Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let the Garden Games Begin!

Preparing the garden
It's getting to be my favorite "Back er Down" part of the year.  It isn't so much because it will be easy, because it will actually be a LOT of work.  It's the #1 thing the epitomizes my desire to take it easy and focus the more important things in life.  It's almost time to plant the garden.  We're going big this year!  The list includes: snap beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, watermelons and even a little sugarcane.  I'm going to document the entire season, complete with pictures, here on the blog.

The garden provides food, exercise, recreation and education.  It gives opportunities to learn lessons about life, the value of hard work and actions & consequences.  Last year's garden was good, but we're almost out of veggies.  We ran out of corn in December.  We're down to our last few quarts of tomatoes.  Two quarts of squash left.  We do have plenty of snap beans left to get us to the first picking.  Seems we planned just about right with the exception of the corn.

Nutrient-packed compost
We will plant potatoes late this week, but the bulk of everything else won't be planted until mid to late March.  Even so, the work is well under way!  We planted oats over the winter and recently plowed those under to add some matter to the soil.  After breaking the ground and letting that rest for a couple of weeks we got started in earnest this weekend.  We laid out the entire garden, trenched for potatoes and bedded the rows for watermellons.  Something new for us....we're composting and using horse and quail manure this year.  We worked the horse manure in during this first prep.  We will use the quail manure after planting.

Barrels in which I will plant something...not sure what yet.
Likely heirloom tomatoes and some kind of peppers
We expanded the size of the garden again this year.  This will be the final resize for quite some time.  In addition to the manure we are also entering uncharted waters with an electric fence to try to discourage deer.  (Pause for a little frugal bragging:  I was able to make the 4 corner posts out of a free utility pole...thanks Alan.  I got all of the t-posts and insulators for free.... thanks James.  Dad had a whole roll of wire already.  I'll be charging the fence with two deep cycle batteries....also free....thanks Gil.)  My only cost is the fence charger for which I laid out the cash.  It is rated for 100 garden is about 1/8 of an acre.  I gotta remember to turn it off when the kids come outside ;)

The weather has been nice.  It's tempting to get started early, but I know in my gut that there is another hard frost coming.  I'll wait and obey the Almanac.  After all....the Almanac has been getting it right for what 200 years?  I'm very optimistic about this year's garden.  We have some nice soil amendments, a good watering plan and hopefully a barrier that will zap the piss out of any four-legged intruders.  Looking forward to it.

Y'all take it easy,


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