Edge of Pink Hill, 2008, Oil on Panel, 24x36
Despite the bugs and flies that were dive bombing into our faces,* Doug and I made pretty good progress in the garden on Sunday. Our plan, oops I mean MY plan, since Doug is just my slave now now in the vegetable garden and I am the one in charge, is to really produce enough food from our garden this summer for our family to eat. Well, mostly. I suspect my youngest daughter will eat very little from the garden, but that's another story. So I spent the winter reading this book, many, many times, as well as reading up on things on the internet. It became clear that we needed to radically change the set up of the garden as well as conquer the weeds, including the evil burdock which comes up like grass around here.
Last week Doug tilled up the soil, and on Sunday we formed three rows of 3'x6' beds. Well, technically we did not form all of them because a. that's a lot of shoveling and b. we are too old to do that much in a day. but we got them all laid out, and Doug, (he had to do most of the shoveling, because of my recent back issues) got about six of them ready for planting, in addition to three more narrow rows which will be an asparagus bed. We replanted the strawberries from last year that made it through the winter, despite the fact that I did not cover them with straw like I was supposed to, and I planted a bed of peas and a bed of carrots. I have organic seed potatoes and asparagus crowns on order and they will go in as soon as they arrive. Oh and I am picking up some broccoli tomorrow and will get that in as well.
Doug is trying to get some cold frame boxes built so that we can get some greens in (not sure if THAT will happen this spring, he is notoriously slow at that kind of stuff and plus he has some traveling coming up) and in another 3 weeks or so we can start planting tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, etc. I am going to try and do some succession planting this year, which means I need to keep track of what and where I plant everything. More paperwork, ack! But it will be good to have notes on what we do each year in the garden.
We were overwhelmed by the weeds last year, the garden is being carved out of a field after all, but this year we are going to try harder to stay ahead of them. I think that we will put a weed barrier cloth down in the walkways, with several inches of mulch on top of that, which will make a huge difference. Hopefully. Then we can keep up with the beds by hand. Hopefully.
It is spring though, and all cute and perky and sparkly green here and I am feeling pretty optimistic about all of this gardening. Get back to me in a few months after I have been bitten by every bug in the state, pulled numerous muscles, been sunburned and we'll see how optimistic I am about this freaking garden by then.
*Doug and I figured out how to deal with the bugs, besides bug spray, which does NOT work. I was outside first and after a few minutes I was being driven insane by the swarm of bugs surrounding my face. I began to daydream about a veiled hat and then realized that we actually had something close-Doug's beehive gear! So I put one of the hats on and went back to work. Doug came out and totally cracked up when he saw me. After working for about 15 minutes though amongst all the bugs, he quietly went in and put the other hat on. I suspect that we looked completely ridiculous working in the garden while wearing these hats, but they did the trick. Mostly. A few did manage to squeeze in, but no swarms anyway.