August 20, 2014

Garden 2014

I had a baby. We moved. I started a garden, looking back, I probably should not have. That is my story. And this is the story of how it ended up going, as I tend to often bite off more than I can chew (whaaat, really??)
You'll like this, trust me. Just when you (may have) thought I was good at everything....
 In May, my friend's Dad came over with his awesome farm tractor and tilled our desired garden space. Allen was so wonderful, so helpful, and Nathan just loved watching him every second! It was on this day that I started to have a little twitch when thinking, "what in the world am I doing?"...but I just smiled to myself and kept on thinking about what I would plant. After all, why shouldn't I go from last years 9'x9' garden to this years 17'x42'?? 
        I then drew my "layout" in my journal and got to work sectioning off the garden beds. I also grabbed some very long sticks from our backyard brush area and made plant tee-pee's for the cucumbers and beans to grow on. (I just stuck them in the ground and tied them at the top with twine). 
 Nathan ambitiously helped me put in the garden stakes around the perimeter, as I hammered them in and stretched the plastic fencing around to fit over them. We bought the stakes and fencing at Menards, and on-purpose, bought the "temporary materials" just in case I wanted to move or change the garden next year. At least I showed a little fore-sight there. The dirt is a little colored here because I added a few bags of peat moss to the beds. Note: I should have used 10x this much. 
 Nathan and I got to planting. We were both excited. We planted green beans, 3 types of cucumbers, corn, limas, (but none of those grew at all **sad face**), 4 types of lettuce, 7 tomato plants, 1 pepper plant, rhubarb, asparagus, zucchini and squash, onions and potatoes. Was that all??? I think so??
 We watered......
 And a week later saw some growth............look close...the lettuce is in rows:
And it grew....BUT ALL OF IT GREW!!! YES! So, just in case you ever do it, you will need to make sure you do a second tilling a week (or is it two) later to make sure those grass seedlings do not re-emerge. By July our garden was growing, but so was the grass...all over. By July, this Mommy's time in the garden was usually limited to just 12 minutes every morning (generally while holding the baby on my hip) watering what was growing, and trying to avoid the grass. 
Overcome by the grass choking out the good stuff, I googled ideas of what to do. Then, I went to Lowe's and bought 6 bags of mulch and had my Mom and neighbor bring me huge stacks of newspaper. I laid the newspaper in thick stacks (6-10pages deep), got it wet with the hose and then topped it with mulch. And that corner of the garden looked pretty awesome. The plants loved it, and I did too = no weeds, no grass, but thriving plants! 
And look how beautiful (for a few weeks) my tomatoes, peppers (pic below)... and zucchini, asparagus, and potatoes (pic above) looked! 
And then, with all the best intentions to return to Lowe's to get even more mulch and to the recycling center to get free newspapers, I folded, and didn't do a thing. I guess this Mamma was getting tired. Or maybe I was just too busy pattern making inside and playing with my littles outside. Who knows. But, I "checked out" about the end of July, and just made the best of what I had so far. 

It fortunately, has not been for nothing. We have received a plentiful from out there, and it's still coming in (tomatoes and kale). We have eaten fresh dishes, had fresh salads, and even got to give a little away. My starting goal was to breed a community supported agriculture program in my backyard, but that did not happen. But the hope is still there. I have a neighbor around the corner that sets up a delightful little veggie market around the corner, open on Saturday's. So, maybe I'll just leave it to her expertise alone for a few more years. 

In a snapshot....here's how GARDEN 2014 has gone...
 And you wonder what was James' doing that whole time Mommy (and brother) were digging in the garden?...Good question! At the beginning he was usually in the swing, but by July he could sit up on his own (which Mommy thought was just fabulous), so out came the blanket and toys. He loved it (except for the mosquitos on occasion). Yes, I think this happy baby of mine would be content to sit and watch just about anything. He certainly is that kind of baby that everyone should get to have. 
So, happy gardening to you! Whether you bite off more than you can chew or not. 
Just make it work. You'll be blessed even by the little. 

But you should probably not ask me for gardening advice, and this would be why. 
Happy Harvest everyone! 


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