Garden 2013 – In The Beginning…

The honest truth is, I have a love/hate relationship with gardens.  I love planting things and watching them grow.  I hate weeding them, and truthfully, dealing with the harvest.  I know the whole point of the garden, is the harvest.  I know this in theory, but actually doing it, that’s another story!

It might have something to do with the size of our garden at the other house.  It was too big.  WAY.TOO.BIG!!

I never want to be in charge of a 1/2 garden again, or rather, left home alone all summer, with a space that needed a “staff” to get everything done that needed to be done.

I am going to miss my two 40+ foot rows of strawberries, and my two raspberry patches, but in time, we will have those here at the new place, on a smaller scale, so I am not so overwhelmed!

So…Garden 2013 begins, or it began 3 days ago!

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When we bought our house, I had no idea there was even a garden.  Sometime after moving in, sometime last fall I think, I stumbled beyond the beautiful back yard lawn, beyond the chain link fence, and found these 3 garden beds, buried, and I mean absolutely buried, under years of weeds and grass.

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At first glance, the garden doesn’t look like anything different from the wild ground beyond it, but there are 3 garden boxes, and with the weather beckoning us to do outdoor work, I suggested that we see what we could do with our tiny (compared to the other house) garden space!

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So, we got busy.  I weeded the first box, by hand, but The Woodman had other ideas, and he brought in the rototiller and made quick work of the other two boxes.  In the first day, we pulled out and knocked down all the weeds inside the boxes, and The Woodman used the weed eater to mow down all the weeds in the pathways, all the way to the dirt.

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I raked the debris into piles and we carried them over to the burn pile.

On Day 2 (yesterday), we laid down the straw!

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I could hardly wait to see how nice it was going to look with the straw.  I was not disappointed! I know that weeds will grow up through the straw, but because it is so thick, it will take a while, and when a bit of green does pop through, it’s very easy to see, and generally easy to pluck out!!  My parents have done their garden boxes with straw all around the pathways for years, so I know how fresh and clean it is to walk on while working in the garden.  The straw is fairly cheap, and easy to replace, so this will definitely be something we can maintain.

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I can hardly believe that just 2 days ago, this area was a terrible eyesore, almost completely hidden with neglect, and now we have a great little spot to plant a modest garden.

Today (Day 3), I hosed off all the railroad ties to get them clean, and thoroughly watered all 3 of the garden beds.  The two smaller boxes are approximately 4 x 8, and the large box is 4 x 24.  It’s the same amount of space as six, 4 x 4 Square Foot Gardens, which should give us plenty of space to have some fun with gardening this summer!

I also repurposed some 4ft tall dog exercise pens, and we will be lining the two outside edges with this fencing to keep out rabbits, and hopefully the cat!  We will be adding a few taller T-posts around the outside as well, and stringing up a couple of rows of tape, or something, to discourage the deer from jumping over the fencing.  We have observed other gardens in our area that are not fenced, so we are assuming deer must not be a huge problem, but we see them around, so we are making the fence a little higher, just to be sure!  We want to do this project with as little money out as possible, and so far, we have only invested our time and energy!

We still have to mix some type of compost/manure into the garden boxes, and lay down the bailing twine to make our Square Foot Garden grids.  I am also going to try my hand at straw bale gardening this year, so we will be hauling in a row of straw bales to get them seasoned and ready for mid June planting.  I’m pretty sure our last frost date is June 15 in this area, so while my CA friends are already beginning to harvest a few things, we can only dream about planting until June!

I am optimistic about the garden this year.  I think it is small enough that I will be able to handle it on my own, with some help from the kids.  I hope we get some nice tomatoes, peppers, and whatever else I decide to plant!!

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