Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hard Work and Sunshine

  If you live somewhere in the far frozen regions of the world, stop reading right now. This will only tick you off…..
  Today I planted my garden and it is late. It has rained too much to get it in before now. My garden is three 8x4 ft and one 8x8 ft raised beds. The entire thing is enclosed in 5 ft fencing to keep the deer and rabbits out. A large plastic owl with a swivel head hangs over the center to keep the birds out. You see, when you live this close to nature you have to fight for those veggies. Our 'soil'(if you can call it that) is all clay, hence the raised beds. This is the first time in three years I have planted the garden. Droughts the past two years made it impossible to grow anything besides cacti. Here is what I had to do to reclaim my garden.

Step 1) The entire thing is overgrown with weeds and dry brush, so I had the brilliant idea to burn off the dead stuff. I watered all around the outside of the fence really well to be sure it didn't spread. Then a couple of squirts of lighter fluid and I threw in a match. Oh holy flames of hellish inferno! The whole thing went up like a roman candle, sending flames 15 feet into the air. The kids ran screaming and the neighbors came running out to see if we were okay. Luckily it burned out as fast as it started. Whew! I was not looking forward to trying to explain this to the fire department.

Step 2) Natural fertilizer in the form of horse manure. Did you know that horse poop does not smell very much? It smells a lot less than the stinky composted mulch the lawn care companies use. That stuff stinks like a hog confinement, and believe me I grew up in Iowa and smelled plenty of those! I took our mule (kawasaki not 4-legged) and brought up several loads from the barn. I had enough to fertilize the 8x8 bed and one 4x8 bed. There will be more coming, that I know. (Never ending supply) I placed a layer of manure in each bed.

Step 3) Add bags of garden soil and top soil and then turn it all by hand. I can't use a tiller since they are raised beds, so I had to do the work myself. Ooooh, my back hurts! I got it all turned and mixed well. Nice and loose and ready for my plants.

Step 4) Arrange plants and seeds and get them in the soil. Add slow-release fertilizer on top so that it dissolves a little each time I water. Place cages around the tomato plants. Keep plant info stakes beside each plant.

Step 5) Water well. Deep and slow, soaking all the ground underneath. The trick to getting plants to send their roots deep is to water deep but less often. That is important in such hot climates.

Step 6) Stand back and look at my beautiful plants, then realize I am only halfway done. Rub my sore back and head in for a shower. Notice I am also sunburned.

  In addition to the gardening, I also gave Rio, my horse, a bath and scrubbed a lot of the loose hair off of him. He gets really shaggy over the winter, even though it never gets that cold here. He is a Morgan, much like the Mustang, and they are rough and tough outdoor animals. This time of year he looks like a shaggy, patchy mess. As I scrubbed him, handfuls of hair came out. He has to feel so much better. Then, since I was already wet and soapy, I washed my van.

  Of course, this means I did NO laundry, no housework, no indoor chores today. My bad. I would much rather be outside than inside. I was a dirty, sweaty, sunburned, hairy mess at the end of it all, but I am a happy camper.

Aww, life is good.

1 comment:

Leah Maya Benjamin said...

Hmmmm well we have gotten the horse manure on ours since it was finally not frozen to the ground. We can't plant until after memorial day and then you might have to cover stuff. Enjoy your warm weather we are ever so slowly warming up here int he north.