Monday, April 19, 2010

Adventures in Gardening

I love Spring and Fall. I love planting seeds, and harvesting produce. I love the gearing up, the new earth turned and cool, buying seeds, daydreaming about the bountiful harvest, buying supplies for when the harvest is picked... but I do not like the middle part. I have enthusiasm for weeding for maybe a week, sometimes two. I rarely think to water after their initial just planted watering.

My garden reflects my life. I am easily enthused by many things, but rarely stick with it for long. Last year my garden was constantly tangled with weeds - 1/2 my radishes came up squished because I did not thin them out. My carrots were tiny things that I had to dig up at the end of the year. Despite this, I was very proud of my harvest last year.

However, I am trying a different style of planting this year. I am trying to be meticulous. If the package says thin to 8" apart - I am planting 8" apart. I put my peas in first. I planted them 8" apart, and only one row to start. The following week I did another row, and then a third row the following week. My hope is to stagger the harvest. I also got my radishes & carrots in - although it is too hard to plant carrots to correct spacing - I might look into seed tape next year for carrots & lettuce. I meant to stagger the planting of my radishes so they would be ready in shifts, but I was running late, and just planted them all. I really was hoping to get all the spring veggies in right away. Ran out of time. Too much to do. Life gets in the way - the usual.

Every spring the organization I work for puts on the largest conference of its kind. I work on it from September to May every year, and in March and April I am swamped. This year I put in a lot of extra hours, and therefore the spring garden was not fully planted. Then when I come back from the conference, I have to play catch up not only on the gardens, but the house work, and time with the hubby and kids (and sleep too).

Then there is May. Events on weekends, fences to build or reinforce, animals to rearrange, new animals to integrate into the coops, plus getting in the garden.

When we first started planning our gardens for this year, we thought it would be a great idea to use the pen we had used for the goats & sheep last fall. Natural fertilizer, and weed control by the critters. Then it rained. It was too soggy to till when our friend came to till our other plots. I really wanted to get in there last weekend, but we had to do other things - pluck the turkey, shear the sheep, build new fences, farm stuff. Finally this week the hubby tried to plow it with a friends cultivator - could not cut through the sod.

So it is 5pm on May 20th, I have no idea where I am going to put my over 60 tomato plants, and the goat pen is not cooperating. A friend and I head out with hand tools. I start with the shovel, after several minutes I get through the sod, only in order to actually pull the clod out, I have to cut it out on all 4 sides. The hoe did not do much on its own, the garden fork poked decent holes, but really did not do much either.

25 square holes later, we have pulled the clod out, put back as much dirt as we could separate from the sod, and piled the sod next to the new chicken fence - now they can not escape underneath. I now I have 25 holes that are 1/2 full of dirt. First I mix in some sand to help it drain, and then put a few shovels full of dirt on top - finally I can plant - 5 down, 20 left to go, plus, only about 40 more holes to make.

We are planting big this year with the intention of selling at the farmer's market. We have taken last year's garden, and put in only peas, spinach, letuce, green onions, radishes, and carrots (the Salad Garden). The 2nd garden which is twice the size of the Salad Garden is filled with beans, squash, pumpkins, and melons (the Gourd Garden). The final garden (the North Garden), which is the one I am digging by hand, will contain everything else, however, because I am having to work so hard at it, I might forgo most of it and just get my started tomatoes & peppers in. Maybe plant just a few cucumbers & other things I want for home.

So there you have it, the first installment of the Adventures in Gardening. We will be at the North Branch Peterson's Country Mill Farmer's Market every Saturday - wish us luck or visit us!


Cornerstone Staff said...

love to read your posts. Always interesting!

Cornerstone Staff said...

love to read your posts. Always interesting!

Kris Nielsen