More fun in the mud

More fun outside today. We volunteered to rake up some leaves for my grandmother in law. She’s in her 80s and doesn’t need to be doing that kind of stuff. She lives in a house that overlooks some woods with a creek bottom. Off the back of her house are some terraced landings that are planted with hostas and other things, and then the ground slopes down to the creek. (Or crick if you’re from Missouri) It’s really a neat setup that her husband had spent a lot of time on. We spent about 3 hours there today raking all the leaves down to the creek bottom, which is what they do every year. (That creek bottom must have the most fertile soil anywhere)

The whole time all I could think about was how she needed a couple pygmy goats as pets and they could frolic around and eat all the leaves and brush that we were trimming. They’d certainly be much more adept at moving up and down the hill than my fat ass.

While we were there I went into a tool shed they have under the house and found the mother lode of garden tools. Tons of old hoes, cultivators, some shovels, potato forks, etc. All things that her husband used (he’s passed away now 5 years) throughout time and when he was building these terraces. Given my decision to rent a garden space this was rather serendipitous. We decided that I could use the 4 tine cultivator/pitchfork, which is great because I had ordered one on Friday from Earth Tools (I ordered the tuber tool), but I am still going to need the chopper/rowmaker I ordered on Friday. I’ll call them on Monday and cancel the tuber tool though. I’ll have saved myself a few dollars.

I had a couple recommendations to use a tiller on the garden plot, but I’m still going to try to do it by hand. We’ll see if I can or if I give up. I’m trying to acquire some graph paper so I can layout the plot. I think I’m going to divide it into two sides and run a line of onions down the center from one side to the other. I’ve been warned plenty of times about theft, so I’m going to focus my plantings on root crops and other crops that are harder to plunder. If the thief has to dig something up I think they will move on to the next plot. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, sunflowers, some green beans, a few tomatoes and squash and melon. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, kohlrabi and beets will probably be there too. I expect someone will take the squash and melon, but since I have the space I’m going to grow them.

I was outside when we got home. I planted a sack of onions I got on sale last night. If a few of them take I’ll be in the plus side. I’m still waiting for my real sack to come from Jung’s. I noticed today that it was really steamy in the cold frames so I cracked the tops, man, it was really warm inside! I guess they’re working, which is great. I did see a few sprouts in there. I don’t have a watering can, but I do have a plastic toy one the kids play with. I dipped that into the pool cover and snagged some rain water to water both the cold frames, the transplants and the onions.

All the cold weather plants I planted seem to have died. We had a snow the day after I planted them (naturally) and it might have done them in. I’m going to give them a little while and see if the root is alive even if the tops are dead. For the 3rd year in a row the peas don’t seem to be going anywhere. I’m not going to plant over them yet, but they sure haven’t done much so far.

According to the moon charts I have two more days to plant any other roots crops I want, and then I’m done with them until the end of April. I think I’ll wait to do more carrots until that second round so they are a little more spaced out. It seems strange to have all that garden space open out in the yard. For the past few years I’ve been struggling to get space ready before the spot is needed for planting. This year it’s sitting there waiting for me.

The garlic looks very pretty so far. I was able to tear open some of the compost pile today. All that crumbly stuff at the bottom was very pretty too. It’s still frozen in a few spots, but it’s coming along. I’ve almost got the second bin full of material already.

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5 responses to “More fun in the mud

  1. have i got a find for you! this site lets you make your own graph paper for free and customize it for your needs. you can then save a PDF and print as much or as little as you need. hope it suits your needs. i’ve used it a ton since i found it. http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/lite/

  2. I was going to say check out your local art supply store for graph paper, but after looking at the link above, I would use it instead and save a few bucks.

    I share similar concerns about theft in my new community garden spot, considering its location. I didn’t plan on growing many roots this year, but may have to switch gears and get some going.

  3. I don’t dare plant anything yet – I’m afraid it would just rot away. Too cold & wet up here yet. All of us, even the kids, are getting itchy to get in the garden.

  4. I second Sugar Creek’s recommendation. They forecasted an inch of snow today down here! Then rain the rest of the week. Uggh, it’s going to be another year of winter turning into summer with no warning.

  5. I’m starting to wonder the same thing now. Wet, wet, wet.

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