Monday, May 18, 2015

Gardening 101: Green thumb or bust

We've been in our house just over two years now, and we've had a list of ideas and to-dos since before we got the keys. No, we don't have a plush, furnished office with an executive desk and scotch selections on a nearby side table à la Mad Men. Yet. Yes, we've only accomplished painting one room something other than the boring beige condition that we had no say over. And, no, we haven't done the flowers-bushes-mulch, repeat, around the front of the house like everyone else on our street. But I will say, our lone little maple looks pretty darn amazing this year.

This spring's undertaking marked the beginning of our backyard transformation from lots of grass to what will hopefully someday be a gathering hot spot and our personal oasis. Since we have such great sun for the majority of the day, the garden we have wanted for so long was finally possible.

What this meant for Devin: Gets to plan stuff. Gets to build stuff. Gets to grow stuff. Sweet!
What this meant for me: Has less lawn to mow. Gets to have all kinds of herbs! Devin will cook more because we'll have so much readily available. big is this project?

Oh. We're gonna need one of those.
(We don't have a pickup, so the Goldwing+trailer
is the next best thing. You know you like it.)
Devin did his thing and researched plants that would work well in our zone, mapped out the garden beds, ordered seeds and started collecting lumber over the winter. I watched and listened to his excitement. Then, on a fairly nice January day, after Devin had built one box, we went out to measure the area and mark the spots with flags. Since our yard isn't perfectly flat and gradually slopes up, he thought the best option was to take out sod and dig them into the landscape. So, off he went with his spade and wheelbarrow. Then, it got cold again. Really cold.

Oh, it's kinda pretty.
Oh, eff.
But, it wasn't too cold inside!

Devin used a garden planner from the Farmer's Almanac to keep track of when to plant, transplant outdoors and harvest our would-be crops. It even let him lay out a blueprint of the garden beds and what would fit together in each one. On March 1 we planted our first seeds--cabbage, lettuce and arugula--in our little seed starter kits. We didn't have to wait long: By March 4 we excitedly took note of the little bursts of green rising up from the soil. And they took off from there.

March 1
March 4
March 6
March 7
Okay, I'll stop now, but look at those guys grow! By mid-March the ground had thawed enough for Devin to continue digging areas for the garden beds, and I finally decided to help pull up sod. I truly have no idea how he did the first ones all by himself.

May I just say: Cutting, rolling and moving sod blows. I probably couldn't do it very gracefully anymore, but I'd rather move straw bales from barn to barn or bags of feed on the farm than move sod. It was not my favorite way to spend time with my husband, but we managed to get it all done and the boxes all dug out.

And then we high-fived and drank a couple beers. Of course.

Yes, you've counted correctly. That's 10 garden beds.
Hmm. Looks like we need to build more boxes, so let's regroup after another trip to the hardware store. Stay tuned.

Here's to progress and a massage for the girl who just helped do all that. Hint hint. *Cheers*

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