Monday, May 23, 2011

Mid May Garden Progress

After removing the sod, the garden soil had to be increased and improved a bit. Overall the soil here is pretty nice but much of it went with the sod. It’s now in a huge pile along the fence in the backyard which will be another big project this summer after the grass in it dies. I’m beginning to really wonder what the H__ I was thinking. Someone should have suggested I have my head examined, but my friends are too nice. Please everyone, next time, don’t be so nice. I am not exactly sure how much time I spent heave hoeing heavy wet bags of Bumper Crop and Organic Garden Soil then spreading and digging them into the existing soil, turning and breaking up and mixing. By the time I finished, I was so exhausted I could barely walk into the house, remove clothes and shower. My memory of eating is completely gone but my lovely husband cooked something and I shoved it into my gob hole. Just a short while later I was grateful for our Tempu-pedic mattress and let the aches melt away overnight.  My body is a pretty achy thing these days and this bed is helpful in getting a decent night’s sleep and recovering the body to get up and do more. I realized that blogging after this kind of effort is almost impossible, so I hope you’ll all understand if the description doesn’t come immediately after the effort. I think the most physically difficult part is done, at least for the front 15 feet. The back 14 feet still have remnants of sod and needs a lot of additional soil and amendments before it will be ready for anything. Maybe that section won’t get planted this year, maybe never, or maybe something like blueberry bushes. I’m already wondering how long my body is going to hold up in this little misadventure of mine.

After all the tilling and turning, I attempted to test the Ph of the soil, to see if I needed to make any changes to that. I don’t know if I totally botched the tests, but it looks like the garden soil is somewhere in the 6.0 – 6.5 range, which I think is going to be fine for just about everything, except the spinach, so I will spread a little lime for that. I am also taking the advice of a gardener at Molbaks about the slugs here. I’ll use a product called Sluggo which is approved for organic gardens and is less messy than beer bait. On the other hand, pouring beer in the garden could be fun. Drink a gulp, pour a gulp, drink a can, pour a bit . . . hummm.

With the garden bed nearly ready, and the temperatures of the soil getting close to what the seeds need, I realized that I needed a layout for all the plants. The spreadsheet came in helpful as these plants can get quite large from a tiny little seed, or not so big. It all needs to be planned out, or a novice can get a million beans and only a couple onions, or other equally awful combinations. I probably will end up with an awful combination anyway, as I have no idea how much these plants will produce. I used the information available to me and made a plan trying to give the sunny spots to the sun loving plants and the ones needing more cool temps areas farther back where they’ll get shade during the hottest part of the day. I also had to take into account a pipe running through the middle of the garden and not plant anything over it as it isn’t that deep.

At this point I have seeds for Cube of Butter Squash, Teton Spinach, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Chioggia Beet (organic), Oregon Sugar Pod II Peas, Mokum Carrots, Lemon Cucumbers and Royal Burgundy Beans. I have Strawberry plants, Rainier, Tribute and Quinault, Tomato plants Early Girl and Sweet Million and Onions, Cortland and Walla Walla. It’s too cold at night to plant the tomatoes so they are being babied in the garage at night and out during the day. It needs to stay above 55° at night before they can go out.

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