The gardens this year are coming along so well I'm sort of stunned. It seems like for the last few years we've been thwarted from having the garden of our dreams (year 1: extremely time-consuming employment, year 2: wedding and honeymoon, year 3: international travel during the summer) and now we are in year four: new baby. But I have not let it stop me! Don't get me wrong - the baby does seriously alter my time usage. But I was back in the garden within 10 days of giving birth, and the gardening has been awesome.
We planted potatoes late this year (May 30th instead of May 1st), but the potatoes did not get the memo on that, and they are thriving.
I attribute some of our potato success this year to sifting our soil. You can see in the first picture that the holes are vastly bigger than what you'd guess for planting a single spud. Well, the soil there has been compacted in past years, so this year we made a giant sifter with 1/4 x 1/4 inch woven wire mesh, a few fence staples, and some old boards. All the dirt we pulled out of these holes was shoveled onto the sifter and then raked across it. We then were able to refill all the tater holes with finely sifted, uncompacted, de-rocked earth and voila! Excellent potato growth.
The established xeriscape in the front yard, which I gaze out at from my home office, has taken off. With some nice fir mulch and a wet spring, it is gorgeous out there and getting nicer all the time.
I'm happy to say that the xeriscape thrives on its own, now that the perennials are well rooted. Mulch, occasional thorough watering, and a few weeds pulled now and again are all this garden requires. That is the joy of using native plants, and drought-tolerant plants, in our climate. No muss, no fuss!
Last but not least, my baby is growing like a weed. He spends a lot of time in the shade of our sweet peas and dill, which create a nice cool baby micro-habitat.
My sweet peas and dill were planted at the same time, and the dill grew faster than the peas, so they acted like each other's best friends. The peas are making healthy soil, and the dill creates a trellis for the peas to climb. It's pretty great.