Friday, May 20, 2005



(the sound of my body flopping on the couch, in the basement, where the sole working computer is)

Well, what is new?

Actually, not much. At least nothing earth-shaking or of particular interest. I worked. I came home. I worked some more and then worked at the county clinic, doing paps and dispensing various forms of contraception, as well as reviewing all the STD clinic charts, making sure all found diseases were given last rites.

The last 2 days have been spent coming to grips that, yet again, the 2nd spring in a new home does not bode well for things garden. You see, the first year, I just wing it. Stuff gets planted and I am just pleased for that fact. By the time the second spring rolls around, the pressure sets in. By then, the house is as unpacked as it is ever going to get and the yard and garden should be well in hand. For Pete's sake, what have I been doing all winter long? I always forget how little time I have to put these plans in to play, however, between thaw and planting. The second year, you see, I always build the raised beds.

The last 2 times, I have used big old concrete cottage stone blocks. They are spendy and oh-so-tedious to place and level in all 3 planes, but they look reasonably good and will last forever, something important as for each move we have vowed never to move again.

So, for the month of April, we built the damn raised bed, in the shape of a large "C", hemming in the strawberry plants, which will spill out of the center of the "C", into the raspberries, providing a pretty ground cover that will choke out all grasses and weeds. Unfortunately, I once again ran out of time. We have raised walls, but not beds, as the actual ground level is, well, ground level. Not raised. Well, maybe a few inches, but that's it. It does keep the dog out, though. Which, in and of itself, makes it all worthwhile. Next year, we will have to order the dump truck full of topsoil.

So, there we have it. A hemmed in garden, that I tilled last weekend, approximately 2+1/2 times what I had last year, all ready for the plants. I spent last week or so amassing them: many tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, red and yellow peppers, pumpkins, acorn squash, and buttercup squash. I am probably forgetting some others, but it doesn't matter. Sadly, I somehow seem to have bought 10 times the plants for the extra space. As a result, the squashes, melons, and all are planted about a foot or two apart instead of the recommended 6-10 feet apart. Oops. Even with training what I can to grow vertically on a sort of trellis of stakes and twine (works great for cukes) and a 50-75 % mortality rate, I fear overcrowding of a Texas penitentiary scale.

Maybe I will be glad of the 2+1/2 foot walls of the bed. Maybe I should build guard towers and top with razor wire. Not to keep the deer out, but the desperate vines in. And everybody knows tomatoes get a bit psycho in August. I don't even bother with those silly tomato cages. I ram a 6 foot metal fence post down next to each one and bind them with nylon strips. Actually, maybe I needn't worry, given the solid covering of dandelions and thistles doing their best to pretend to be lawn. Maybe they will have a huge pitched battle come September and all will die, allowing us to start over next spring.

Normal people just plant flowers and buy their produce good and dead at the grocery. Why can't I?



Blogger The Lioness said...

Post, post, post! Oh no wait: FIRST! FIRST!

I always find it hysterical when people do this, what, do they give out presents?

Anyway... LOVE your garden and am very envious. I am hoping that by the time I live in a house, my green thumb will have developed. Or at listed stopped being a scythe thumb. Plants in my falt do not thrive. They have been known to even go so far as to die. Of course, tripod cat does her best to chew them all. So no more. But your list of veggies, oh, how glorious that must be! And delish! And healthy!


2:54 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

[Not only am I addicted to your blog, but have now realised am also addicted to your comments bcs lack thereof isn't helping my gastric paresis mood...]

6:40 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Lioness- Sorry, combination of only one computer, in the basement and hooked up to the "gane TV" and so can only get on when the 2 males are not using the TV or napping on the couch down there, and gorgeous outside. The 2 upstairs computers crashed Friday. Ugly. Charles endeavoring to fix them. I have very little luck with indoor gardening as house fairly dark inside. And that is without plant-murdering cats. I am glad you are addicted to the comments. So am I. So, what's for dinner? Your stomach needs stimulation!

3:01 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Stomach ok now, had the most delish lunch, sautéed seitan + tofu trhown together w salad. REALLY tasty.

Looked everywhere for sushi nori (seaweed), suppliers have run out of the stuff. Wanted to surprise BZ w vegetarian sushi and a picnic on my livingroom's floor (don't own a table). Bah. What to do now??
Probably salad above, but not nearly as exotic. BAH.

Where is everybody?? I need comments! Bloody Sundays, Dark Tea Time of the Soul indeed!

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least you have soil that will support life. I have put compost, manure, kitchen scraps and still not even a dandelion. Do I need to make a virgin sacrifice? And where do I get one of those? Put in a whole package of zuccinis AND a whole package of crook-neck summer squash and got ZILCH. For 15 years I have spaded the detrious back for the future, but to no avail. PH is 6.8, and my BP is around 168/167. But who cares? Store-bought tomatoes will keep forever in the kitchen window when garden ones tend to grow appendages.


5:45 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Well, it's year three for me with my garden and it's finally coming into its own. Gardening is very, very, very time-consuming--so don't feel bad about the non-raised beds. I'm sure your soil is pretty good as is.

It is *good* to have a veggie garden and worth the work. (I say this even though I don't have one.)* There is nothing like veggies from your own garden--it will be so worth it when the stuff is ripe and you can invite people over for dinner and crow about all the stuff you're serving that is from your garden!

*I will have a veggie garden one day, but it is going to have to be some sort of an edible landscape thing, as the only place that gets enough sun is our front yard. The thought of mapping such a thing out is just too daunting for me this year.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

L- Damn, that does sound good! Haven't had tofu in ages. Hope the picnic was a smash, like he would even care about the food with you there. Yup, no bloggity love on the weekends. Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, Indeed, Dirk.

Dad- That's just weird. I still think you should build the raised beds (you certainly have the rock to do it with), but that is just because misery loves company.

Rozanne- Your yard sounds like our old PDX yard. Shady (wooded, actually) back and sunnyish front. I did raised beds (what a shock!) again and put in some tomatoes and blueberries. Had little time for gardening, but at least had the tomatoes, that I can't live without. And, yes, lovely Wisconsin soil. Very healthy, if the huge numbers of earthworms are any indication.

1:19 PM  

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