Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gardening

So I haven't posted in a while.
We are still dealing with the child's lead poisoning. Her levels went up again, coinciding with he warmer weather and more outdoor time. One possible reason was that the sunlight and vitamin D were expediting the transfer of stored lead from bones to blood. The other possibility was lead in the soil.
child in the driveway
Maybe the driveway isn't the best playground
child in the yard
But then the backyard is suspect too
      
















We started her back on basic iron supplements, but also had the soil tested at the state university. One concern was that the soil in the raised beds was suspect, but there was also an open dirt patch where a tree went down and we were working on getting the stump out. I thought that the front would actually be the most contaminated, but as it happened`that and the raised beds were fine but the back was at medium levels, which is still unsafe for growing food and, to us, playing.

Future home of sunflowers
Future home of sunflowers
Spouse had done some research and found that sunflowers can take some of the contaminants out of the soil.We're testing that with the spot where the willow tree used to be. (The tree came down last fall during a storm and we decided not to put it back when the neighbor told us it had happened before.) I've got two packages of sunflower seeds in there in the hopes that a few flowers come up. If we have a decent enough crop this year, we'll get that patch tested again and see if the lead levels have gone down.

me with pitchfork
I'm bad-ass with my pitchfork
Since the raised beds were okay, that meant we could actually try a garden this year. I had spent a lot of the spring hoeing the beds and adding some extra soil as well as some potting mix made from coconut husks. The beds needed some lime though according to the soil test results so I've gotten that in and will soon be getting what little compost was under the heap in the back.

Pea trellis
Pea trellis
There was enough soil there though to get some peas in this week, and I got to use the handy snap together pea trellis things that the previous owners left in the shed. Not that we need it yet, but it does help mark off where the peas are planted, and makes it look like we have a real garden.

potato container
Potato planter
In the taller of the beds I put in some potatoes. I bought a grow kit and some seed potatoes from Gardener's Supply, but ended up planing those potatoes in the raised bed, along with some red fingerlings that had gone to seed in the pantry, and saving the bag for some Marris Pipers I managed to score online! They're a variety that seems harder to find here, although it's a common chip potato in the UK.

seed packages
Seeds to feed a family
I had grand plans for growing a lot more food this year but the seeds I ordered months ago only just arrived today. I think we'll still try a few, but the majority will have to wait for next year. We've got some seeds starting separately anyway, so we'll just add to that growing batch.
Starting some seeds
Starting some seeds

But some things we won't have to start on our own are tomatoes and peppers!  I managed to score some left-over seedlings that didn't make it into the garden at work. I'm not going to try the upside down tomato planter again (that's going to become a "raised bed" for the child to "garden" in) but will try the traditional way. We have a lot of scrap wood in the shed so since I've already used the trellis, I might try to make some supports for these on my own.

Peppers and Tomatoes
Peppers and Tomatoes













croissants
croissants
I do have more pictures and more to tell on the front herb garden, but this is probably too long and tedious as it is. So instead I'll just leave you with a picture of my first try at making my own puff pastry: croissants. Plain, chocolate and almond. They were worth the effort!






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