Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Headquarters" almost complete!

I haven't been writing much about garden "C"...look at the lovely food we have growing here...Cimmaron and Buttercrunch lettuces, scallions and White radishes! Tonight was the first mini-harvest of the season and these were delicious in the salad! Today marked the addition of three new garden beds, a total of 70 square feet to plant many of my seedlings in! Garden "C" is shaping up to be the picturesque "headquarters" of the up-and-coming farm.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Think of all you're learning..."

Two steps forward, ten steps back. The key is to keep moving, and not give up. We went to garden A today to install the soaker hoses, which work great! Plus I got a sprinkler that is pretty effective. However, once the extremely parched land began to soak up the water, it was thick and heavy. Very very clay-based...which means the roots of my plants will either suffocate and/or drown. Hmmmmmph!!

It looks like the best option is to get a dump truck of topsoil delivered, then lay it out over the rows I have already made, turn it in with some compost, and re-establish the rows. Then, planting can happen...ugh. What a huge amount of labour this will be. Not to mention I am not around the next couple of weeks, so this puts me behind again. Sprinkle and I had a conversation about just giving it up this year. That felt way too sad and somehow like I am missing the point. Then a kind and dear person in my life said "think of how much you're learning this year!" That's the point. So, I will regroup, figure out a plan, and move forward.

We managed to put 18 seed potatoes in the ground (see pic above), because as Sprinkle says, "Potatoes grow anywhere!" To lighten the heavy mood, more food got planted in garden C at home. There are now white, red and black radishes, garlic, shallots, green onion, various lettuces, beets, tomatoes, tomatillos, various peppers, broccoli, and carrots in the gardens at home. Another step forward...

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Two Rows

Went out to garden "A" after work for a second time this week; this time to begin creating the rows to plant food in! Here is a picture of the first two rows. Trying to be a frugal farmer, I went to the dollar store in search of stakes and twine. What I came away with was 8 red carpenter pencils (stakes) and twine and an exacto knife to cut the twine. I also remembered to stop and get a bottle of water and a Kitsilano cookie from Starbucks. One might think Starbucks was a bit extravagant for a frugal farmer but for $2.50, I got a huge cookie chock full of nuts, seeds and a little bit of chocolate...all great for the energy I needed to rake all that dry dirt into the rows. After two hours and four rows, I headed home. I will do a few more rows and then the plan is to plant as I go; make rows, plant, make rows, plant. Hopefully the first seeds will go in the ground this weekend; keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sweat, Rocks and Kickbacks...

I went directly from work to garden A yesterday. It was our first sunny, dry and relatively warm day. I cleared two wheelbarrows of rocks--that's about 1000 rocks I guesstimate. And every time I turned my back to pick rocks at another section, I am certain they began multiplying! Rocks are everywhere...sigh. I decided to use it as an opportunity to relax (with the exception of my burning quads from squatting so long), listen to the wind, say hi to the horse, listen to the turkey warbling, and enjoy the task. When I felt done, I began rototilling.

The second time over the plot and MUCH harder. I was also tired when I began, forgot to bring water and hadn't had enough power food to give me energy. Lesson learned for next time. It was hard work. My forearms were burning and there were some substantial size rocks (as big as my head!!) that when the rototiller found them, it kicked back pretty hard....yooowwwoouch!!!

Perseverance was the key yesterday. Heading back this weekend to do more rock picking and some deeper tilling. There is one soggy area of the plot that I need to problem-solve, but other than that the earth looks rich and beautiful. I also saw my first earthworms yesterday..."welcome and bring your friends to our up-and-coming garden".

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Push through the hard spots...

Last night after work we went to garden "A" and began the tilling...what an adventure! You can see me restarting the rototiller after stalling it (I learned to push through the hard spots...good analogy for life). If you look carefully in the second picture you will see the compacted earth on the far left of the photo, the earth being tilled in the center and a sliver of the rototiller on the right. It was incredible to see rich brown loamy earth appear (along with many rocks). After a couple of days I will rototill a little deeper, add some compost and fish fertilizer, measure and create approximately 62 beds (!) and then planting will occur. Every now and then the tiller would hit a hard patch or lots of rocks and it would kick back into my belly (ouch!). I soon learned to use my arms to guide the tiller, not by body...altho' now my forearms are quite sore.

This weekend has also been very busy with getting garden "C" in order. Painting posts, measuring and cutting fence boards, digging up dandelions, going to drop off yard waste and pick up earth for the garden beds, filling the beds (while puppy tried to unfill them at the same time), asking for the rain to stop and the sun to shine so the paint would dry (this actually worked!!) It's starting to look like an intentioned space that is loved and where great things will come (yummy food actually). Keep an eye out for the photos.