Sunday, April 27, 2014

dig in

There was a lot of digging going on today. Most of the garden beds are rich with top soil added over the past few seasons, plus fresh compost from our barrel. The top layer has grown a lot of weeds since we finished gardening late last fall, but the soil is fairly easy to till after breaking through the top layer. After a few minutes of shoveling, turning and raking the soil, it's a happy little place for new plants.

Trips to a few gardening stores this afternoon sent us home with a good mix of plugs and flowers. Normally, most of the seeds would have been started indoors and nearly ready for planting by now, but as I mentioned last time, spring seemed to have a pretty late start all around. Today's haul included cabbage, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, marigolds, onions and some perennials to attract bees and butterflies.

I snapped a couple of pictures just before dark and just before my phone died. It's a little piecemeal, but plants are getting in the ground so that's all that matters. Wheeler dog was a great helper tonight. She does a really good job of keeping the soil warm while she lounges around and supervises the work.

Bamboo is an invasive monster if you have it growing in your yard, but it can be a great asset to the garden. Cut it, give it time to dry out (to avoid having it start new roots when you put the cut poles in the ground), grab a roll of twine and you have some free trellises. The criss-cross trellis was a great support for cucumbers and beans the past two seasons, and will be used for the same again this year. Further down the bed, it also supports hops. A good watering after all the planting was done, and the "kids" are all tucked in for the night.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

waking up

It was a slow crawl through winter. We more or less escaped winter for three years here in Philly, and it finally caught up to us. Some might say our luck ran out. I think we were full of luck and finally had a winter we deserve. Snow can be a hassle, and the cold can be unpleasant, but I loved this past winter. I don't understand why people complain so much about seasons. It may not seem like it in the moment, but you know the next one is always on its way. And sure enough, while maybe a little late, spring is here.

Spring's sleepy start had a domino effect, and it wasn't until this past weekend that plants were purchased, holes were dug and the watering can remembered what it was like to be full again. This year's garden is taking a little different turn. It's a focus on longevity and lasting growth. What exactly does that mean? Fruit! Bulbs! Projects!

Settling into their new spaces in the ground are three types of blueberry bushes, two plum trees, irises and Dutch windflowers. And the asparagus! A friend gave me several clumps of asparagus roots (I'm not entirely sure what to call them...they looked like stringy monsters) that are starting to grow! I've never had any luck growing asparagus before, but I'm excited by the success of these old transplants because I love to eat asparagus.

Indoors, the tomatoes are started, there's a mango tree (the seed was a remnant of a recently brewed beer) sprouting in a pot, the mail-order hops are winding their way up a sunny window and there's an evergreen seed bomb that is being willed to life...maybe it'll sprout someday soon.

Overall, things are creeping along, just like all the spring bugs. Seasons are changes, and with this season comes a bit of change to this space. Still the same ideas, the same feeling, just...more. I have dreams of becoming a farmer someday. No definition to the scale of said farming, but I want to be a farmer. That's my American dream - going back to the roots of our skills as human beings and the roots of our country. I can't wait to share the journey.