Sunday, February 15, 2009

Where The Seed Meets The Dirt

I just had my first really labor-intensive weekend in the garden. Planting time has begun here, and I had a good bit of prep work still to do before I could get the first seeds in the ground. I gave the whole bed a fresh tilling, set in two rows of bricks down the center to border my main walkway and built two pea trellises with hubby's help (guess who got to dig the post holes?). Not to mention all the little things - a trip to the feed store, raking, smoothing, spot cultivating, marking rows, etc. My garden bed is about 975 square feet - curiously, the same size as my house - so it took a considerable amount of work just to get four things planted. I finally put in four rows of peas, a row of radishes, a row of green onions and two rows of spinach. It was really satisfying to finally get something in the ground after all the obsess...I mean, er, planning...but wow, do I feel like I've been drug through a knothole.

My schedule of abuse for next weekend includes putting in beets, kohlrabi, arugula and some pak choi. I also have blackberries that I need to get planted. I hope to get those in next weekend as well. Since they grow quickly and spread, I'm counting on them to help provide a bit of a wind break for my little garden seedlings. The wind whips through here at 35 mph pretty regularly, and I fear for their welfare. I'll also spread hay over my walkway to prevent having to walk through too much mud when it rains. The long, LONG term plan is to have at least three, maybe four plots of this size. I know it sounds mad, but we'd like to end up with a rotating system where every year we have one planted in vegetables, one planted in grains and/or livestock crops and one resting. If we had four plots, we could have one plot each of grains for us and food for the animals. We'll most likely dig one new plot each year until we either have as many as we want, or decide that we've been hitting the crackpipe too hard and there's no way we can possibly manage any more.

I did get to try out my seed planter from Lehman's that I got for Chrismas. It is positively sick. It works very well. It is a bit fiddly, in that you have to change the planting depth and seed plates all the time and would not be useful at all for anyone planting small quantities of things. But if you have long rows, or a lot of any particular thing, it makes it much easier. No bending, getting up, moving down the row, bending again...blech. Also, I think you might be able to do a certain amount of consolidating - like planting everything that uses the same plate, then changing it out.

We had a milestone this weekend, too. We found our first duck egg! Now I just have to watch for the females to be conspicuously absent - that's when I'll suspect that they're sitting!

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