Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our Garden

In New England, you never know what the weather will bring, so my family and I are always conservative about planting our garden. Every year for the past 13 years we've planted on Memorial day weekend.

When we first moved to New England, the first thing we did was remove much of our lawn - it wastes water, uses chemical fertilizer, and various herbicides/insecticides to keep it green. Instead we planted a variety of perennials and native shrubs.

Our five mini-gardens are:

1. Japanese Garden - filled with Japanese ferns, bamboo, cedar, a Shinto Shrine, a meandering river of rock, and a Jizo statue.

2. Vegetable Garden - we grow many of our own vegetables including 5 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, bok choi, cucumbers, lettuce, edamame, pumpkins, peas, and herbs.

3. Cottage Garden - A butterfly garden filled with white blooming perennials and a clematis trellis

4. Rhododendron Forest - a thicket of rhododendrons under the shade of old hemlock trees.

5. Iris Garden - bearded and beardless irises set among sedges, sedum, and maples.

My approach to gardening is phased and incremental, rather than big bang. I start in early April by cleaning up the yard from winter, removing branches, leaves, and accumulated debris. In mid April, I mulch heavily to eliminate any weed growth before the warm weather arrives. In late April, I place all the garden statuary, pots and bird houses that were stored away during the winter. In early May, I add fresh soil from my compost pile to the pots and raised beds. In mid May, I tune all the irrigation systems. Finally, at the end of May we plant - organic vegetables from Russell's, annuals from Volante Farms, and seeds from Seeds of Change .

The warm and temperate Spring has been great for 5 gardening areas. All of the photos above were taken today, so you have a real time view from June 3.


Jean said...

Love your approach and your gardens! My approach is similar, but we have 5 NH acres . . .
Do you have help to maintain the gardens?

Rebecca W said...

John - you have successfully inspired a reader living in Skyscraper National Park to further develop a "micro-garden" indoors! One thing to note: I encourage individuals who are shopping for the green composition of their own gardens to purchase their plants from local farmers, especially since this is the season for locals markets and easy access their offerings. Purchasing plants from the Walmarts and Targets of the world often takes business away from local farmers in your community.

John Halamka said...

Thanks for your comments! My wife, daughter, and I do all the planting and garden maintenance, always using local resources.

gemils said...

Lovely gardens. I have been getting the gardening bug up here in Alaska, and am trying to find ways to turn my rental unit into a more garden-friendly space.

Also, would you call your photos real-time examples of your garden, or perhaps store-and-forward? Pertinent static files for us to consume at our leisure / convenience as opposed to something requiring our synchronous availability and cooperation?

Just sayin' ... :)

Eileen said...

My nine year old LOVES edamame. I have only been able to find frozen edamame in Boston... is there somewhere you can buy it fresh?

Was it hard to grow it in your backyard? I'd like to give it a try next year.