Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Beautiful Day in the Garden

Yesterday was one of my favorite days thus far this spring.  There have only been a handful of days that have been both warm and sunny and this was one of those days.  In the morning I got out my gardening books and a notebook and planned out my garden while sitting in the sun - the kids were also enjoying the beautiful weather and played amicably together.  Earlier I had checked craigslist for local plant sales and contacted one to see if I could come by and pick up some plants.  After planning what I wanted in my garden I checked my e-mail and was in luck!  I didn't have to wait until Saturday for all the plant sales, instead I could go to a horticulturists' house in the city and pick up some very well cared for plants from her huge selection.  The kids enjoyed it too - she has two large dogs so she wasn't worried about the kids ruining anything in her backyard garden.  I got a striped/zebra paste tomatoe, an Italian Roman tomatoe, two varieties of sweet and spicy peppers, some orange mint, one broccoli plant, one artichoke plant, two sweet potato plants, 10 red onion sets, one artichoke and one rosemary all for $16!!!

When I got home I was so excited to find my new plants homes in my gardens.  The onions and artichoke got planted right away in my front flowerbed, but for the others I needed to prepare a new bed.  We are trying the square foot gardening method for our new garden.  I decided on a 2 ft x 8 ft bed instead of the typical 4 ft x 4 ft.  It works better in our space and for what I'd like to plant.  While the kids were napping a neighbor stopped by with some kohlrabi plants for me.  She runs an organic garden that donates the fresh produce to local food pantries.  All of her plant sales benefit the non-profit garden that she runs.  I checked my gardening books again and laid out what and where everything would go in my 2 ft x 8 ft plot - making sure that I didn't put any veggies that were "bad companions" next to each other.  This is what I came up with.  All the items in the back row will be trained to climb and they will be closest to the foundation of our house.  The other items will be shorter and all plants should get plenty of sun.

Now that I had the planning done, time to get started on the grass removal for the new bed.  It took quite awhile, but I got it done and still had time to add my herbs and kohlrabi to my back flowerbed which gets less sun - so these cooler crops should enjoy it back there.  When my kids woke up from their naps they enjoyed "helping" me with my new garden plot.  My son even got out his snow shovel to help with the dirt, though I think the dirt was a bit too heavy for his plastic snow shovel.  Both kids and the neighbor kids enjoyed looking for worms and checking out the larvae that we found under the grass.  Once I added the composted manure and turned it over I asked the kids to stay out.  Next week we plan on building some sides to the new bed and adding some "black gold" (aka - compost) from our local dump/compost site.  Then the garden will be ready for the plants and seeds.  Eventually we will build a "fence" out of chicken wire for the climbing crops.

This was a very satisfying day for me!  There is something about working with your hands and being able to provide your family with food that is fulfilling and satisfying for me.  I can't wait to see and taste the fruits of my labor later this summer.

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