Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nine days later

Look, sprouts!

Also, first signs of Spring, thanks to lovely weather for the four days preceding this one:

Of course, it was cold and windy today, so everything looked like it rather regretted coming out to play.

And some milkweed pods / seed fluff:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The messy garden workout plan

I am not the world's most dedicated gardener, something I will freely admit. I like to pretend I'm taking a laissez-faire approach, but in my case it's no coincidence that laissez sounds an awful lot like lazy. Once the plants are in the ground, I'm happy to water them and pick the vegetables / fruits, but I'd rather not prune and I don't want to weed. I once made smart-ass remarks about the concept of mulching a vegetable patch. My parents certainly never mulched theirs, I scoffed. Then I attempted to turn an established plot of Bermuda grass into a garden. I let things ride for two months before conceding defeat and rolling out the landscaping fabric.

By the end of the summer, I was just about gardened out. It was ridiculously hot, it was humid, and the mosquitoes were so bad that I once came in from a fifteen-minute picking session with so many bites on my legs that it looked like I had chicken pox. I love having fresh veggies, but there are only so many times I want to risk getting West Nile virus just so I can have some cucumber on my salad, you know? By mid-August, the garden was pretty much left to its own devices. I kept meaning to go out and at least take down the fence and put the (woefully inadequate) tomato cages away, but I never did. And so, the garden stayed intact, through the fall and winter.

I've had garden fever for weeks, and this past Friday it was finally nice enough for me to get outside and assess the situation. Things were pretty bleak, to tell the truth. All the dead, crispy plants were still standing, the fence was half-collapsed, the whole mess was surrounded by dead foot-high grass where MB wasn't able to get the mower into the gaps last year, and to top it all off, my darling husband had thrown a bunch of cut branches from the giant, annoying, SPIKE-COVERED bush into the garden area. THANKS, HONEY.

I spent about an hour and a half out there, and easily half that time was spent cutting up the small-tree-sized branches and stuffing them into a garbage can. If I never see another razor-sharp holly leaf again, I'll be a happy, happy girl. And let's not talk about the bush with the half-inch fucking thorns on it, okay? Okay. Tearing down the dead tomato and pepper plants was surprisingly easy, and the cages seem to have made it through the winter in pretty good shape.

Indy inspects the scene

neat-looking tomato skin

As seems to often be the case with me, there were no cute gardening moments, nothing you'd see in a glossy magazine spread. Instead, there was a lot of thanking my lucky stars that none of the neighbors could see me as I rolled up the chicken wire, spending most of my time bent double with the already-rolled portion pinned in a very ladylike fashion between my thighs, one arm, and my boobs while I used my free hand to untangle the next several feet of fence. It probably looked just about as sexy as it sounds. It was a hella workout, though. My forearms (inside and out), abs, and trapezius muscles were killing me all day on Saturday. And hey, I got a lot done!

All I've got left to do is roll up the rabbit fencing and cut the grass, and then I'll be ready to launch Garden v2.0. Oh, and annoying thorny bush? I am coming for you next. You're on notice.

the gardening assistant, working hard

(P.S. When I checked on my onion starts yesterday, two pots each had two tiny sprouts. Huzzah!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And, we're back.

Recent planting prep blog entries from Meg and J-Dog have made me itchy for garden season. I also realized that the onion seeds I bought to grow for MB probably needed to be planted right away.

Historically, I am not very good at growing things from seeds, so we'll see how it goes.

I got seed start planting mix and plantable peat pots. It took about half of the planting mix to fill all the pots, and getting them "thoroughly wet" turned out to be a bit of a pain. The soil particles just encapsulated the water and it sort of floated around instead of soaking through. I finally just dunked each pot into a pitcher full of water until the soil started to float, and then planted the seeds.

The pot packaging said to put two seeds in each one, but the onion seeds were tiny and many in number. Even putting a pinch of seeds into two holes in each pot, I only used half the packet. I didn't want to spend money on more peat pots without knowing if they're even going to work, so I planted the rest of the seeds in a plastic cookie tub that I had lying around.

I also planted the basil and catnip seeds from J-Dog's Christmas gifts, and put everybody in front of the South-facing window in our guest room:

And now, I suppose we wait.

(And tomato people...are these trellises good for tomatoes, or should I stick to a traditional tall, round wire cage?)