01 March 2008

Our pool isn't usually that green.

Earlier today I was playing around on Google Maps, trying to figure out the location of a random windmill we can see from upstairs in our house but not from the road. I never found the windmill. Instead, I got distracted by looking at satellite images of the area.

Google must have updated their aerial photos recently, because the last time I looked, our house had been photographed in the winter—everything was brown and dead. This new image is from the spring, and since the trees are all filled with fluffy new leaves you can really see how little of the 3.5 acres are actually usable for gardening. I envy those neighbors across the street whose yards get great sun all day.

The coolest thing about the new map, though, is that if you zoom in all the way you can actually make out the individual raised beds in our garden. In the picture below, I highlighted some of the prominent garden-related spots in the yard.

The herb garden and the current garlic and onion patch used to be well-tended gardens, but they turned into giant weed pits over the past year. We're attempting to reclaim them both, as we'd like to be able to spread our plantings around a bit. Kelly is going to stick most of his hot peppers in the herb garden, and after reading Patrick's advice to us on this post, we'll probably relegate our wild tomatoes to the herb garden as well. The two red Xs mark the trees we chopped down last fall, and the chickens were relocated a bit to the left—their yard now shares a fence with the southern edge of the garden—but other than that, this is pretty much what the yard looks like right now.


mom said...

That is really cool! And you're right, your pool isn't that green.

Patrick said...


If you're interested in reading more about seed saving in general as well as differences in plant species and so on, an excellent book on the subject is Carol Deppe's Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties:


She has a PhD from Harvard. A few parts of the book are so thick you could cut them with a knife. Mostly though, her audience is home gardeners and farmers and she has a great and fun way of communicating very interesting things about plants.

Ali said...

That is very cool. I had to check our place out, but it has not been updated very recently, it is still the blurry 5 y/o old photo it has always been. I can't decide whether that is bad or good, though....

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Your labeling cracked me up. Crappy orchard and dirty pool just sound like two of the COOLEST places! :-) We were just looking at google maps photos of our property, and the surrounding area, night before last. We noticed photo updates between different levels of magnification of the same image, if you can imagine that. There's an area of clearcut douglas firs not too far from here and when we would hit the + key a couple times, the trees would all magically reappear. Would that we could actually do that! :-)

Meg said...

It's only at the beginning and end of the season that it's that green. In between it's more of a murky gray color.

Patrick, thanks for the recommendation. I would like to do some more in-depth reading about seed saving and crossing plants and stuff. One book that's been on my to-read list for some time is Seed to Seed...do you have any experience with that one?

Ali, I know what you mean. I half expected to see us hanging out in the yard; there is definitely a bit of a creepiness factor to being able to look that closely at your house on the internet. It reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPgV6-gnQaE

Danni, the dirty pool is definitely a plus for the property, but I think we resent the crappy orchard because it takes up so much potential garden space for a limited amount of fruit. Too funny about Google making your trees grow back.

Patrick said...

Seed to Seed is also an excellent book. It's more of a reference book and very focused on seed saving as opposed to plant breeding. I look things up in it far more than Carol Deppe's book.

Carol Deppe has most of the same material as in Seed to Seed, but it's less handy to just look things up. Carol Deppe goes to a lot of trouble to explain why things work the way they do, and her book is the kind you would want to read from cover to cover (perhaps skipping a few sections and not necessarily in order).

Like I said, I have both books, but honestly you could also just pick one or the other and not be missing out on too much.

Anonymous said...

Very jealous that you have a bamboo grove! Closest we will come this yar is the Sunflower Forest my 6 yr old is planning.

Cool Pics.

El said...

Get this: we live too close (~10 miles) to a nookeelar power plant so our farm doesn't show up on Google Earth or Terraserver's photos. They, like, fuzz out a 20-mile border. I guess they don't want anyone to drop a bomb on the plant, and I guess (admittedly) that I am grateful.

I do wish to let you know that there has been a soil survey done for most of the good old USofA, though: very informative, just like your photo. Go see here: http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/

It's spooky what they know, them gubmint spooks.

Meg said...

I'm behind on my reading (trying to get caught up this weekend) and am just getting around to this post now.....very cool that you can see your place and garden so clearly!

I tried to pull up mine, but all you can see is the big old tree that shades my garden area, and two tiny white spots between some of the branches that are portions of my 3 foot by 3 foot raised container beds on the deck. I wish the builders of my home weren't *quite* so excited about quantities of trees 60-65 years back when all these trees were planted here. We get only a couple of hours of direct sunlight each day on the garden in the late afternoon, so I am very, very envious!