Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My Imperfect Plot: The Planting

My dad always said “You want to have your plant in by Memorial Day.”
When we were kids, Dad took advantage of whatever good weather we had throughout the month of May to get the ground worked up, trying not to get the tractor stuck.  He even occasionally got his plants a week or so ahead of time.  But for the most part, Memorial Day Weekend was Planting Weekend.   And so, it continues.

We did do some work in the garden during the week last week.  Taking advantage of the rare evening when we were all home, Craig, the girls, and I pulled the weeds and the last remnants of the fall harvest.  We talked about what and how we were going to plant this year.  In doing so, I decided that we needed to bring in some fresh dirt.  Even with all the rain we’d had this Spring, the soil was dry; it just didn’t look rich.  Then I got to thinking….I’d love to make it into more of a raised bed, we had some retaining wall that we had taken out of the front flower beds last summer…. Yup, that’s what I wanted.  When it comes to the garden, I usually get what I want.

Patience showing off the garden before improvements
 I ordered “Garden Mix” from A & K Top Soil.  It was perfect that they told me on Friday that they could deliver it Sunday Morning.  That gave us Saturday to work, IF they weather held out.  It was a perfect weekend, sunny, warm (but not too hot), and dry.  Saturday morning Craig took 2 of the girls to dance.  I did a little research (container gardening was on my mind), then set out for the greenhouse.  Plant shopping is always interesting with my crew.  ILE, hates shopping in general, but loves plant shopping.  CC complained about going until she walked in and saw all the “Flowers! Pretty flowers!”.    We had to go to two different greenhouses because the first—my favorite small town, locally owned, family operated place—had run out of some things.  This always happens, guess that’s what I get for not doing it sooner.  Last year I ended up going to four different places, which can be fun and interesting, but I didn’t have much time to spare.

ILE and I did our usual thing, looking for good sturdy plants in the varieties we wanted.  She only asked for a few extra things—mostly because what she likes was already on the list, and she’s had several years to experiment with new things.  She also now realizes that things like pumpkins, melons and winter squash are not options, they just take up too much space.  Corliss on the other hand was more like a kid in a candy shop, only it was the flowers.  How do you say no to flowers?  So, I let her have her pick.  Two flats, a few small rounds, and two hanging baskets later she, she seemed happy.  And the catch, she is now responsible for watering and weeding them!  Once we all got back home, we all pitched in: emptying the composter, tilling the dirt, moving in the retaining wall bricks, weeding the rest of the smaller gardens.  It was a good day’s work.

All planted
Sunday was dirt day, and hopefully, planting day!  In typical fashion at our house, everything happened at once:--the kids were playing in the yard, neighbor Tom stopped in to confirm the identity of the rouge plants in the strawberry bed—I was right, they were raspberries--the twins’ friend who had stayed the night was getting picked up, and the phone rang to say our delivery was on its way.  Our friends quickly said goodbye just as the dump truck pulled ‘round the corner.

I’d like to send out a big Thank You! to the delivery driver who when asked to put it as close to the garden as possible, expertly maneuvered his truck and dumped most of the six cubic yards into the garden so we didn’t have to move it as far.  Wow, that’s a lot of dirt!  We spent the whole day working on our project.  Spreading the dirt, moving in more retaining wall (had to go buy 26 more stones), leveling it all out, and of course, planting.

We also tried something new this year: container gardening for potatoes, corn (Patience’s personal scheme), carrots, and beets.  These are things, that I’d love to see work, but won’t be heartbroken if they don’t.  The kids really liked this idea and for the time being are willing to accept the responsibility of watering the pots placed in various locations around the yard.  The corn, that’s a little story of its own.  Patience has been asking since last fall if we can plant corn.  The problem is, we don’t really have the space, and the deer like to visit our yard so it seems like I moot point.  In researching for Craig’s potato pots, I ran across picture of corn grown in a container, so…I gave her the idea, permission to use my baskets and away she went.

Of course, we are not done.  My herb garden needs to be weeded—again—and re-mulched too.  I bought some dill, and a sage plant to replace the one that got trampled last year.  Craig bought a blackberry plant, and we’re going to try a blueberry bush in a different spot since the last one didn’t make it.  We also have some extra plants that did not fit in our little space.   My mother in law has decided that she is not planting this year, but said that we could use her small garden space as well.  My girls will take on that responsibility.  I like that they want to make it their own.  It will likely take some prodding as the summer goes on, but I am hopeful that they are growing to enjoy working in the garden.  I doubt they will even enjoy the working in it as much as they enjoy the eating from it, but who would?  

Today is another beautiful day after a nice steady rain last night.  I should take care of the rest of those things mentioned above, but I’m not.  I’m tired and a bit sore from the last two days—we moved a lot of dirt and stone, oh and I mowed the grass too.  Today instead we are going to visit with my grandparents, (although if the weather holds out, we will help them plant the tomatoes they asked me to pick up) and then take the girls out for ice-cream.  We will also take some time to talk with the girls about how very fortunate we are, and to remember our fallen heroes. Memorial Day may be a good time to plant, but it’s meant to be a time to remember those that gave their lives so that others may be free.  We choose to do both and are eternally grateful that we have the freedom to choose.

Wendy is sore today, but like working out, it’s a good kind of hurt.  Know what wouldn’t hurt?  A nice back rub--any takers?