Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oh, my aching garden

My hamstrings are reminding me that gardening season is here. I'm a middle class American, doing a sedentary job; I don't do a lot of squatting in the course of my work. But Sunday was a bright and beautiful day, coming on the heels of a lot of rain and gloom, and Chuck and I worked on the garden. And, like every year, I am reminded of my forgotten resolution of the previous year, namely, to get into gardening shape by doing squats.

I've mentioned before that we are doing Square Foot Gardening this year. (Or, as I heard Chuck telling one of our sons on the telephone while we were out working in the garden "Your mother is micromanaging the garden this year.") I've had the book for a while, but have just been too lazy to try to convince Chuck that we needed to do it, and then to actually DO it. But since we won't have access to a CSA this year, and since I am trying to make more than 50% of what we eat local, I wanted to get the highest yield possible from our garden.

We have 2 beds, 19 by 4 feet, for a total of 152 square feet.

On Sunday we (meaning Chuck) raked and smoothed both beds, laid drip irrigation hose in both beds (we used this last year and we were really pleased with the results), and laid planters paper on one bed, to suppress weeds. We didn't have enough paper to cover both beds, leading to a complex negotiation as to whether we will buy more paper for the second bed, or use a newspaper substitute.

Then we marked the squares on the paper covered bed. We used some synthetic green twine and aluminum wire bent into stakes. Finally, we planted 4 squares of onions- 72 to pull as green onions and 18 for large onions. We also planted potatoes. This year we are trying a tip we read in Mother Earth News, and planted in cardboard boxes.

One thing did occur to me in the middle of the night Sunday- I had forgotten to put in place anything to support the beans or tomatoes. Mel Bartholomew, the Square Foot Guru, suggests stainless steel pipe, but I don't know if we can afford that. We'll have to give this some thought.

I was reading Susan's blog, over at In My Kitchen Garden. She rejoices in the arrival of spring, but reminds us of how quickly things change in the season of growth. Let me add my voice to hers in reminding you to stop and look at all the tiny signs of spring that are all around us.

As it happens, I had taken some pictures of what's popping up in the woodland garden, and the horseradish beds. The new seed starts in the greenhouse window are looking good, too. I have 2 kinds of eggplant, 2 kinds of tomatoes and 4 kinds of peppers.

(Susan's camera is way better than mine, I think I'll have to take a look and see what she uses. Very few of the pictures I took came out well.)

1 comment:

Robbyn said...

Hi Willa!

Wow, looks like you're off to a great start! I can relate to the ouch-my-aching-hamstrings, ha! Love the idea about the potatoes in the boxes! I actually HAVE boxes and might just try that! Can't wait to see more of your pics and updates as the garden begins to sprout!