The Good Stuff

I had a great time last night, even though ibuprofen was required.

It was a beautiful evening, light winds, spring temperatures and a husband who needed to be elsewhere until about 8:00.  The perfect opportunity to work in the garden.  I still had to work my way to the bottom of the compost pile to have stuff to work into last year’s beds.   I slowly sifted and refined the pile of leaves and decomposed matter.  I had just enough to make a 1-2″ layer on each bed.  Then, do my eyes deceive me?  What’s that dark brown stuff?  I don’t know why I was surprised, this is what’s supposed to happen.  At the bottom of the huge pile of mulched leaves and food scraps was a 6″ deep, luscious layer of new, sweet smelling earth with earth worms, rolly pollies and other bugs I couldn’t identify.  A whole ecosystem of goodness right there in front of me. 

I got the shovel and started digging.  It took about 3 loads with the wheelbarrow – keeping in mind I’m a woosy girl with no upper body strength – but I had enough of the good stuff to layer about 1″ deep on an old flower bed where I’m going to grow the squash this year.  I just put it down on top of the clay and went ahead and put in my seeds.  A beautiful sight to behold.  I might order some worm castings from the co-op and fertilize all the beds well once I get them planted. 

I got the leaf mixture spread on top of the other two beds, but ran out of steam, my back was killing me and the DH was due home and we were hungry!  So over to bed #1 to cut a little lettuce, spinach and cilantro for the first salad from our garden.

One more nice surprise was some small dill plants coming up volunteer from last year’s crop. 

I thought I had pulled it all up.  It was kinda overwhelming last year.  As with everything else, I planted way too much and had no clue what to do with it.  This year I’m going to pick it young and use it in salads, etc.   I had planted it to use in pickles, but since my cucumbers failed miserably, I was left with a lot of dill I didn’t know how to use.  But, from what is coming up on its own now, it should be just enough to use for the season.  God is in the details…..I love it.

Keep it simple. 

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The Promise of Spring or Lessons Already Learned For Next Year

My third choice of a title was “How I Always Manage to Make Things Harder Then They Have to Be.” 

So, its a lovely day outside.  A nice quiet, actually NON-WINDY, Sunday afternoon.  I’m itching (not literally) to get my hands into that compost pile and get it worked into the future okra bed.

I’ve got my new and very expensive wheel barrow and my old, but loveable compost sifter ready to go.

Its nothing more than some pieces of old fencing with plastic chicken wire stapled to it.  Its kinda rickety, but works great. 

So now to the part about lessons already learned for next year.  Right off the bat I see my mistake.  In a fit of laziness and desire to just get last year’s dead garden cleaned up, I threw all the stalks and vines and stems from the okra and squash onto the compost pile.  Big mistake!  Now you veteran gardeners are rolling your eyes and laughing at me.  You know better.  Well some of us have to learn the hard way.  Just ask my mother.  Needless to say, the stalks and vines and stems did not decompose over the winter.  So now I have a tangled mass of – well, stalks and vines and stems –  mixed in with all the nice leaves and eggshells and decomposing veges.  My intentions to get out there and “get ‘er done” has instead left me hot and frustrated and taking a break at my computer.  I have completely filled one of our big green dumpster trash cans with – say it with me – stalks and vines and stems. 

 

But there is good news.  The lettuce and spinach is coming along nicely.  I even cancelled my lettuce order with the food co-op this month because mine is looking so good.  Even the cilantro is growing a little.  Only about 1/3 of it came up, but its very tasty.  So I planted onions in the left over spaces.

I was smart and utilized the lesson learned from LAST year.  I just planted two rows of lettuce, knowing that’s all we’ll eat.  I planted so much and had so much to give away last year that the neighbors and my coworkers turned around when they saw me with anything green in my hands :-).

Oh! And the strawberries are blooming!  Yee haa! 

So, things are looking good.  It will take me longer than planned to work my way to the bottom of the compost pile but the effort will be worth it.  Next year I will strip the leaves from the stalks before tossing into the pile.  More work this year but I will love myself for it next year.  That’s always a good thing. 

We bought the material and got a small start on the patio cover yesterday.  It will be so nice to sit outside and enjoy the backyard from the shade.  If I can talk Moe into it, I may even put some twinkle lights around the beams.  While we’re at it, how about an outdoor fan?  I am married to an electrician, after all :-).

Farmers Market opens next Saturday and the summer Saturday ritual begins again.  I love this time of year. 

Keep it simple.