The stars aligned for me this afternoon as Rosie scored playtime with a nearby neighbor and all Theo could think about was building lego star ships. So the shovel, the seeds and I headed out to the garden.
In the past month or so Bill and I ripped out 6-8 of the huge and invasive (and ugly to my mind) bushes in the yard. This cleared up more space for plants we want and path for sunlight, yet most importantly it seems to have cleared visual space for me to think about the garden.
One of my favorite features of our garden is the teepee Theo and I made last year. We raided the "lost woods" behind our house for large sticks and tied 6 of them together with string. It looks great. The peas reach about a foot up it now. We've also seeded morning glory, zucchini and beans at the base of it to see what happens.
Our gardening boxes are easy to maintain - the soil is rich and not at all packed. Getting them ready requires a little turning of the dirt, a handful of compost and viola! The planting boxes now boast 6 tomato plants, 6 marigold plants, tiny sprouts of scallions, basil, more marigolds, carrots, radishes, chard, lettuce and spinach.
Today I took on the task of the garden beds. Turning up hard packed dirt with a shovel is a lot like work, and these beds were mulched several years ago with hazelnut shells. Man, are those shells hard to push through. I got nice and shiny with the effort, but eventually turned up the 4x10 bed. Rosie and I added compost, mixed it all up a bit and then planted beets, leeks, cauliflower and broccoli.
Another of the beds came pre-planted with loads of strawberries, which have really spread this year. Many little green pre-berries were spotted today as I weeded the patch. Last week I mulched the blueberries and strung some of the taller raspberries. By August, I figure we'll be eating berries hand over fist.
Our new frontier this year is the space against the fence. It is south face with lots of hot sun, so we planted pumpkins and sunflower seeds. 9 pumpkin sprouts peek through the dirt, however the squirrels got to the sunflowers and only 2 of the 10 we planted came up. I've bought more red pepper flakes to ward off the little critters, so we'll likely plant again in the next few days.
Since I really know very little about gardening - just what I've read in 1 or 2 books and what I copy from my amazing gardening neighbor - I'm always a little unsure of what our results will actually be. For the next month or so, I anticipate peaceful watering, plenty of weed pulling, a little more squirrel chasing. Wish me luck!