Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Almost there

Saturday morning is looking beautiful. I was up around 8:30, and got myself dressed. I fed the dogs and fixed myself some breakfast. I gathered all of my variously tagged Mother Earth News magazines, graph paper and pencil. I quietly settled into the living room and began making myself notes and a check-list. There were several how-to articles that I had saved, and it was all coming down to this singular moment. I like to think of myself as being well planned and one who "has it together," but let's face it, when it comes down to it, I cram at the last minute. Who doesn't, right?

By the time I am settled and have all of my things spread out on the living room table, Aubrey comes in. I get up to fix her a cup of coffee. When I return, I sit next to her and she looks at what I have done. She can tell that I am a little stumped. She get's up, leaves the room and returns with some colored pencils and a much needed eraser. We discuss what we want to grow and how much space we have, and within minutes, we have planned out our Summer garden.

We have decided on tomatoes, peppers and watermelons. Now that we had the garden planned and our plants picked out, it was time to get ready and head out to the market.

We ride out to the All Local Farmers Market and pick up some soil amendments that I had planned on getting.  We see some familiar faces and make our rounds around and pick up a little bit of produce on the way out.

On our way home, we need to fill up the Prius. This ends up putting us in the same area as the Cayce Farmers Market. Well, we can't just pass up the opportunity to walk through another local farmers market. Once we get out and walk around, we both hear a rooster and sure enough, there was not one, but two roosters strutting their stuff about. We walk around some and check out the vegetable garden plants and decide that we will pick up some things. We get some Brussel Sprouts, Cucumbers and some watemelons. This will obviously change our plans to the garden we sketched out earlier, but that's just what happens on a wonderful Saturday morning. On our check out at the register, we grab a couple cold drinks. Aubrey gets an A&W Cream Soda and I get a Blenheim Ginger Ale and we proceed back to the house.

So, am I ever going to get this garden planted? Not yet it seems, I still need to amend the soil in the garden. I had picked up some nice cured cow manure from my dads before hand, plus some of my home made compost. My plan was to layer the manure and dirt, then finish it off with some compost and a final layer of soil. So how do you do this without a tiller? You dig of course...in the overhead sun with a shovel for about an hour, or that's at least how I did it. This only consisted of me digging the whole garden up! 18 inches deep in fact. I know what your thinking, "Dude, that's just crazy monkey style, what are you thinking?" Hey, what can I say, that's just what a David does.

- 4' x 7' 18 inches deep -
- AFTER -

Until next time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name...

“Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds.” ― Oscar Wilde
 
 I love this time of year because everything is blossoming. Yesterday, David brought in a vase of roses picked from our backyard. We don't do much with our rose bushes, but that doesn't stop these Don Juan beauties from flourishing every year.

Anybody else have a favorite rose?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something noticed...Something heard

Over the weekend, Aubrey and I spent some time out in our backyard. One of the things that I have been trying to be very conscious about as of lately, are the sights and sounds.

In the book Organic Gardening by Maria Rodale, she proposes that the reader perform an exercise.  

"Go outside and let yourself be drawn to a spot in your yard - preferably one that you don't sit in...after you have made yourself fairly comfortable, sit for an hour. Then, go through a rundown of all of your sensory perceptions and see what they tell you."
- A peaceful retreat -
We didn't exactly do this, but what we did do was take notice of all that we heard. We live near an airport, so planes flying overhead are an occasional sound. We are not far from a rock quarry, so we are limited to distant train noises in the evening.

But the best sounds by far, that we both noticed, were the vast amount of birds in our backyard. As a bonus, this also applies to our neighborhood during our walks. We have a bird bath, and if we weren't too close, we could spy a Robin or Brown Thrasher taking a bath. We have Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays as well. It was very soothing and it has started an interest in both of us to begin birdwatching in our backyard and hopefully elsewhere.
- Robin -

- Brown Thrasher -
- Northern Cardinal -

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cleaning up and a nice surprise

So, last Sunday was spent cleaning up a flower bed along the back of our house that was full of weeds and leaves from this past winter. It needed some good attention from me. I pulled weeds, raked out old debris, more or less just straightening things up so it would look more to my liking.

Once the cleaning was done, I could tell that something was missing. I have been adding brick borders to things lately and this flower bed needed one. I was able to do this from some randomly collected bricks from around the yard. I have to say, I am very happy with the end result. I finished things off with a nice layer of fresh cedar mulch.
- Finished flower bed -

 This flower bed is home to the Purple Iris. I just learned that Iris takes it's name from the Greek word for rainbow, refering to the wide variety of flower colors found among the species.

So to my surprise the other morning, I walked out into the backyard to look at the flower bed, and there was a beautiful Iris in full bloom.

- Beautiful Iris -
Well, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.  Get outside and explore your back yard, get your hands in some dirt, rake some leaves, pull some weeds. It sure can be rewarding and can be a wonderful adventure.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Old earth turned

So, after gathering all of my yard tools and going over my plan, it was time to dig, so I started by removing the brick perimeter in order to make room for the tiller. Now with gloved hands, it was time to crank this thing up.

I had never used a tiller before, but I had seen it done several times before, so I wasn't too concerned.

-Time to make room for tilling-
-All tilled up-
I have to say that after I finished,  I was very happy with how everything turned out. I have talked with Aubrey about what she would like for us to grow. We are thinking about several types of tomatoes, some bell pepper variaties, jalapeno peppers and maybe some watermelon. I would like to try some pole beans, but we'll see.

Once I figure out what we will grow, I will share the names and kinds of vegetables that we have settled on.

So here is the finished garden bed. I am very happy with how it turned out and look forward to planting, mulching and figuring out an irrigation set up. I've got lots of ideas for all of this.

- The finished garden -

It looks like the Easter bunny came early

He left us five varieties of tomato plants and a pot of rosemary. They were just sitting on the front steps when I got home from work.
It looks like we'll have plenty of tomato sandwiches this summer. Yum!

What are you growing in your garden this year?