s older, I hope he’ll appreciate the work that goes into growing your own food, and I also hope that will make him enjoy the food we’ve grown more than he’d enjoy vegetables bought from the store or whatever. Maybe he’ll be more likely to enjoy tomatoes he picked out and help grow, you know? I could be full of shit, but this is my veggie-friendly vision.

Our soil is questionable. There are soil-contamination issues in our neighborhood; all yards were tested and those that had an “unacceptable” level of whatever were dug up and replaced. Our yard did not require replacement of soil, but I’m still (reasonably or unreasonably) bothered by the fact that there’s some sort of questionable shit going on out there. This means we do everything in containers, which also means we don’t have all the room in the world. If I do a good job of not flaking on the garden this year, maybe we can put in a raised bed next year. That would be fantastic.

In any event, I’ve been spending some time on the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website, lovingly filling my cart with what will become this year’s crops. Here’s what I have so far (you’ll note we’re partial to peppers, which grow very well in sunny, hot, dry Denver):

  • Catskill (Long Island Improved) Brussels Sprouts
  • Lemon Cucumber, Pickling
  • Spacemaster Cucumber
  • Salad Bowl Lettuce, Looseleaf
  • Slo-Bolt Lettuce, Looseleaf
  • Anaheim Chile Pepper, Hot
  • Hungarian Wax (Hot Banana) Pepper
  • Jalapeno Pepper, Hot
  • Serrano Tampiqueno Pepper, Hot
  • California Wonder Pepper, Bell, Sweet
  • Early Prolific Straightneck Squash
  • Zucchini, Dark Green Squash
  • Basil, Lettuce Leaf
  • Yellow Pear Tomato (these are fabulous if, like me, you’re not a big tomato person — they have a nice, light flavor and aren’t too slimy)
  • Large Red Tomato
  • Mountain Princess Tomato
  • OTV Brandywine Tomato
  • Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin

    Yay for pumpkins!

    We grew these!

The tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, red bell pepper, yellow squash, and pumpkins are heirloom varieties, which I think is very cool.

We might add a few more things. Last year, we went to a little community garden event where they gave away a few free plants to everybody. We got pear tomato, eggplant, and pumpkin plants from that (these all did very well and the pumpkins even threatened to take over our whole yard — we planted them in the ground because we weren’t going to eat them). (I’m not sure if they’ll be doing this event again this year, but here’s where I found out about it last year. It was a lot of fun and they even served vegetarian tamales. I’ll let you know if I hear anything!)

I’m still working on the color scheme for the front yard. I think I did pink and white last year, but usually, for whatever reason, I’m drawn to purple and orange. I should try to do something different this year. Maybe blue? I’m not sure. In any event, I know I’ll post way too many pictures of the yard, because apparently taking 900 pictures of everything (and being hyperbolic with numbers) is my thing these days.