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It’s Garden Time!

Posted by on May 12, 2011

In addition to all of the other things I’ve talking about wanting to be good at, there’s one that I haven’t mentioned much…gardening.  I live on 6 acres in the middle of Nowhere, NH.  This is not type of area I grew up in.  I can’t throw a rock at my drug dealing neighbors anymore.  I can’t even see my neighbors.

Anyway, the joke at my house is that I don’t play well with nature.  I think, more accurately, the statement should be that nature doesn’t play well with me.  For example, 2 winters ago we were snowshoeing out back by the swamp.  We were about an hour walk from home.  I inquired of my husband the safety of the ice that was under the snow.  He assured me that it was fine.  He was walking in front of me so I figured I’d be safe.  Nope!  Not 10 seconds after I asked the question, my left foot fell through the ice.  I felt my boot fill up with water.  He had to pull me out.  Did I mention that I stepped in my husbands footsteps?!  Nature doesn’t like me but it sure got a good laugh at my expense that day. (this must have been traumatic for me since I wrote about it before here.)

In spite of nature’s dislike of me, I’m determined to conquer it.  I have had a small container garden on my deck for the past 4-5 years.  My moderately successful vegetable garden has remained in pots due to my hesitation to work in the actual ground.  After all, that’s where the snakes live and I can’t chance running into one of them!

This year, I’m venturing out of the pots and into the box – in the form of a raised bed, that is.  This is a big step.  The last time I tried planting in the ground was horribly unsuccessful due to a month of rain and my lack of time to weed.  This year WILL be different.  I’m starting with 3 raised beds on top of newspaper (to block the grass) filled with a 50/50 mix of loam and compost.  I ordered seeds from an online catalog company that sells only heirloom seeds (http://rareseeds.com/).  My seedlings are started and are growing nicely, another feat that has only been moderately successful in the past (well, except for the zucchini.  That hasn’t sprouted and I’m not sure why).

Taking on several new facets of my garden in the same year may be considered a bit over zealous but, remember the ½ marathon fiasco.  I guess that’s just how I roll!  Seriously, I have successfully grown a variety of veggies for years, even if only by accident!  I’m just stepping it up.  Plus, I have a secret weapon.  I have ArtSea!  My green-thumbed buddy that has spent this horribly long winter in the Caribbean will be back home just in time to help me…if I need it.  I have picked her brain numerous times already.  She is the one that recommended http://rareseeds.com/ for my seed purchase.

Every year I start some plants from seeds and end up purchasing plants from Home Depot’s garden center anyway because they look so much bigger than mine.  “They have been in greenhouses for months, silly”, reasons ArtSea.  “Did your plants grow and produce?”  Yes.  “There you go.”

It’s hard to argue with such logic.

Seeds it is.  My 3 beds are small – 3 X 4 ft, but I need something manageable.  Here is my veggie list:

Tomatoes –Roma, Yellow Pear, Pantano Romanesco and a mystery one that the company threw in.

Cucumbers – Japanese Long and Marketmore 76

Green beans

Snap peas

Carrots

Green Leaf Lettuce

Salad Mix

Spinach

Zucchini

Summer Squash

I’ll be adding Marigolds and Nasturtium (also started from seeds) to the beds as well to help deter pests.  I’m also hoping to plant some sunflowers nearby to help deter deer (much to the dismay of my hunting husband).  I’d like to add some blackberries and strawberries to the yard as well, if time allows.

On Monday I went out to plant some seeds in one of the beds and a creature of some sort already got into one of the beds.  1st night out and there was dirt shoveled out of the bed and a piece of newspaper from the bottom of the box ripped out.  Is this an indication of things to come.  See, nature doesn’t like me.  It’s no wonder that I even out the dirt with much trepidation.  After all, whatever was digging in there could be hiding in the dirt waiting to attack me…I really do have issues with nature, don’t I??

Anyway, the trick is to keep up with this through the whole summer while working full time and working on everything else I take upon myself.  Given that one of the motivations of this is to save some money on groceries and eat organic at the same time, I can’t exactly bail on this one.  More updates soon.

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