Sunday, June 3, 2012

State of the garden

I planted my garden last week. Finally finished building the raised beds (from recycled fence boards, like I promised), and spent a veeeery long Saturday filling them with soil/compost/manure. We don't own a wheel barrow, and I didn't want to buy one for just occasional use, so I carried all that dirt from the back of the pickup to the backyard beds in a bucket. Pro tip: if you're in this situation, the head balance method of carrying really is the best. It distributes weight evenly and doesn't strain any one muscle group. Try it sometime. Don't worry about the neighbors staring.

Anyway, like usual, I'm going a bit crazy with plant lust. I can't enter garden departments without getting twitchy and leaving with at least one plant start or package of seeds. It's worse than ever because of the new yard. Last year, with only a north-facing apartment patio, I was forced to have only a single tomato plant. Now, I've filled the raised beds and I've got a huge patio to stick pots on. I just finished  planting my fourth container of peas because I can, dammit.

Being able to grow your own food is powerful, in ways I don't quite have the word-skill to describe. I'm not even growing that much; a mere snack compared to my family's yearly intake. But, still. They're alive, and they're growing, and they're there because I put them there, and I get to eat them.


I have power tools, and I'm not afraid to use them



This is what it took to fill three raised beds that are approximately 4'x5'x1': a pickup bed full of soil, six 60 lb bags of finished compost, and half a pickup bed worth of half-green horse manure I picked up from a friend's pasture. And I did it all myself because Tom was having allergy-induced asthma that weekend.


The underground automatic sprinkler system is an interesting conundrum. One the one hand, they're really nice to have to water such a large yard, and very convenient to use. On the other, I wouldn't have wanted all that water-wasting grass in the first place, and I don't like the lack of control I have for watering the raised beds; I have to water them and that section of lawn at the same time.

I live in a freaking desert. If this were a house we planned to live in for the rest of our lives, I'd probably rip it all out, expand my garden to fill most of the yard, install soaker hoses or drip lines, mulch the dog's play area, and turn the front yard into dry landscaping with native plants. But since we're probably going to be selling the house in a few years, I feel the need to keep all the grass and sprinkler system as a selling point.

 I've got ten strawberry, four tomato, two cucumber, three zucchini, and two cantaloupe.

There are potatoes volunteering in the "failed" compost bins. They're free to do their thing. Perhaps in a few months I will scrub the cat poop off some little potatoes and have them with dinner!

Sweet pepper, miniature pumpkins, a pot of perennial flowers of some kind that came with the house, black-eyed susans, and a freshly-planted pot of thyme, and another one planted with some kind of native lupine seeds I collected from a wild plant, like, six years ago. Who knows if they'll actually germinate.

Cilantro which has already gone to flower (pollinators love them, by the way); Pea plants and future pea plants (I've already been eating peas for the last week); A jade plant on a field trip; future chives; future additional cilantro; parsley.

I think there will be more, later.


Wheelbarrow said...

I would love to have a sprinkler system. I know it must be frustrating though having a garden right there. On a side note I can't believe you would rather hull all that soil and manure by bucket than purchase a wheelbarrow!

Suzanne said...

And after a single day of use, that $80 wheel barrow would spend the rest of its time taking up space in my garage. I don't have many other uses for one at this time.