The “Lil Ass Garden”: A Community Partnership

Lil Ass Garden on June 5, 2016

Community partnerships can be so enriching. While I have 0.3 acres here in town with a lot of planting space, I’ve been looking for a chance to stretch my gardening legs with some plants that require a little more space or sun. I’m very lucky that Karla and Brian, a super nice couple who live nearby at Lil Ass Farm, have allowed me to create a “Lil Ass Garden” on their property just for this! We love coming out to the farm and visiting the donkey, chickens, sheep, goat, calf, kittens, and of course their large and very friendly dog. Our four kids run around in the grass while my husband and I get to work.

Lil Ass Farm banner

Our first serious grouping of plants went in to the garden on May 22nd.

Lil Ass Garden on May 22nd, 2016

The corn in the field adjacent had hardly popped its head up, and the weeds hadn’t really gotten started either. I’d thrown some radish seed down the first week of May, but unfortunately it didn’t come up. I’m not sure what went wrong. In any case, in the two weeks since May 22, the ground exploded with grass and weed seed.

Lil Ass Garden on June 5, 2016

Yesterday, we put in some more plants and a temporary “fence” using T-posts and a ball of nylon twine. We anchored each end with 4×4 posts that we had removed from our fence since it was rotting. After cutting off the rotting portion, we are reusing them here to see if they’ll help hold the fence steady. I’m a scavenging queen, so when Karla said she had some T-posts lying around that they only used in the winter, I did some research and jumped on it. It’s all a grand experiment, so we’ll see how it works out.

Tucked in with our industrious grass crop, Lil Ass Garden also has:

I still hope to get more plantings in this week… Some more tomatoes, beans, and peppers to start. And maybe I will have to pull some of that grass. 😉

Fall is almost here – time for planting!

First frost is about 20 days away here in tropical Minnesota, so it is long past due to get the fall garden in. I do wrap my raised beds in greenhouse plastic in order to elongate the season a little, but I am still nervous for these early beets I’m planting. Let’s hope it goes well.

Going in the ground in box #21, I have:

  • Flat of Egypt Beet: “50 days. In 1885 Vilmorin said, “An exceedingly early variety, and certainly the best of the early kitchen-garden kinds.” This is a very quick beet of great quality, producing flattened 3”, crimson purple roots and short leafy tops.” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Crosby’s Egyptian Beet: “55 days. Introduced to this country in 1869 and trialed by Peter Henderson, who recommended it in 1871. This improved “Crosby’s” strain was first offered by J. H. Gregory. This beet is early, tender, & fine flavored.”- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Early Wonder Beet: “50 days. An old heirloom, pre-1811 variety. Early, smooth, round beet; makes lots of tall tender greens, too! Perfect pickled, fresh, cooked, or in borscht.”- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Golden Beet: “55 days. This variety dates back to the 1820’s or before. The beets are a rich, golden-yellow and very sweet. A beautiful beet that won’t bleed like red beets. The greens are also very tasty. A favorite of many.”- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

In the ground and going into the ground in box #20, I have:

  • Kohrabi Gigante (planted earlier) – “A fantastic Czech variety for fall crops with enormous basal bulbs that can reach a foot in diameter and weigh 25-35 lbs. under proper culture. Always tender, they can be used fresh or dug before hard frost and stored in the root cellar 4-6 months. Sure fire State Fair winner!” – Cooks Garden
  • Cosmic Purple Carrots (planted earlier, not pictured): “This one is causing excitement at farmers’ markets. Carrots have bright purple skin and flesh that comes in shades of yellow and orange. Spicy and sweet-tasting roots are great for marketing.” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Shiraz Tall Top Beet (not pictured): “60 days. Dual-purpose variety! Very fast-growing tops may be harvested early in the season—red-ribbed green tops grow lush and succulent. The sweet, very smooth and stylish roots follow in due course. Disease resistance of this newer type keeps the uniform roots blemish free! Excels equally for canning, pickling, roasting or boiling!” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Dwarf Siberian Kale (not pictured): “This tasty Russian variety produces leaves that are only slightly frilled and of top quality. 16-inch plants are very hardy and productive.” – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

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