Monday, May 08, 2006

The Price We Pay

Looking at the extended forecast, I determined that the last of the frosty nights should be this past Saturday, at least as much as such things can be foreseen. Coupled with the knowledge that over the past 100 or so years, the average last day of frost is the 8th of May, I fixed upon Sunday (yesterday!) as The Day to get the garden in.

Wednesday found me toting home in the back of el minivan: 15 bags of compost-manure (pronounced ma-NRRRRR) and 15 bags of pine bark mulch. I have yet to get the poor van vacuumed out. It smells vaguely. Of steer. And bark.

Thursday, I spread all 600 lbs of compost-manure (it sounds more impressive that way) all over the previously spaded and de-weeded soil in the raised bed from hell.

Friday, I champed at the bit.

Saturday, I braved the plant store with Sara, causing much near-havoc as I careened with the large green wagon (not one of those sissy little red ones that they also had as an option) around the rows of plant-babies, tossing mostly veggie plants and herbs in, while Sara tallied the number of little pots and urged me to add more, so she could keep counting. Good kid, that.

Sunday dawned sunny and I proclaimed that all systems were 'go'. I got Charles to act in his official role of 'starter of small gas engines' (I have never been able to get that damned tiller going. It hates me, I swear.) And I tilled while he went for a run and the kids stared slack-jawed at Sunday morning cartoons. In a frenzy, I beat the soil into a frothy creamy consistency, to a depth of 8 inches. Or so. I lost 2 fillings and took about 3.5 years off the life of each and every joint in my upper body, but tilled the land was. As Charles was not yet back at the end of all this, I started cramming plants in as fast as possible and got the tomatoes and peppers all in by the time he came home and we all rushed off to achieve the completion of our errands. (Yes, these are usually done Saturday, but the stars, Colin's soccer and Colin's friend's birthday party, along with the sacred time that is Sara's nap, conspired against this.)

Back home, in a flurry of working out, making dinner, and making the dog feel guilty, I got the rest of what I had gathered on Saturday into the ground (cukes, zukes, and a few variety of winter squash). It was then I found the seeds I had planned to start a month ago. Heh. I may throw some in the ground and see what happens (bush beans and yellow fleshed watermelon) but will have to get at least some melons from plantings from another garden store. I don't trust the seeds will have enough time to achieve maturity if started now. I've always found it funny how garden stores out here seem to split up things: One will have 52 varieties of tomatoes but nothing in the melon family. Another has 47 varieties of melon, but no zucchini. Bah. (And please don't tell me how fucking easy zucchini are to grow from seed, like that snotty guy at that one place. Maybe for you, buddy, but me and seeds, not much luck. Don't know why. That's one of the things I need to look into in all my spare time.

After dinner, I dashed back out and put into action the Master Plan to prevent the taking over of the garden by the evil weedy intruders (as opposed to the evil bug intruders). Thanks to an idea from Karen, I put down sheets of newspaper along the 'aisles' of the garden and then covered them with mulch. Sort of a biodegradable weed block. It can just be tilled in with everything at the end of the season. Here's hoping.

So today, Monday: Every big and little muscle aaaachesss. Yes. The tiny muscles in my hands hurt. The miniscule muscles in my fingers whine. For some unfathomable reason, the weeny muscles in my toes (yes! my toes!) are grousing. All but the intrinsic muscles of my face are joined together in one huge gripe fest. Ingrates.

So, that was my weekend. And believe me when I say I actually feel good.



Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Ah, but the anticipation of the tastes to come!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zuccines are the "state veggie" in Oregon. To have less than a trunk-full, is less than possible. At the "free food" box at church is a sign saying "No Zuccines, please!!" 10 years ago, we planted 2 packages of them and reaped exactly ZERO. I am so embarrassed. It is like not being able to grow dandilions in one's front lawn.

The Ole RF-er

12:03 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Joe- Yes, indeedy-do.

Dad- Must be genetic. Clearly, I am capable of growing dandelions, though...

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

I hate it when people are all, "Oh it's so EASY." Well, maybe for your farm-bred intelligence it IS easy. But for us city folk, it's a lot easier to grow from seedlings...

Great job on the veggies. I hope you only planted on zucchini plant, otherwise you're going to be giving them to anyone who can take them. Like mint, zucchini seems to grow a lot more than you initially planted. I foresee a lot of zucchini bread in your immediate future.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Oh. I am envious, I am. I haven't had a moment to think about my garden. It will be plants, rather than seeds, for us this year, if we get anything going at all.

We did succeed in mowing the backyard this weekend, though. (The grass was nearly knee-high.

And word verification is spitting atme: "looybmg" That sounds suspicious like the sound effect one would use to describe coughing up a lung cookie...

3:24 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Just think what the van will smell like in 3 days!

Yeah and you were digging in your toes with the tiller, making sure you had good happens.

3:43 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Diana, you amaze me! You must wear a tiara and be a self-proclaimed gardening queen.

I love zuccini- and its a vegetable, and not chocolate! It makes me feel good about myself.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Ariella- If you can believe it, last year, I planted 4 and didn't have enough. I harvest them in the 'fingerling stage', but enough escape to become zucchini bread, which I freeze by the many loaves, for the winter. I may have over planted this year, though. It all depends on the voracity of the squash beetles.

Teri- With the crazy mess that is your life, I'm shocked that your yard got mowed. (To me, looybmg is reminiscent of 'looney bin'.) Seedlings are worth the minimal extra cost, to me.

Barry- Yeah. And we're supposed to get a week of rain. Not looking so good for driving with the windows down, eh?

Stace- Really?!? You? A vegetable? I will only believe it when I see it. And, no. No where near a 'queen'. But you are sweet to say so. I've always wanted to wear a tiara.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

It would have taken me weeks--no months to get done all you got done. Just carting home all that manure and mulch would have tuckered me completely. Seriously. I am so jealous of your energy and efficiency.

I'm feeling like I'm really behind with things. All I ever plant is three tomato plants (scheduled to take place next Saturday), but that will take me all afternoon. Guaranteed.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Heya! I'm glad you like the idea, but leave the newspapers and mulch where they are over the winter, even adding more where you pull out the annual type veggies.

That way, there will be very few weeds to fight in the spring.

We're not doing straight up rows this year, so I can't advise on the right time to rota-til with this theory. We have a huge 100 year old maple nearby...rota-tilling would only speed it's death.

We've switched to mixing the veggies and flowers in groups or bunches. Each hole for plants is prepared manually. So for example, we brushed back the mulch, cut through the remains of the newspaper and opened a square of dirt for the peas, mixing the dirt in that square with peat moss and manure and then planted.

Tomatoes and green peppers still have yet to go in. Our last frost date is still two weeks away.


10:24 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

I want a garden, I WANT A GAAAARDEEEEN!!!


I'd kill it all though, i have several black as death thumbs, what to do, what to do? I'll kill my beutiful garden! I dodn't even know what you're talking abt so how can there be jope?

*sobs more*

Maybe I'll invest in dandelions and pretend that was the original plan. Yes, sounds like it could work!

7:44 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Rozanne- TCHA! Hardly. You, m'dear can work me into the ground. Plus, being out in the country, there are no things like gelato stands to occupy my time.

Karen- Again with the brilliant. Just leave it over winter. Will do. Just cut holes. Will do. I am your desciple. I'm very excited.

Johnny- (I'd make a flip comment but your new picture makes me reconsider. Bah. I'll risk.) So, dahling, just plant 10 for every one you want and, assuming a 90% casualty rate, you're in business! I think you should garden. It'd be hilarious reading. Especially when you are faced with a 'critter vs garden' scenario. Dandelion greens are all the rage, don't-cha know?

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Gerah said...

Sounds wonderful.

I'd love to garden. All I know how to do is weed and edge.

Nothing edible. Boo hoo.

2:33 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

You make me want to have a garden. I'm hoping that my mom will plant a nice one this year and I can sneak some fresh tomatoes and peppers and green beans.

2:46 PM  
Blogger listmaker said...

I'm in garden envy. No time to garden; back to painting.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Gerah- Now, I thought you had this amazing garden. Didn't Linda go on about it? Lots of hostas and other shade plants?

Beth- Mmmm. If you can't have your own, having access to your mom's is a close second.

Listie- It must just be killing you! Here's hoping the house sells quickly.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

"TCHA! Hardly. You, m'dear can work me into the ground."

What evidence are you basing that assertion on?

You've not seen me roaming aimlessly in my garden doing NOTHING when there is so much to be done.

11:38 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I'm so mad! Blogger conked out on me and lost my comment to you.

I can't remember what I wrote except something about wanting zucchini bread. And liver. Why liver? Oh, Johnny. That's why. And something about maybe putting the liver on the zucchini bread. Or not. Anyway, I love your garden posts. Just so you know.

11:01 PM  
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