Tuesday, April 22

Gardening Again

We've had a garden in the backyard for about eight years now. I grew up with a grandfather who turned half his huge back yard into a garden. I helped him as much as a grade-school kid could (so not much), but I picked up enough to try my hand at a garden after we bought a house. I had talked about it long enough that I came home to find my wife had rented a tiller and gouged a wide trench for me to cultivate.

That chunk of lawn was previously a mulched bed of plants, an obvious means to reduce lawn-mowing. The dirt was not asked to grow anything other than flowers, and I doctored it to receive vegetable seedlings. It was red clay. It needed chemistry to change the acidity and soil to nurture plants. We started a compost cage and mixed the product with dried cow manure and smooshed the ground into a garden. It went well for the first year. I was delighted to grow potatoes and tomatoes. Squashes will grow pretty much anywhere, so I knew we'd have those for salads. We yoinked the food, let the ground grow over in the winter, and rented the same tiller each spring to rouse the garden back from teh dead.

This year, though, I'm gonna skip the tiller. The soil has had almost ten years of compost, fertilizer, manure, and decomposing plants. It's certainly loose enough to take seeds and plants now. Instead, I put down weed-blocking fabric to burn away the weeds. After about a week, I'll divvy up the garden into sections for each vegetable and make small holes in the fabric for the plants. I'll rotate the crops when we plant. We also have more sunlight after hacking back the tree cover this winter.

For the first time, I'll make a small section for my son to care for his own plants, and he'll get to decide how we cook whatever grows.

I'll always plant roma tomatoes for salads and homemade pizzas. Everything else will be up to a family vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment