Sunday, July 5, 2009

The beach in my garden

Gardening. Seems pretty simple. Put a seed in the dirt, add water and sun and it grows. Right? Hmm, not here, I seem to do things the long hard way.

In early spring we tried to burn off the piles of pine needles burying the jungle of weeds that were left from last fall. (No garden last year, letting it rest. Really.) The ground was still to frozen so we ended up with a smokey mess. We waited six weeks or so and burnt it off again, this time with better results. Two large piles of ashes.

Six weeks after that the taskmaster gave me a couple days off so I spent them turning the soil (term used loosely) in the garden. I think I need a rototiller. The garden that didn't seem so big, seemed pretty darn big when I was trying to loosen the weed regrowth and uncompact the clay like soil. Two days of this digging and I was hunched over and walking like I was 147 years old. It was too early to plant (still snow on Baker Mtn.) so I let the weeds grow once again.

The preferred planting time came and went, (end of May, early June) without any action in the garden. All my attention was focused on the view out of my blasting helmet as the taskmaster had decided it was time to resume the refinishing project on the house. After many, many days of blasting I finally protested, put down the blast hose and spent a couple days redigging and leveling the garden, again. This time I did get seeds and a couple of plants in the ground.

Now the fun starts. Trying to keep that garden patch watered. No matter how much I watered, the dirt was dried out after six or seven hours. My pumpkin plant (Barb's suggestion) was wilting terribly. I dragged the hose back over and let the water run for a couple of hours, hoping that if I could get enough water in the ground the plant would perk up. I did and it did. I went out to the garden after dinner to move the hose to the other side. The ground felt a little squishy when I stepped onto the sha
ke that forms the walking path. My foot slipped off the shake throwing me off balance. I struggled to stay upright, my arms windmilling wildly, I was going down. I managed to keep from ending on my keester in the mud, but I did lose my shoe. I had to reach down into the mud that was shin deep and pull my shoe out of the muck. Good thing there was no one with a video camera around, you'd be laughing for days. Guess I got the soil wet enough.

Mulch. The garden book says I need mulch to keep
the moisture in the ground. I had half a bale of straw left so I used that to mulch the squash and pumpkin, but in a 725 sq ft garden that did not cover quite enough. I had the taskmaster bring me all his sawdust and wood shavings from the shop and spread that around. Still not enough.

During June, the month of blasting, we went through a lot of blasting material, corncob grit. It is everywhere right now, inside and out. Where it has covered the dirt in the garden, no weeds are growing. On the lawn area we had reseeded, the corncob grit was acting like a mulch and keeping the soil damp and the grass was finally growing. The light bulb went on! We had bags and bags of used grit ready to go to the dump. I did a little Google research and discovered that I could reuse the already well used grit as mulch quite safely. It only took about 3 hours in 30 C temp to spread the grit around.

Now my garden looks like a beach, a nice white sandy beach. We'll see if my agricultural experiment works. Some of the seeds have sprouted, but not my carrots. I really want carrots.


  1. I love reading these Joan! You are quite a writer! Keep them coming! Good luck with your garden! We are trying a vegetable garden for the first time this year, and we've already had spinach, endive, lettuce, snow peas, beets and had some new potatoes! What fun!


  2. Oh Joan - I love reading your stories and seeing your pictures. And, trust me, I didn't need a video camera to be able to laugh, and laugh, and laugh . . . . at your story of the mud. I especially liked your picture of your shoes! Keep on blogging - it's a great way to share your adventures! Beth