Moonmooring garden many years ago.
It’s been many years since my garden has been small. It was probably in the mid 80’s when I had a little space about 14 X 14 feet roughly cut out of the woods with a jalopied fence around it. In the middle of that space was a big stump that we had not the tools or knowledge of how to get rid of. You see we were city kids at the time and trying to learn how to be country kids – in our late 20’s. It was a long learning curve.
The garden got a little bigger each year and the stump
Year of the Cushaw. Marideth and I harvested over 350 pounds from one hill.
finally rotted out. I learned to make compost and amended the soil with it and fifty pound bags of composted manure from Wal Mart. Times have changed since then.
After a divorce new friends taught me how to really plant and care for tomatoes, how to mulch with six inches of straw and what to do with the alien looking rhubarb. I remember that first garden and the bounty of tomatoes throughout the summer and into the fall. I remember the first hard freeze coming and recalled helping my mother pull her tomato plants up by the
roots – in the dark, drag them into the garage and cover the whole mess with old blankets
My favorite – snow peas.
so we could pick them at our leisure the next day. I’ve done that, but this year around ’93 or so I had time to take a wheelbarrow to the garden and pick them all from the vine, green, red and in-between, before the sun went down. That year I ate my last ripe tomato on Christmas day and it was good.
Let me tell you a bit more about that tomato year. Marideth Sisco taught me how to mulch the garden heavy with straw early in the fall and let the straw
compost down over the winter. We turned every square of that stuff when it started to
Only in the fall for me – broccoli.
sprout so the seed would all die out. Come spring I had a plethora of warm dark dirt underneath the straw and teaming with earthworms. About every foot we parted the earthy straw and planted each of the dozen leggy tomato plants as deep as we could along a hog wire fence. A big handful of compost and some fish emulsion went in each hole. We pulled the thick layer of rotting straw up close to the tender plants and wished them well. I learned to make this great foliar feed and diligently sprayed them once a week. There was a bumper crop of
tomatoes that year and when the frost was coming the plants were still loaded with beauties in all stages of ripeness.
I filled that wheelbarrow as the sun was setting and the cold set in. I brought that wheelbarrow right into the kitchen and it stayed there until it was empty of tomatoes just before Christmas. Every day I would pick through the ‘barrow and lift out any near ripe ones to set in the window sill and remove any that obviously weren’t going to make it. The lost ones were few and far
Baby bean plants
between. I made spaghetti sauce, and fried green tomatoes, and tuna fish sandwiches and ate tomatoes every day that Fall and winter.
The garden got bigger every year after that.
This year finds me back at Moonmooring enough days of the week to miss the garden here. Having not been worked in several years and the weeds gone to seed and quite a few trees needing to come down in the area it seemed an insurmountable task to rejuvenate the old garden spot this year.
Hence the mini garden of Moonmooring! Twelve large tires with the sidewalls cut out and laid out next to the patio just outside the kitchen I have a couple Celebrity tomatoes, lemon drop peppers, a yellow bell and a pablano, a mess of basil tucked in around everything along with onions, three Ping Tung eggplants, a mess of cilantro and parsley (for all the tabouli we plan on eating this summer), a four foot row of cucumbers, and a six foot row of rattlesnake pole beans. Gene has graciously caged the tomatoes and fenced the tiny
- less than two hundred square feet – garden. Now I find
myself with a fence line and nothing growing on it. Ok three earth boxes got moved into the space today and I broke out the flower seeds. Seems a good year to plant the zinnias I have always wanted.
With just an ounce of luck, a lot of mulch and the magic foliar feed this space will put some food on the table every day all season once it starts to produce. And I will post pictures of the garden and the food we make out of it and share recipes right here.
The 2014 little garden.
Some of the many harvests last year.