Garden by Design – And it Begins

It’s finally that time, and I’m so excited!  No more snow, and I’m almost certain that frosty nights are almost a memory.  Time to start some seeds!!!  I have to say however, I need to get a better setup.  This sitting and bending forward – yeah, not doing it for me (or my poor back!).

Man, I just LOVE this time of year, digging in the dirt, new growth everywhere you look, it’s so energizing!  Like Mother Earth is waking up and she’s finally done with the morning grumpies.

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I love playing in the dirt…don’t you?  I love opening a new bag of soil and running it through my fingers.  It’s like the grownup version of mud pies.

I’ve got lots of work to do still, and a lot more seeds to plant, but at least I got a start on it tonight.  I even hit two of my ‘Garden by Design’ picks!

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I’ve got lots of basil because I plan on making some pesto (mmm!)…some spinach and chives, and thyme (another GBD pick!), five cucumber plants – I might just try my hand at pickles – and some corn.   Seriously people, I cannot live without corn.  If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be corn.

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I’ve also got some green bean bushes, and lettuce.  A lot of the seeds I’m planting now, I will plant more of in a couple of weeks.  I’m going to try some succession planting so that everything isn’t all ready at the same time and then finished.  I’m also going to try some companion planting.  I’m thinking peas to go up the corn stalks…what do you think?

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These little ones started off as little shoots sprouting off of a rutabaga I have sitting on my counter.  I picked them off, dropped them in a glass of water, and about a week and a half later, I had some roots!  …and I just picked three more little buggers off of it, so we’ll see if they do the same!

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All in all, I think it was a pretty productive evening.  I still have to get my little tomato seeds planted (and hope they grow!), but I’m also going to get other tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, plant the pepper seeds I saved, and lots and lots of flowers.

I wanted to do so much, but after thinking about it extensively, I feel that if I over-do it, I’m going to get overwhelmed and fail.  I want to do quite a bit still, but I think I need to cap it so I don’t sabotage myself with my first real garden.

Now I’ve got to finish some tasks I’ve already started so that I can get these in the ground when they’re ready!  1) Finish clearing out the flat area of the yard, 2) Get our burning permit so we can get rid of all of this wood (and save the ash for other homesteading projects), and 3) get the materials I need to build my raised beds and just Git R’ Done!

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Task 4… fill up this hole Tucker found so we don’t break a leg while mowing the lawn!  …I have to admit, it does look kind of cozy though!

Spring Fever

It looks like Mother Nature might finally be done sulking – today has been the most glorious day!  Warm, sunny, and just completely perfect.

The last few weeks have been a bit wonky.  Warm weather one day, a snow storm the next.  It has a way of making people miserable.  Add to that, that every single one of my little baby apple trees died and well, I haven’t exactly been a happy camper when it came to homesteading activities.

But with today being such a beautiful day, I figured I’d trade in my cabin fever for Spring fever!

I stepped outside, and almost walked right back in.  Yard clean up after years of owners completely neglecting it, is a daunting task.  But I rolled up my sleeves (and didn’t think to wear gloves or long pants – not my best moment).

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I’m pretty sure some of these dead tree limbs – lets face it, they’re too big to merely be “branches” – must have been here for years!  They’re so dry the pieces just snap right off.  Piles of branches, and what seemed like miles of this invasive vine growing everywhere and attaching itself to everything.

Once the bulk of it has been cleared out, I think the lawnmower will be the best line of defense against it.  It seems to just take root wherever it touches the ground – I’m really not sure what it is, but it’s completely taken over this part of the yard.

Three and a half hours later, I’ve made some progress.  Not close to being done just yet, but the pile of wood I dragged out of there is heartening!

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Tomorrow, we’re going to go pick up a burn permit.  Neighbors tell us they’re only $23 per year – a very small price to pay to get rid of all of this, and enjoy months of backyard fires, while avoiding the $250 fines for burning without a permit.

It’s always a good idea to inform yourself when you move to a new area.  You want to make sure you know the laws and follow them – it’s not worth the aggravation to be a rebel. 😉

I have to say, I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished today.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to move tomorrow because every part of me aches, but seeing an end in sight puts a smile on this girl’s face.

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Now I face a conundrum.  This is the flattest spot in our yard.  It’s also home to some pretty big trees.  Trees = shade.  I want to put my raised garden beds here, but I also want to be able to grow a wide variety of vegetables.

The Summer sun will hit that spot when it’s high in the sky, so I can confidently guess at about six hours of good sun, and then partial / spotted shade.  The neighbors also advised us today that the very heavy population of rabbits ate their entire lettuce and kale crop last year, so I think some sort of fencing will be in order.

Another neighbor (his dilapidated garage shown in the picture) told us that wild raspberry is rampant back here as well, so it looks like I’ll be able to make a few jars of homemade raspberry preserves this year!  Bonus!!

Aching body, sore feet, and splintered hands aside, I’m so excited to finally be able to get started making this backyard jungle turn into an oasis.  And I can’t wait to take you all along for the ride!