Thursday, April 22, 2010

Putting the Garden In

I disappeared from around here again, but for good reason - I had to get the garden in! And it IS officially in, all but my direct sow seeds (carrots, radishes, 3 kinds of beans, and a second kind of cucumber)! Last week I was knocked down pretty hard by a cold so that has slowed me down a bit on the final plantings. I was thrilled to lay the last bricks and place the last bit of fencing to protect it from all of the dogs this week though.

Over last weekend Pete and I picked up 1000lbs of compost and topsoil to use in containers and also to amend and build up some of the eroded soil in the back yard. After Pete tilled the hard earth in preparation, I came behind him dumping wheelbarrow load after load of soil to mix in along with the compost we had made over the winter season. Once that was done I laid 4 brick pathways in the six foot deep bed so that I would have a way to tend to the plants at the back without putting pressure on the soil close to the plants. This did take up some substantial square footage, but by using bricks from around the house I was able to complete the project without spending a dime and create a slim walkway.

After that I started laying out my little pots to get the best configuration of plants, avoiding planting my nightshades in the same place as last year, and to take advantage of the sun. I had some squash volunteers come up from the compost we dumped in so I left two of those to see what they end up being. (I also have several volunteer potato plants coming up in the compost pile that I don't plan on pulling up either, I'm excited to see what happens!) A few hours of digging holes, mixing in fertilizer, digging trenches for potatoes, and unsuccessfully trying to build my own bean teepee's later I gave up for the day. I had started at 9:30AM and the sun was almost down, it was 6:30 in the evening! Luckily Jules took a four hour nap over the mid afternoon otherwise it wouldn't have been possible. Pete was also nice enough to escort him to the park as soon as he woke up so I could continue full speed ahead. A few more short days here and there and now everything has it's place.

In the midst of all that work I was also potting up 8 kinds of tomatoes, 5 basil's, long planters of lettuce, 3 peppers, and other assorted herbs to keep out on the front walkway where we get the most sun. I figure if everything dies or is eaten by pests I'll have all of them as backups. I also picked up a blueberry bush that is a self pollinating variety that can be kept in a container so when we move it can go with us - this makes me unbelievably happy! My 6 strawberry plants from last year have multiplied quite a bit, and with the addition of a few more full grown plants this year I have quite the patch going. Jules has already had 2 fresh, juicy, ripe, red berries - one from one of the containers out front, and one from the patch out back.

95% of the vegetable garden will be grown from seed this year and that's pretty exciting. This was a trial year, I'd never started them myself so I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I've found that some things went really well (tomatoes, basil, marigolds) and some not so much (brassica's, purple basil). It was really nice to make new homes outside for these tiny plants I've been caring for since February. I couldn't resist a few things at McDonald's Garden Center or Garden in a Flower Pot, they helped me fill in some gaps and replace some things that haven't done so well, or if I'm honest - feed my addiction to yummy home grown vegetable! I figure if I can't find a place in the ground for it I have a HUGE sidewalk to fill out front!

I'll come back to upload pictures once I get home to take some of the finished project!