April 23, 2014

Garden 2014 - Post 01

I've had a container garden of some form or another for most of my adult life.  Gardening is something that feels like an extension of myself.  On occasion it feels like a chore, but for the most part it is something I constantly itch to do.  One of the bonuses of owning a house with a yard is the prospect of having a legit garden where I can grow my own vegetables.  Not just a tomato here or there and a few herbs, but a serious crop that could help feed us throughout the summer.

In pursuit of that goal, I spent quite a lot of time last week researching raised beds, where to find good dirt that will deliver, and sorting out which vegetables to grow and how to arrange them.  I had a very elaborate plan made within two days, thanks in large part to the site Smart Gardener, which is amazing.  Then I compared the projected cost of materials to what was available in the bank and became disheartened.  I thought I would have to wait a whole year again, and I had been so excited about all the plants that were going to fit into the little space I had planned.

DS was in full support of this garden, and so he helped me come up with a solution for this year that was easier on the wallet.  Last summer I had attempted to put a couple of green bean plants in the yard, and they were quickly eaten by bunnies.  So I knew whatever I did would need to be protected.  Our solution this year is some very cheap chicken fencing.  It was just big enough with two rolls, with enough left over to have a removable bit on bamboo poles that acts as a "gate".  I think I'll still need to use some tent stakes or something to pin down the bottom, because a determined critter could probably weasel its way underneath, but it seems pretty sturdy otherwise.

The start of one of the new garden beds

We also picked up a 2-sided garden tool for hoeing and cultivating.  I've spent my limited free time this week painstakingly removing the grass from what will be my beds.  For now I'm just scattering this around the areas of the yard that dip and flood during heavy rains.  I should probably get some grass seed at some point.  This is some serious labor right here.  As of today, I have one 12x4' bed done, and one more to go.  I've laid them out exactly where I had planned to build the raised beds, so hopefully next summer those will be easy to install.  After the grass is gone, I'll work in some compost and good gardening soil just to beef up the yard nutrients a bit, and then hope for the best.  I haven't seen any evidence of moles or anything that would come up from below to eat the plants, but I guess we'll find out.  For now, I have seeds sprouting in little containers, just waiting for their new home.  I'm planning to grow a lot of plants that are new to me.  We'll see how it works out.

Today was a bit chillier than the last few days, but here are some of the things we've been up to with the boys.

Practicing some stair skills.

First day it was warm enough for the water table.

Curled up on the couch playing with the LeapPad.

The boys' new bird feeder.  Monkey has already learned how to sign "bird".  It's very exciting.

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