Monday, March 1, 2010

And So It Begins...

John calls it a congenital disease. All the women in my family enjoy gardening. Flowers, veggies, fruits, trees...we don't care. We like to grow things.

I have had a vegetable garden in our yard for the past 25 years or so. We like fresh vegetables, and nothing tastes like a veggie you grew in your own garden. The past two years have been terrible gardening years; cool and wet. We got a grand total of one tomato last summer. Two falls ago, there had been so much rain that, when it came time to dig the potatoes, we pulled the pitchfork out of the ground and the potatoes ran through the tines like mashed potatoes. They smelled vile and it was really disappointing. I tend to like the early parts of the garden; planning and planting. I don't even mind weeding so much, at least in May and June, when the mornings are cool and things are under control. As the summer heats up and the weeds begin the invasion in earnest, well, I can find lots of excuses to stay inside and let them. John prefers the later parts; harvesting and preserving.

I really like to have a plan for the garden, kind of like a cookbook. You know, what to do when. It makes it more likely that I'll get everything done. More likely; not a guarantee! This year I am following someone else's plan. It came from this book, looked sensible, and I wanted to try it. I decided to jump into it at the first of March. I'll start getting the beds ready and also start seedlings for cool weather plants.

This morning I went outside and saw this.

Last fall, we built raised beds in our garden, filling them with compost. (You gotta do something with all the poop and bedding we collect around here.) The very next day, the chickens descended, scratching and pecking through the compost. We re-filled the beds, and covered them with straw and wire to hold it all together.

This morning, I pulled off the wire. That was much tougher than it sounds, as the wire was frozen to the snow cover, which was frozen to the straw, which was frozen to the frozen ground. Did I ever mention my tennis elbow? Well, it got quite the workout. But I finally got the stuff off. Then I covered it up with black plastic. Hopefully, this will hold the heat in and warm the soil so I can plant things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, peas and lettuces. In the end, it looks like this.

(Those things lying on top of the bed that look like ladders are tomato supports that The Medic built for me about four years ago. They work great for keeping tomatoes up off the ground...and also for holding things down during the windier parts of the year.)

And the gardening season has begun!


Melanie said...

Looks like a great start. We've given up our garden spot we've had for the last 5 years. We don't have room in our yard for a good garden. I'm hoping my neighbor will let me use part of his acre in exchange for fresh veggies. Otherwise, I just may have to learn the art of container gardening.

I love garden planning. I'm gonna miss it this year.

Elephantschild said...

Maybe the Medic could build ME some tomato supports.

Melody said...

I could ask. It was NOT his favorite activity.

Elephantschild said...

Nah, it's ok. But could I get a picture of one of the sections standing up so I could copy the idea?