Thursday, June 10, 2010

Working the soil

I am sweaty and gross. I have a blister. My back is killing me. I must be a gardener.

Well, I am gardener if I can be called that without yet having planted anything. Soon, I hope, soon!

It is supposed to rain tonight and pretty much all weekend, I think, but I snuck into my garden for an hour tonight and did one last cultivation. I think it took me as long to do the last quarter of it as it did to do the first three-fourths. I was exhausted!

The soil in E.P. has a lot of clay in it - it's not even a black soil, but very gray. This means cultivating it by hand is very tough. You basically have to repeatedly stab at the soil in order to break it up. I'm sure it would have been a quicker and more fun job if I had been really pissed off at someone today and could imagine hacking at their head. Alas, no.

It is amazing what you find in a 20x30 piece of soil. Sticks and rocks. Burs. Weeds. Glass. Seed markers from years gone by. Black plastic from bags that were used at some point in the past to prevent weeds, I imagine. And, a couple of really large pieces of wire - no idea what that might have been used for. It's thick like a nice wire hanger, and really twisted into the ground. I bet I pulled out a piece tonight that was more than 2 feet long. ??

Anyway, I am gaining a TON of respect for pioneers who actually did this to live and not just for fun. (Hmm. Am I having fun? Not sure yet.)

I probably should have raked it before I left, but my hands and back just couldn't take it anymore. Now if I can somehow get into the garden and plant before Sunday, since I am leaving town for a week then. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Back to Square 1

I went back for another 1.5 hours tonight. I weeded by hand and learned two important things: 1) Knee pads are essential. 2) My garden is full of burs - which, I might add, are not too comfortable to plop a kneecap or buttcheek on. On the plus side, getting up close and personal with my dirt allowed me to pull out a bunch of small rocks, lots of random plastic and other detritus, all of which added up to two-plus gallons in my 5-gallon pail.

I started to hoe/till again, but only got a quarter of the way through before I was "dying" of thirst/my back started hurting. So, basically, I spent three hours getting myself back to where I started.

It is supposed to rain tonight, be nice Wednesday/Thursday and then rain all weekend. So, my goal is to let things dry on Wednesday and then hopefully finish hoeing/planting on Thursday. If I don't get back in there before the weekend, I might as well just give it up as a jungle.

Procrastination never pays

^ My garden when I first got there this afternoon.

^ My garden when I left.

The good news is: my garden is fertile.
The bad news is: I hadn't planted anything yet.

Between going out of town for Memorial Day Weekend and rain seemingly every other day, it's been a few weeks since I had been to my garden. It was really too wet to do anything today, I figured, but thought I'd at least go check it out. As I was walking toward my plot I was starting to feel guilty. Everyone's gardens were looking so green and lush, and mine was going to be a giant patch of black dirt. Or so I thought.

I get to my plot and I think my jaw literally dropped open. My garden was TEEMING with plants. Carrots, dill, radishes, tomatoes - you name it. My garden is covered with lush, green plants. So then I had to debate with myself - do I tear up what seem to be perfectly good plants, or do I just go with what Mother Nature gave me and garden what's already growing?

Tearing up everything won out. It took me an hour and a half just to pull out all the stuff 6 inches and up. I called it a day after that, but I'll go back after supper and do some actual weeding and cultivate/hoe/till one more time. If all goes well, I'll plant on Thursday, assuming the ground is once again dry enough after raining all day tomorrow as forecasted.