Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gardening the Hard Way, Part Three: Work your butt off, and then wait.

Even Carly waits.
      The raised beds have been constructed and filled. Seeds have germinated; seedlings are growing too large for the starter cups. A border fence is about ready. We took the easy way on a few herbs, buying them in 4" pots ready to be planted. We got sucked into buying one large Early Girl tomato plant, purchased at Home Depot, hoping that it would provide us with tomatoes in (hopefully) July (?? pretty please??). So what are we waiting for??? We're waiting for this lousy spring weather to finally cease and desist and become summer. We're still getting near-below freezing temps, making it an exercise in futility if we decide to just plant the darn things right now. Patience is our challenge.

     In the meantime, while the wind blows and I continue to keep my jacket, hat, and mittens handy, we polish off a few tasks. For the pole beans and snap peas, some sort of arbor had to be added to two beds to allow for them to wind up and around. We used T-posts and hog-panel wiring. It actually turned out pretty well. We're going to plant our starters on both sides of the panels, planting starters on the outer edge first, and then two weeks later, planting more on the front. Gives the back ones a bit of time to get taller and continue to get sun as the front ones grow; plus this allows us to stagger our produce over time:

"Arbors" of hog-wire panels. It works!
     Next comes the fence. Between rabbits and rock squirrels, we have enough garden-hungry pests that a fence is needed. First, Bruce decided to build a nice-looking pole fence around the raised beds, and then, sometime soon, he'll tack chicken wire around the whole thing:

Fencing Out Critters: Phase 1

Putting the last pole in!
     Some seeds are ready to be planted. We ordered beets, radishes, carrots, two lettuce blends, and spinach seeds that came on this gauzy-paper "tape." The seeds are placed in tiny pouches within the tape at the precise distance you need to space them out correctly. You then just dig a burrow, lay the tape, bury it, and voila! Seeds planted. Since these are seeds that supposedly can handle cool weather, we thought we'd get half of their designated beds planted, and in two weeks, plant another set on the other half so we have some staggered produce, like the beans and peas.

Laying the tape of seeds.

Marking what goes where.

Three rows, either lettuces and
spinach, or beets, carrots,
and radishes.

     So there it stands. Pole fence is up, a few seeds are planted, and we now wait for warmer weather and the sure sign that frosty nights are gone for a few months. It may be two more weeks before we plant our starters (which have now taken over the entire house, it seems like!). Patience, patience!!!!

    Thought I'd end with a picture taken from our now-defunct above-ground septic mound (we're now on sewer) that shows the "working" end of our property, the back forty so to speak:

    It may be a couple weeks before my next garden entry, that of planting our seedlings. In between, I'll blog about a migratory bird survey I led just yesterday. I'll be out of town for a work conference in Nebraska this week, and will have a chance to visit a native prairie--that may be a story too. Stay tuned!


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