Friday, June 10, 2016

It's 2016. Time for a new garden.

So, it's June of 2016.

For the past 3 years I've not planted a vegetable garden. Only one of those skipped years was planned.

The other two years were skipped for various reasons - timing, money but most of all the lack of desire to do it.

Last fall I told myself that I was going to plant a vegetable garden in 2016 unless the circumstances were dire and I had no way to do it. Circumstances were not dire and I had ample opportunity.

So I finally did it! It took a lot of effort but I got that vegetable garden in the ground and I planted more than I've ever planted. I even did planning - bought the seeds a month before planting, made a layout (which I promptly ignored once I started setting up) and knew exactly what I would need when the day came.

The day came over my vacation that I always take the week of Memorial Day. I expanded my two little beds into one little bed and one large bed, added a lot of containers and planted all my seeds and the 5 tomato plants I bought. (I will not attempt tomatoes from seeds until/if we move into a warmer house.)

What I had to work with was very sloppy and ill-tended.

But I straightened things out, rebuilt some beds, added some bins...

I even added my bird feeder to make it a little more attractive.

In the bins I put a few bottles for deep watering.

The tomatoes I kept in their own separate bins except for two that went in the large bed.

And for organization's sake, here's the list of what I planted:

Green Onions
White Onions
Spaghetti Squash
Crookneck Squash
Buttercup Squash
Sweet Pie Pumpkins
Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkins
Casper (white) Pumpkins
5 Kinds of tomatoes - what I can remember right now are: Early Girl, Celebrity, Rutger
Green Peppers
Sweet Corn
Ornamental Corn

No, I don't think I really have room to grow all that, but I plan to thin out liberally and some vines might have to go out of the bed and onto the ground. :) 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's Almost May...

Hello there! Long time no see.

May is exactly one week away. It's time to get started. It's going to be a lot of work this year due to the ice storm and other rough weather this past winter. Our kitchen got so cold the faucet cracked.

It's a new growing season. Here's hoping it's a good one.

What I have to work with....broken trees and all

Monday, June 3, 2013

Starting Over

Today's weather: Mostly cloudy with a high of 76F

This past weekend's weather: OMG. It was so hot! (up to 90F)

I've made some big decisions for this growing season. The biggest is that I'm not growing anything - well, nothing new, anyway.

November, 2012
My vegetable garden beds are in terrible shape. I didn't rotate crops and the soil isn't doing very well. The walk ways around the beds are no longer walkways. The grass kept creeping in until it was right up against the bed borders, and that's really not acceptable for the setup and for mowing around the garden. Also, despite my best efforts, weeds inside the beds are still awful.

So, I decided that there would be no vegetable garden this year. I pulled up all wood ties and stacked them neatly by the house and the Father-in-law mowed right over the beds so that the weeds are at least short.

I'm going to spend the summer rebuilding the beds. I'm going to level them out (I even bought a real level!), cover the area with weed suppressant (weed blocker for the walk way, cardboard and newspaper for the actual beds) and then rebuild the wood borders.

After that, I'll fill them with good soil and compost. My garden isn't large but I'm not going to try to do it all at once. When I do that, I tend to take shortcuts I regret later. Yes, I'm going to miss my fresh tomatoes and squash and cucumbers and peas, but I really need to do this, and doing it slowly over the next few months ensures that it will be done right.

This is a common work pattern for me. I start to do something and then halfway through realize I'm either doing it wrong or that there's a better/easier/smarter way to do it. I will then scrap it all and start over from scratch. It sounds wasteful (and it sometimes is) but this method almost always leads to much better results and rejuvenates my passion for the project.

Who knows, maybe it'll actually cause me to update this blog on a regular basis. Hey, it could happen!
Judy Tenuta - Giver Goddess

Monday, April 29, 2013

The work has started...finally

This week's forecast: Sunny with temperatures between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Niiiiice

I FINALLY got some work done this past weekend. On Friday a very nice lady stopped by our house and asked if she could take our leaf bags from around our house. I was thrilled, to say the least. Since the in-laws have yet to return from their winter Florida pilgrimage, I was trying to figure out how we were going to get rid of them this year. I didn't want to wait much longer - there are plants growing under there.

This nice woman, whom I won't name here, uses leaves for what she called a permanent mulch system. I hadn't heard of that before but basically it's using whole leaves as a mulch, stacking them about six inches deep and planting in the dirt beneath. Apparently she adds just as much every year and over time they all break down. Sounds like a good method to me - I know leaves are supposed to be excellent for compost - I just didn't know you could use just leaves like that.

But anywhoo, she came over on Saturday and we filled up her big dump-truck twice with the leaf bags and we were both happy as clams. Her for getting all the leaves she needs and me for getting rid of the ugly bags with even less hassle than usual.

Now, I can start really cleaning up and assessing the damage the moles did. Looks like they might have eaten the Phlox plants I transplanted two years ago. The bed is riddled with tunnels and I'm thinking about burying large containers in the bed instead of planting directly in-ground. Maybe then I can keep some plants over there for more than a year at a time.

Monday, April 22, 2013

This has got to stop

Today's forecast: Sunny with a high of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, remember that long list of chores I posted last week that I was determined to get finished? Yeah, well, that didn't happen. Sure, the weather was bad for a few days (rainy and cold - we still haven't had more than one day in a row of anything over 55 here) but we also had a few really nice days. Sure, it was chilly but that's good when you're working hard outside.

But I did nothing. Depression over many varied things is getting the better of me and I'm doing my best impersonation of a slug. I don't want to do anything at anytime. If I didn't have a job I think I'd be doing my best impersonation of a hermit slug.

It's got to stop, though. Our house looks plain awful and the basics have to be at least be done if nothing else.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Today's expected weather: Sunny with a high of 52 degrees Fahrenheit - finally some nice weather

Everything is at least a few weeks behind here in Maine as far as Spring is concerned. Winter has lingered and this means my Spring cleanup chores have been put off, and put off...and put off.

But no more! This week we have at least 4 days of sunny weather in the 50's and I plan to take advantage of them.

The winter was not kind to our trees and in addition to the regular yard debris of sticks and leaves, there are several larger branches that broke off over the past few months making my annual yard clean-up work more difficult. I normally try to do it all in a day and I normally curse myself for it.

I'm determined to do it wisely this time around and have a schedule mapped out for myself, as follows:

Monday (today): Clean up the Smoke Bush area of the yard, including under the one large Maple tree close by. I'll also pull the leaf bags covering the Iris beds.

Tuesday: Clean up what I call the 'island', which is the strip of land created by the street and our 'U' driveway. There are three and a half Maple trees in the island.

Wednesday: Clean up the far side of the front yard, which also holds three Maple trees. These three were hit hardest this winter and there are a lot of large branches to clean up there.

Thursday: Clean up the 'back' yard, which has two Maple trees to clean up after. I'll also clean up any 'decorations' left behind by Max this winter. He's been good about doing his business in the field but there were a few times that he couldn't make it back there.

Friday: My day of rest. I don't do anything on Friday nights except watch movies with  my husband.

Saturday and Sunday: Clean up the debris days - these are the days that I'll haul all those sticks to the back of the field and add it to our brush pile. I also hope to pull all the leaf bags from the sides of the house and rake out the leaves that accumulated in the flower beds over the winter. I'll add some of the leaves to my compost bins and add the rest to the brush pile.

Of course, this all depends on whether or not I can borrow someone's truck or trailer to haul all of this away. If not, then the leaf bags will stay behind the house until I can.

I have no idea if all of this will actually get done. If I'm too tired after work that day's work will be postponed, but I truly hope that by Sunday, the yard is clear of winter's 'trash' and that I have a clean slate to work with.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's time...

Winter has been lingering here in mid-Maine. We've been 'clear' of snow only to have another foot and a half dump on us...on the first day of a little bitch.

But I'm hoping we're done with major snow. We may get some light stuff in the next few days, but overall the temperatures are going up and staying there.

Yesterday, while out walking our new pooch Max (formerly known as 'Wags') I saw them - Daffodil sprouts. They made me smile and helped me realize that no matter how long Winter drags its feet, Spring is coming.

The green Phlox buds down among the old brown stalks confirmed it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Garden Helper

Next year's gardening is already looking better because I now have a new garden helper. Well, maybe not a 'helper' but at least some company and a reason to get me outside.

This is Wags

"Wags" - but probably not for long (we may change his name)
A couple of months ago I saw Wags on Craigslist. At the time I was just looking at the available animals - we weren't really ready to adopt. I thought he sounded like a good fit for us but didn't mention it to the husband because I didn't think we were ready for another dog yet.

But, over the past few months we've finally started remembering China with fondness instead of only with pain and regret.

I went back to Craigslist and there here was again - Wags was still waiting for a home so I sent in an application. After a vet check we were approved and Wags will be coming to live with us on December 22nd. What a great holiday gift!

Wags is currently in an Arkansas shelter where's he's been for about 4-5 months. From the video the rescue posted he looks like he'll be a great addition to our family.

And now I'll have someone to keep an eye out for evil squirrels while I garden. Maybe he'll even take over the Hottentot watch as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So...heh heh

Yes, that's meant to be an embarrassed titter.

As you can probably guess, this year was pretty much a bust for me in the garden and pretty much all areas of my life. I let my sorrow get the best of me and I did the bare minimum to get by.

Ironically the flower gardens have never looked better. My husband contends that they look so good only because of the hard work I've put into them in years past. That sounds nice so I'll go with that.

Surprise Sunflower, courtesy of the bird feeders' seeds
We are both still sad about our pooch but we have started talking about adopting a new canine family member - probably not until Spring so that it's easier to house train. (For some reason dogs don't like to try to do their business in three feet of snow. Go figure.) So I suppose that means we're starting to pull out of our funk.

I can only hope that means that I'll feel like gardening again next year - get the projects done that I wanted to get done this year.

I can't promise, but I have hope.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Funky Apathy

It hasn't been a good summer for me or mine this year.

Well, the garden is having a great summer but that has very little to do with me.

I am still in my funk and what's worse is that an unhealthy dose of apathy has accompanied that funk. Funky Apathy isn't very fun at all.

But, the gardens are still doing quite well left alone to do their thing. We've had a lack of rain for a couple of weeks so I do water daily. I have weeded a total of one time this summer and the flower beds that weren't mulched look just terrible. Good thing they're on the side of the house and not the front, eh?

I would show you pictures, but I haven't felt up to taking any. Which is really too bad - the Hydrangea looks particularly beautiful this year and the Tall Phlox bloomed a week early.

So, why am I even bothering to post? Apparently I do care enough to let the few people who read this blog know that I am still alive and still gardening, just not very much and not all that well.

Fortunately, all of the vegetable plants are doing great and as long as the beds don't become infested with hungry green caterpillars I should get a nice crop this year.

I do care about tomatoes. That's something.