Friday, February 27, 2009

The Garden

I love having a garden. I love planting and getting my hands all dirty and watching the little seedlings sprout and grow. I love going out first thing in the morning to check on the fruits and veggies and using a q-tip to carefully pollinate the squash and others to try to ensure a big crop. I love serving meals I have grown with my own hands and I love catching my children hiding in the garden sneaking some peas, catching some frogs and laying in the shade of the tomato plants.

I love having a garden. Unfortunately though, I am not very good at it. I get bored waiting for the corn, I get busy waterskiing and playing with the kids and I forget to water and weed. I have a really hard time keeping track of when to fertilize and when to thin out to increase crop output. Despite my abuse of the crops my gardens always generously provide our family with bounty.

A few years ago we had so much success that instead of lemonade stands my kids had vegetable stands. They actually made some good money! Either the veggies were great or our neighbors are suckers.

Last year, sadly, I got a black Lab instead of a garden. Last year I spent my summer defending my landscape and my grass. Last year he chewed through 4 hoses, dug up my raspberry bushes, and chewed on my 3 year old fruit trees. Last year I built a dog run to contain the little devil.

With the dog damage contained, this year I get to garden again. I've been making plans all winter. I've done a bunch of research. I've built a couple of raised beds and have plans for at least 3 more. I've purchased my potato sets, some more strawberry plants, onion sets, garlic, all my seeds and 1 yard of Tagro. I think I'm ready.

I'll be using Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening method. I haven't got a lot of money budgeted for it so I'm doing it out of cheap fence board and terracing it into my side yard slope. I was worried about the fenceboard being tough enough for the job but only time will tell and it's what I've got right now.

I'll be adding the soil over the weekend and will post some pictures when it is completed. I'll also be planting some early season crops and covering the boxes with plastic to make them into mini-greenhouses. It will give my lettuce, peas, onions, etc. a good head start.

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