Friday, September 1, 2017

2017: the year of the fledgling garden

I wasn't sure what progress we would be making on our house this summer with Steve doing linework and I didn't want to have any false expectations, but I knew I wanted to get started on establishing a garden space on our property. Because Steve was working so many hours, I knew I wouldn't be able to count on him for help with some of the more intimidating (to me) parts of the project I was undertaking. Building raised beds were a little out of my comfort zone, in big part because Steve is so handy and quick at any building project that I always feel completely incompetent when I try the things he makes look simple and easy.

I knew if I started the project I was going to have to finish it, so I waffled for a few days before mentally steeling myself and just diving in. The first thing I did was go to the property and make a rough plan and layout in my head for where things would go. Then I did some google research to figure out how I would go about building the beds, and went back to the property to measure and figure until I decided on just the right spot for the three beds I was planning on building.

I decided on 4'x8' beds with plenty of space between them to run the lawn mower through, trying to plan ahead for when we would eventually have grass (now I'm thinking of just doing woodchips between the beds, but I'm still glad for the space I left as it's been just right for watering, weeding and harvesting).

Once I had a list of the materials I would need, I went to Spenard Builders Supply and sat in the parking lot for at least a full minute or two before going inside. This may seem irrational but having to order the materials at the counter was one of the most intimidating aspects of this whole project for me. I don't like having to talk to people about decisions I'm making, and I knew the guys at the counter would have they're own opinions about what I should be getting for the project, which feels like being pressured to me and I start sweating (which I'm probably already doing and avoiding eye contact and its just awkward all around. Steve always laughs and says I'm too sensitive - "You don't have to do any of the things they suggest, they're just bored and like to give their two cents on everything." Which I know of course, but still. Awkward, and I feel like they're extra pushy because I'm a woman and couldn't possibly know what I'm doing (the same feeling I get from the guys at the counter at auto shops, am I right?).

Anyway, I eventually went in and went up to the counter and yes the guy did try to give his suggestions, but I have to admit a few of them were legitimate ideas and I took him up on at least one of them and altered my own plans a bit. I got wooden stakes and 2x12s and metal stakes with fencing (moose protection) for the three fruit trees I picked up at the Wagon Wheel. Then I got to the yard to pick up the materials and anxiety started all over again. I hadn't thought ahead about how I was going to tie down the lumber and had to pull over just outside the yard and try to brainstorm some sort of solution. Which made me feel completely incompetent, again. I really, really didn't want to call Steve, but eventually I gave in and dialed his number. I was just planning on asking his advice on how to secure the lumber, but it turned out he was nearby and he and his coworker stopped by to help me out.

Building the beds, getting fill and peat moss and compost for them was a lot of work, but it went more quickly than I expected and it was so exhilarating to see everything come together. We had many moose visits leading to a dump-procured netted fence being put up, which deterred them well enough (other than one break in). It was a chilly, wet summer and as far as I've heard no bodies gardens were overflowing with growth like the last couple of years, but it was still a great learning process for me (and the kids) and I can't wait to take what I've learned this year and apply it to next years garden (more sweet peas and more fencing, of course).

May 14 - Laying out a plan for where the beds will go.
Cold hardy fruit trees! Sour Cherry and two types of apple.
First bed, done!
One of the giant stumps I had to hack at and dig out to level the ground under the third bed.
May 19 - All three beds done!
Trees fenced and beds done. 
I love where our garden is but the downside is you can't drive up to it, so I had to shovel all the soil into a
wheelbarrow from the truckbed, wheel it over to the garden and then shovel it all out into the beds. 
May 23 - All filled!
May 29 - Plants in the ground.
June 2 - Planting carrots and radishes to mark each row of carrots.
Painted a pallet and planted some strawberries in it. 
June 8 - Three tiny rhubarb plants with mulch (bottom right)
Watering the garden - the flowers Riggs are watering are his, he picked them out at Wagon Wheel and planted them himself. 
June 20 - Cranes in the garden.
June 26 - fence put up after moose stole some cabbage and broccoli 
July 9 - first radish harvest!
August 12 - morning sun in the garden
cauliflower coming in
Cabbage heads growing (the few that survived the moose munchings)
Garden salad &heart;
Fireweed from the garden harvested and turned into Fireweed Jelly

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