Last weekend was a big weekend for our garden area. I mentioned last week that we are installing an aquaponic garden setup, and last weekend we started to do some of the groundwork for that. We had to remove three of our garden beds (which we back-breakingly installed less than 2 years ago!).
It was a little sad because we had to pull up a lot of veggies to make room. But luckily we were able to move some of them to pots or other garden beds, and I was able to use or freeze most of the rest of the veggies I picked. The only major loss was a beautiful huge rosemary bush that was almost 2 years old.
One of the beds we removed was full of carrots and beets, so they ALL came out!
So many carrots.
The beets were juiced. As for the carrots… my blog friend Army Amy suggested carrot cake for my last carrot harvest. Since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about carrot cake! I put a little spin on the classic cake, and I’ll share the recipe soon. (Hint: you can eat it for breakfast!) I still have a bunch of carrots, so I need ideas!
Another one of the beds was full of kale and chard. We were able to replant most of the kale. The chard had been growing for a year and a half, so we decided it was time to just remove it. We’ll plant new chard plants in the aquaponic system where it will grow like crazy. Check out these gnarly roots on the chard plants!
Between the chard, the beet greens, and a few kale plants that couldn’t be replanted, I had a ton of greens.
To preserve the greens (we definitely couldn’t eat it all within a couple days), I washed them, blanched them, squeezed out as much water as possible, and then froze them. I’ll use them in any recipe that calls for frozen spinach! I make a ton of these Quinoa Frittatas for Nick for breakfast, so I’m always using frozen greens.
Now. Back to the garden. Here is what the garden looked like before:
We had 6 garden beds, the quail
jail coop, a weedy dirt walkway and compost piles everywhere.
We are building a small greenhouse, so we had to remove 3 garden beds. Luckily, we’ll still have 3 traditional garden beds for growing things that aren’t ideally suited for aquaponics– like potatoes!
Moving three beds worth of dirt begins…
After the beds were removed, we put down decomposed granite in the whole garden area. This serves many purposes: we needed to level the ground where we are building the greenhouse; we will have significantly fewer weeds, if any, shooting up around the ground; we (and the dog) won’t be tracking as much dirt into the house; and most importantly, it looks one hundred times nicer!
Here’s the after:
This is the space where the greenhouse will go. It looks so much more tidy now with the DG.
Happy little potted veggies waiting for a new home…
That’s as far as we got this weekend. Still tons of work to do, but Nick is working all weekend so it will have to wait.
‘Til next time… happy growing!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
Wow your garden looks great, Jessica! Sounds like you did a lot of work. And that’s such a good idea about freezing your veggies. I have to remember that! Have a good weekend, friend!
Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen says
I *loved* seeing the pictures of the garden! I am so ready for warm weather… our back yard is completely covered in water with all the rain this year! I’m afraid if we had a garden it would’ve drowned. 🙁 I am wishing a lot of plant growth and success with your garden this year. In the meantime, I’m going to keep bucketing out the water that is our back yard right now! LOL!
Send some rain to California, please!! We need it badly!!
Isadora @ she likes food says
I love your garden! Can you guys please come and plant one for me? I get totally overwhelmed when I think about planting a big one. I love carrot cake and am looking forward to your recipe!
Start small! Once you realize how easy it is, you’ll just want to do more and more. 🙂
Amy @ Army Amy says
Three cheers for carrot cake! I mean, doesn’t everyone immediately like of the least healthy use for the most healthy foods? I’m ager to follow along the aquaponic thingy set-up. I’m so, so intrigued.
How many hours would you say that y’all spending gardening (although I know what you do is so much more than just gardening!)?
Setting up the garden beds took a while, but once the garden is established, really not that much time! Maybe an hour on the weekend to plant new things and do a little maintenance… and then just a few minutes whenever I want to pick things! Summer veggies require a little more time to prune and upkeep (because they grow so darn fast)… but honestly it really doesn’t take much time at all!