During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies http://marcysrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gardening

I’m trying to be more creative and more compassionate. 
Yes, for some reason I find myself enjoying digging in the dirt.  When I was a young girl, my father dug me a little spot in front of our playhouse where I could plant a flower garden of marigolds and such, and I did most years, but most years it ended up being severely neglected.   One year my siblings and I even planted some flowers in a little spot by our abandoned shed, that we had turned into another play house. I fell in love with Cosmos that year, and have planted them several times since.
Ever since I have been married we have lived in a home where we could have at least a small garden plot.  We rented homes for about the first 12 or so years, and I have always gained much satisfaction out of planting and harvesting my own green beans and tomatoes (my over-all most successful produce).  I’ve also planted peas, potatoes, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, carrots, beats, squashes, pumpkins, peppers, various herbs, eggplant, radishes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and even a dwarf peach tree that lasted about 10 years before it bit the dust last winter. 
Anyway, when we bought our home 15 years ago, one of the biggest drawing cards for me was the large (for this neighborhood anyway)  lot giving the kids plenty of room to play and me plenty of room to play at gardener.  I should probably admit that I bit off more than I could chew, as I can never quite keep up with all of the garden areas that I begin.  I have some raspberries and black berries along the back fences, that I have had a hard time keeping productive in our hot summers and cold winters.  I have several areas where I am trying to produce productive strawberry patches, but never quite find the time to keep the grass and weeds out and the plants rotated and fertilized enough.  I do manage to get a few handfuls of berries each year, and my grapes last year were quite abundant.  We have a sour cherry tree, which we share with the birds.  The front lawn is surrounded by roses, iris, and other perennials.
The main part of my backyard vegetable garden is in an odd shaped area bordered on one side by the asphalt basketball court and on the other sides by a cement boundary that was half covered by dirt when we moved in.  The area was filled with shrubs and a Russian Olive Tree which we had removed.  When we moved in I had a little Mantis tiller which I used to dig up the area each spring, but after it died on me I decided to try my own version of square foot gardening, inspired by Mel Bartholomew’s book.   Here is a video that explains the process:  Square Foot Gardening Video
I was not able to purchase materials for raised beds, so started out by dividing the area into four-foot square sections with a large roll of four foot wide ground cover cloth that I cut into two foot wide strips.  The plan was to cover up the dividing paths with foot square paving stones, and we do have some, but not enough to cover all of the paths.   I ended up with 8 four-foot square plots, three triangular shaped plots, and one plot about 3 feet by 4 feet.  The whole garden has a two foot wide border garden.  Some years the border has been planted with green beans, and other years it has been planted with potatoes, and usually marigolds. (No marigolds in the budget this year)  This year I planted my corn along the North border.   So, the plan is good.  The 6 kids have each had their opportunities to plan and plant and care for their own 4 foot square plot of garden, but now the whole area has pretty much reverted to Mom, who never has quite enough time to keep out all of the weeds.  Here are two photos of how it looks today: 


I don't know how creative it really is; in my mind it always looks much better.  I do put quite a bit of time and effort into my gardening each year.  Right now we have some scrawny potatoes and still quite a few weeds, but we are getting enough green beans, corn, and squash to feed us this month.  This is what I harvested just before the first hard frost a couple of years ago in October 2008:

Hopefully this year we can do just as well or better!

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