Sunday, April 26, 2009

We'll Be Tilling Until...

Well, David has given up his idea of a putting green and, bless his heart, has been helping me till the garden plot. Thanks to his help, we're much further along with the first pass, but still not quite done. The soil is still a little wet, but if we don't till it now, I'm not sure we'll get the chance. I do worry a bit about soil compaction, but at this point, I'm more concerned about getting the plot into workable shape. I can always add soil and compost as needed.

It was another beautiful day today--80s with a strong breeze blowing the scent of the tree blooms and budding flowers around the yard. I strolled around the yard with the camera, looking for picture-worthy moments. I thought I'd show you a picture of our neighbors who, after first running away as I approached them, came back to pose for the camera. I didn't have to even break out my duck call--they just ambled up to the fence and struck a pose! They have their own special sided house with a fenced-in yard next door, and can often be spotted waddling around their yard. I feel like I should come up with names for them, but it may be that their owners have already named them. I'll have to ask next time they're out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring Surprises

When you move to a new home, you never really know what surprises you'll find. Of course, some of the surprises (air conditioner not working, rotted out window needing to be replaced, sinking shed) aren't terribly welcome, but discovering what the previous owners had planted is fun. I've enjoyed watching tulips and hostas and lamb's ears spring to life, and throughout the growing season, I'm sure we'll discover other surprises.

Surprises, for instance, like this little guy. We apparently have at least one frog-or-toad-critter living in the pseudo-river of our pond-thingie. As I was out photographing, I noticed some bubbles and, on closer inspection, realized that Mr. Frog was waiting patiently for me to notice him and take his picture.

And then I discovered that the previous owners apparently had a thing for flamingos, and found that two of the trees that climb the support columns for our patio overhang were sporting a flamingo apiece. (Admittedly they are cute, but they will be removed to a new home.)

I'll keep you posted on surprises as I encounter them.

Friday, April 24, 2009

In the Beginning Was the Garden of Eatin'

It didn't rain last night, so today was the perfect day to figure out where to put the garden. I ended up settling on the far side of the pond-thingie--not only will the garden get lots of direct sun there, but the ground will also retain moisture pretty well since the creek is nearby. Plus I found the perfect spot near the garden plot for my compost bin. The fiance was out mowing the yard, so he took a few passes with the blade on the lowest setting to get as much of the grass off the plot as possible. You can see in the picture what he is calling "the putting green," which actually will become the garden tomorrow when we start tilling. (If you break out a magnifying glass or your reading glasses and look closely, you might even catch a glimpse of David--he's wearing a red shirt and is mowing behind and to the left of the white blossoming tree.)

I raked the "putting green" grass and threw it in the compost bin, so now I've started my compost pile. I've got lots of food scraps to add to it tomorrow that I've been saving up in my kitchen compost bin (a small green bin with a carbon filter to keep it from smelling up the house).

I am getting very excited: just raking up the soft, new-cut grass and breathing in its rich, verdant aroma set me on fire to get planting those vegetables!

I've also been eyeing the pond-thingie as a place to plant herbs. It seems to want some ground cover, and can envision multiple varieties of thyme, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, and containers of mint brightening up the area. I can only imagine sitting on the patio, a cool dusk breeze playing through the trees and swaying the grasses, teasing us with a hint of mint and rosemary.

We have a lot of other landscaping chores to begin, but the garden is the most important. Tomorrow, it begins in earnest with the tilling.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Is Here (I Think . . . )

I am tired of playing hide and seek with Spring; I am ready to get my hands dirty, break up clods of slightly damp soil and breathe in the pleasant, earthy aroma. I want to pull weeds, plant seeds, and watch my food grow.

Of course, I have to decide where to plant the garden and actually till the plot before all the fun begins.

My fiance and I moved into a house last fall, and we have a 2-acre lot. The problem is in deciding where to locate the garden. Much of the yard is off-limits because it is either a retaining pond where cattails have taken over, or it is too-wet land that runs along and near the creek on the side of our property. But that still leaves a good amount of space for a garden.

It doesn't help that it has been raining a lot lately, which has kept me from breaking the tiller out. In fact, David got the tiller out this evening in anticipation of my using it tomorrow, since it is supposed to be a beautiful day. But suddenly, it looks like we may have a storm this evening, so the tiller is under porch cover, just in case.

Don't get me wrong--all gardeners appreciate the rain. After all, the recent rains have certainly brought beauty out of hiding; the jonquils are blooming and the trees are blossoming. Rain early on helps set the stage for a good farming season. It nourishes the grass and the microbes and other soil critters that are important for soil health.

But would a few days' break hurt? Just so I can get my garden started? Pleeeeaaaaaase?

How far are YOU in your gardening endeavors?