Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weeds I've Heard From...

I haven't been doing much writing or reading lately: what I have been doing a lot of is weeding....weeding and rambling.

Weeding is a good way to do nothing as long as I don't care how many weeds are still left when I'm done. And on my ramble this morning, I saw wild phlox, buttercups, honeysuckle, ragged robin and forget-me-nots.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Garden Update

I haven't been raptured. I'm okay with that. I just planted a garden. I'd like to see it through.

The tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, and eggplant are all doing fine in their pots. I transplanted thyme, oregano, parsley, and lovage into some of the tomato pots, and they seem to be liking their new homes. Kale, broccoli, cabbage, garlic chives, and red onions are all looking great in the raised bed. The L-shaped vegetable bed is quiet except for the pumpkin and loofah transplants.

Then there are the direct sown seeds. The snow peas were the first to poke through the surface. Yesterday, I noticed there were also radishes of the French Breakfast variety, kohlrabi, and chioggia beets sprouting. With this week of thunderstorms, I had some fears that some of the seeds would get washed away. I was dumping excess water out of pots, and checking the beds daily. Today, there are Scarlet Globe radish, Black Spanish radish, Sylvetta arugula, golden chicory, and Amish snap pea raising up little leaves.

A neighbor noticed me and called out a good morning. He asked me how we built the bed. He wants to build his own.

The bed is about 36' long. It's 5' wide for half of it, and 3' wide for the other half. This is because of the fence the bed is against - the raised bed fits the shape of the fence.

Beds are generally 4' wide to make it easy for you to reach in for sowing, weeding, harvesting, staking, etc. We used untreated wood for the bed (chemically treated wood is a bad idea for a vegetable garden). It's pretty easy to take a drill and secure wood together at the ends. You can get four 8' long pieces of 2" x 10", cut two of the pieces in half, and have a 4' x 8' vegetable bed. Instead of going through the back-breaking work of turning over sod, lay down layers of newspaper. Once the soil is put in, everything growing underneath it will die.

For soil, I used GreenCycle. They delivered a mix of organic topsoil and compost to my driveway. We then hauled it all over, using tarps, to the beds. It was hard work, but I had some wonderful friends helping me out.

Pictures coming soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It finally happened - my dirt arrived.


Four yards of organic mixed topsoil and compost! Don't you just want to lay in it like a pile of leaves? ;)

First, I painted the bed.


Malai "helped." The pots are for tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, herbs, and dwarf sugar peas.


Then, with actual help of course, the bed was filled! Here there will grow cucumbers, okra, kohlrabi, lettuces, zucchini, onions, leeks, thai basil, spinach, radishes, and broccoli.


We had dirt leftover, so a whole new garden bed was created!


All those daylilies and other things near the foreground of the photo were up against the house. I moved them to the end of the fence and created an L-shaped vegetable bed. This is where the corn, pumpkin, loofah, beans, and peas are going. All that's needed now are some trellises!

It was a lot of work. Digging, painting, carrying, and planning. Couldn't have done it without the help of family and friends, so thank you to them. At the end of the day and after a shower, Lover and I settled into our couch not wanting to move again. Our chihuahua and Munchkin cat curled around us, and we held cups of hot gomaichu (a great tea with a woody, savory flavor). Worn, accomplished, clean, and sore, I felt completely content.

It's been a slow start, but next year will be better. Now that the beds are in, I can plant cool weather crops like brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, kale) and peas early on. The onions, tomatoes, and peppers will get started with the grow-light and heat mats, and everything else will get put in as soon as the last frost pasts. Gardening....ahhhhh. Rejuvenating.