Spring on the horizon

Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.       __ Alfred Austin

Despite the recent turmoil, life goes on. In this neck of the woods, of course, one of the most exciting things is life! Finally, after all those frozen brown and gray months, we’ve got crocuses, green tulip leaves peeking out of the soil and at least the hope of warmth.

Last week, during a long, drawn-out meeting that didn’t really require my input, I sketched out the 2009 garden, realizing as I’ve said in months past, that we need to be able to grow as much food as possible. I’ve just now come to the end of last summer’s tomatoes I canned (without chemicals, additives or high fructose corn syrup, which has to be better for our autistic kiddos). We want to get a small chest freezer this year so we can freeze broccoli, beans and so on this year too.

In order to accomplish that goal, we’ve decided to nearly double the size of the current garden, making about 150 square feet more of growing room. Most of this garden will be new to cultivation, so we’re stirring the compost pile and importing manure to enrich the soil. (Persuading Little Miss that yes, it really is okay to put cow poop on your food… priceless.)

The oldest part of the garden has been worked for at least ten years. It developed some sort of fungus that attacks tomatoes about four years ago, so we’ve cycled the tomato plants to new sections. This year we’ll put in onions  in that space and also start a strawberry bed to carry on into the future– a fresh start, which always seems to be a blessing.

The Cabana Boy and I have also considered the realities of our work life and our therapeutic investment of time for the children, and realized that more than twice the garden space requires more than twice the time to maintain. Consequently, I suggested to my father, who lives in a seniors reduced-rent apartment building downtown, that I’d like to make this a community garden. We would provide the space and plant the plants, etc., and in exchange for maintenance work such as weeding, etc., a few senior volunteers could have weekly fresh vegetables and herbs.

He took the proposal to his tenants’ board and they agreed to post a notice. So we’ll see what happens. I guess I’d better read up on how to set this up legally, and what to do with difficult people since I always think things will go more smoothly than they do. Ideally, I’d love to meet some folk who enjoy working the soil and don’t have space to do it, and we can have potluck dinners and visit. We’ll see how it goes.

Meantime, our family spent an hour together yesterday afternoon digging up the row nearest the fence, adding nutrients, and getting a forty-foot row of peas planted. Sure, it’s not St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s close. The 2009 garden of goodness is on its way.

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I’m jealous of an adventure taking place this week in sunnier climes– see my garden maven sister’s blog on her trip to the jungles of Mexico. She has contests, as well as amazing video!

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3 thoughts on “Spring on the horizon

  1. *sigh* I really miss having a garden. Stupid apartment. I’ve tried to do the container garden thing and it doesn’t work. My asshole neighbors throw their ciggarette butts into my plants. I’ve caught people dumping things on my plants, like booze. That’s what happened to my plans to make my own kraut last year. Apperently, you can’t pickle the cabbage while it’s still growing. People steal my pots, or break them. Last year when my tomatos came up, some kids in the complex picked them all and threw them at the cars in the parking lot. I told one of the brats if I ever caught him doing it again, I’d have absolutly no problem calling the police on him. He said I had no proof it was him, so I whipped out the digital camera and sure enough there was the proof. What I really wanted to do was tan his hide. Why can’t people respect other people’s property? And why won’t my apartment complex let me screen in my patio area with an electric fence?

    Good luck with your garden. I’m sure the kids will have a great time playing in the mud and all that. If we lived closer, you’d probably have to chase me out of your yard because I would always be in there playing with the plants.

  2. Thanks so much for mentioning my Mexican adventure here. We have been having a lot of fun, but more importantly, it’s been surprisingly educational. I’ve learned more than I ever dreamed.

    I love your idea for your garden and think this is what it’s all about – a community sharing. Like you, Big Sis, I’ve decided to drastically alter my garden. Instead of a nice little perennial garden, I’ve decided to rip up my traditional looking suburban front yard and put in a veggie garden. Right smack in the middle of suburbia. As you know, I have never been normal, and why should I start now?

    So many we know are literally out of a job and have no way to support themselves. They are trying to figure out how they are going to feed their family. I figure now is the time to educate and learn myself. So to hell with traditional front lawn looks – let’s do something new, something exciting, something that works…

    Planting towards the end of May – I will let you know how it all goes. May be a great opportunity for blogging. Photos of my failures and my wins.

    Meanwhile, I still have a few days in Mexico. Tomorrow we’re going to Coba, near Tulum, Mexico. It is the tallest ruins in the region and an opportunity to climb to the top. I hope I don’t get blown off the side as it affords an amazing view of the jungle at the top.

    Talk soon – take care of you – and keep in touch about your garden plans!

    Your Sis (you know, the crazy one), Shawna

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