Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Entry for April 14, 2008
I havent written here for a couple of days because there really isnt much going on. It was cold and rainy all weekend, so nothing outside got finished. (my hand really limited things anyway) I had to run outside sunday afternoon and cover the new fruit plants since the forecast called for lows in the 20's sunday and monday night. The weather is supposed to start changing again today, getting gradually warmer through the rest of the week, and reaching the upper 60's by the end of the week. YAYY I have to get out to the garden and get the raised beds layed out and ready. We decided to try raised beds this year in the front of the garden for all the greens and root crops so they would be all in one general area and easier to get at. For the first time at planting with this method, we aren't going to go TOO crazy with it until we see how it all works out.
I have the whole thing layed out on paper, graphed out in a square foot grid pattern.I've cut it down a bit and squared it out to make it easier to work with, the total being 40x50 feet. For now I'll use stakes and string to lay it out until I can get more timbers to seperate the beds. The first 10 feet of the garden will be layed out as follows: 2x8 feet for my horseradish, 2x8 for garlic, 2x6 broccoli, 2x4 turnips,2x4 parsnips, 2x6 carrots, 2x4 beets, 2x6 green onions, 2x2 spinach, and 2x2 leaf lettuce.....a 2 foot wide path, then 4x8 yellow squash, 4x10 cucumbers, 4x10 melons, 4x12 potatoes, and 4x6 feet cabbage....followed again by another 2 foot wide path. Behind that will be 2x14 feet green peppers, 2x12 jalepeno peppers, 2x12 hugarian hot wax peppers, and 2x12 feet for onions. The rest will be in simple rows, consisting of tomato's, green beans, and corn. There is still a 6 x 50 foot area yet uncalled for, but I'm sure it will fill up with something by they time we plant. I'm going to leave the paths at 2 feet wide for now and see how it goes. I hate to waste that much space, but also its nice not to try to cramp in a 12 inch row with a basket to pick.
A lot of this should have been in by now, but the unpredictable ohio weather keeps me from wanting to chance a frost and losing everything. We had a frost last night, and I noticed everything covered again this morning as I just looked out the kitchen window as I refilled my coffee. I'm going to have to check the new fruit plants when I get home to see if they're damaged. Hopefully I had them covered well enough...I'll soon find out.
I did manage to get one side of the composter finished yesterday. I had to get piano hinges for the doors, and forgot to get a second latch for the right side. I got the door complete, dumped the contents of one of the compost bins inside, and gave it a spin. It seems to work great, but I do need to add some kind of handles to grab when turning it. It was awkward for me to grab and spin, and I let lisa try it, and she could barely get a grip. I'll probably make something that mounts in the center between the two drums so its not putting stress more on one side than the other. These heavy platic drums are tough, but I want them and this rig to last a long time. I still have to add the rows of stainless screws that I want to, but those can be added anytime.
I'm hoping to get the arbors made for the wild blackberries made someday this week. I'm going to go pretty simple with these...pipe for posts, and chain link fence for the arbors. I figure I'll keep it at 5 feet tall, so I'll cut the pipe at 7 feet and drive them into the ground. I may end up doing the same for the grapes, but that one is undecided.
I find it kind of funny thinking of all the things to do outside. Last week when the weather was nice, the neighbor was outside dragging around the aeroater and spreader to make his lawn nice and green, as I'm sure a lot were around here. They're all plotting out what pretty flowers will go where, and how much mulch they need to prevent any weeding after all the planting is finished so they can spend the summer doing worthless things, and sitting inside with the air conditioning. Then here we sit...plotting out how much lawn space we have, figuring out what areas get the most sun, which ones don't, and what will grow in each particular area. I have yet to find lawn grass in the produce section of the grocery or at the farmers markets, but some people spend as much time on their lawns as we do preparing the gardens. Some don't even do this work themselves, and hire a lawn service to do these chores for them. I can't understand someone who doesnt enjoy the open air and the feel of the sun on their backs; the joy of doing things yourself, and the feeling at the end of the day that you have accomplished something other than sitting in the a/c and watching television.
Ever since we bought this house, we have been somewhat of the local outcasts. People drive by and stare as we work in the garden or hang out clothes on a line. They slow down and look, staring as if the amish or the Clampett's moved into the neighborhood. Who are these people? Why are they planting a garden when they can go buy that stuff? Why are they hanging clothes out to dry when they can use a drier? Why are they out there sweating when they can be inside sitting in the air conditioning? Why are they sitting outside around a fire when a new episode of "reality stars on ice" is on tonight? People around here just don't understand us. Some talk about gardening years ago, but most just dont want the "hassle" or claim to not have the time. The neighbor behind us does love the fact that we grow the garden. We bought the house from them as it was his wife's mothers place. Since we started growing here at home, we've gladly kept them in supply of tomatos, peppers, and leaf lettuce. We keep him in vegetables, and he plows our 100 yard drive in winter, seems a fair trade to me. Sadly, due to cancer in his jaw, he can't chew anything as of now, but his wife gladly accepts green goodies. Of course, she can't be bothered with even so much as growing one tomato plant herself.
It's a sad world when people who are trying to better themselves are looked at the way we are. Most people's idea of a "better life" means more money, and more accumulation of all things valuable. To me, they purchase of a push powered cultivator is a much wiser investment than a satellite tv system, but what do I know, I'm the outcast.

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