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15 April 2013

Ready? Set? Grow!

I finally got to get my hands dirty and dig into my garden on Sunday. Before I could begin, we had to figure out a solution to my downspout problem (the positioning of it led to a small river running through my fresh soil after a heavy rain) and had to get a dog-deterring fence up. For some reason, two of our dogs LOVE to eat the fresh soil and the third just likes to tear through it and make a mess. JD's dad came into town on Saturday and helped us to put up a fence and install a modified rain barrel. It looked great and was just sitting there waiting to be planted.

Sunday morning after church, I hit up Lowe's to get a few final staples (including two small tomato plants so I can grow the kind the JD's dad likes as a "thank you" for his help) and rushed home to get to work. I was so excited to get out there and work in the dirt that I actually dreamed about it on Saturday night. I haven't had a proper garden since the summer after I was married back in 2002, and the prospect of having a garden again is exhilarating. I love growing things. Even when I was apartment-bound, there were a million plants in pots all over my patios and porches. Even my classroom windowsills are littered with plants of different varieties and sizes.

Thankfully, the weather outside was beautiful and absolutely perfect for planting. I began by mounding up my rows - six in all - and trying to figure out what I wanted to go where. I knew my squash and creeping vegetables - pumpkins, eggplant, and watermelon - needed room to stretch out, so I dedicated two rows to them. I only planted one watermelon and one pumpkin seedling because, let's be real, those badboys are hugs and take forever to grow. But I planted at least six squash/zucchini seedlings because I want to have enough to make goat-cheese stuffed fried squash flowers. And, since I need to cook the flowers, that plant will produce less fruit. So I compensated by planting extra. There is definitely a method to my madness.

I planted my four tomato plants on the edge closest to the house because they will eventually need to be staked/racked up, and putting the racks near the house will be less intrusive than smack in the middle of the garden. I've planted an entire row of herbs with chives sown directly into the soil. The beans I planted weeks ago never grew, so I'm attempting to sow them directly into the soil to see if they grow. If they do, they will grow against the fence where I can easily tie them up. If they don't grow, I haven't wasted any space. It's a small square of soil, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how it produces.

The Garden. Fence in place with flowers trimming it. 

Squash babies.

Tomato babies. 

I've never grown carrots before. Let's see what happens!

Nasturtium. For color and for flavor (they are edible flowers). 

I also attempted to soften/prettify/improve the constantly-soggy corner of our yard. The draining at this property is HORRIBLE (which our rain barrel will hopefully help!), and the corner opposite the garden is always wet. Always. Unless it doesn't rain for like two weeks straight. But I also don't want to invest a ton of money given that we are only renting. So, while at Lowe's, I found these ferns on sale for $8. Since ferns LOVE super moist soil, I'm hoping they do well in this corner. My only fear is that they will get too much sun. The corner definitely needs work, but at least it's less barren right now. And the ferns are certainly distracting from the boggy nature of that area.

After spending over three hours in the sun on my hands and knees and bent over at weird angles, I had very sore muscles and a series of weird sunburns in random spots on my body. But the soreness was the good kind. The kind you feel after working hard and creating something that you will enjoy (hopefully!) for months to come. I had no problem falling asleep last night and slept harder than I have in a long time. 
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