Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gardening marathon weekend

Monday at work around 2 p.m. or so, it hit me. I was exhausted, my muscles ached, and I just wanted to climb into a bath of epsom salts. Being in an office with fluorescent lights, staring at a computer and attempting to put coherent thoughts together? Not going well. The past two days were full-body work, almost non-stop gardening, in two separate plots.

At the Os, Saturday: "Let's tear this up!"
Kelly had been doing research and knew she wanted a raised bed for her garden. She bought all the components to frame and fill a plot of her yard—lumber, hinges, topsoil, sphagnum moss, sand, and manure—it was now a matter of cutting up her sod and putting it all together. See that huge pile of HEAVY bags with sand, soil, etc. in them? Kelly moved all of them solo, from her car in a wagon with flat tires—superhero! Monkeyrotica went out to buy pizza and beer, Todd (thanks for the photos!) watched the kids inside and Kelly left for H0me Dep0t to get the rest of the supplies. For about an hour, it was me, a 3" long tool called a "trencher-cultivator," and a 8 foot by 4 foot area I had to hack the $h!t out of. It helped a bit that I had stress to work off from a Friday meeting that was rather hellish and Twilight-Zone-like in its absurdity. After the sod was sent off to the netherworld, we tilled.

Kelly and Monkeyrotica returned, Don arrived with his son Daniel, we all had some pizza and then set on building the bed. Everyone came out to see what was going on, and even the kids started helping! Rosie (wearing Thea's poodle Halloween costume) shoveled, Thea used the small cultivator (called the "claw!"), Liam swept, and Danny scooped soil. Don built the frame for the bed and we started dumping soil and other components inside. It looked wonderful! (Will add a final photo of raised bed soon.) It was well past 8 p.m. when the Strings got on the road; it was hard to drag myself away, with work still needing doing. We left the remaining bags out to be added later—but the next morning, Kelly's dogs had their way with the manure bags. Why, oh why are dogs so into poo?

Sunday, at the Strings: "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours!"
I wasn't all that sure what I wanted to start with in my yard. Two projects loomed: clearing my 6 foot by 14 foot bed of rocks, weed-guard, and roots; and transplanting seedlings—both formidable. When Kelly arrived, we decided to use our newly gained knowledge of tilling soil, and cleared my garden area. I bought hinges for the frames for my plan: three raised beds each 4 feet by six feet, with one-foot gaps in between, and investigated the scrap lumber in the shed rafters for material. Dubious about whether the wood was pressure treated (Rowrh?) we scratched our heads for a few minutes and moved on to moving loose gravel. With shovels and rakes. As before, much manual labor was involved. We paused to feast—Monkeyrotica smoked us some delicious rib racks and chicken wings.

Then, we moved on to a more serene and Zen task: transplanting seedlings. Kelly was in charge of carefully thinning and potting the seedlings, and I barely kept up with her while folding one origami pot after another out of newspaper. We might have potted sunflowers, maybe jalapenos? I wasn't all that thorough on keeping the labels accurate in my greenhouse.

As you can see, there is still much to transplant, and much work to do yet in the bed! For the next few weekends, I think I have plans. Anyone want to come and help out?

1 comment:

  1. Holy cats, y'all put us to shame. We're such lazy gardeners - most the time we just let whatever volunteers come up and grow. Probaby help you guys are a bit south of us but still, looks like you'll be swimming in goodies. I'm planning on tearing up another 8x20 ft section of yard this year and see if we can't get enough to can this year.


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