Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Year's Garden

So life has settled down into something very different from this time last year. At that point I had been living in Schenectady , with just a small front area to garden in, and a yard that was large, but covered in the neighbor’s dog poop.

Now Matt and I live in a small-town duplex with a big yard. When we were over to sign the lease we saw that the landlords/next-door neighbors had a garden out back, and asked whether it would be all right for us to have one, too. Not only were they okay with that, the landlord himself broke the ground and tilled it up for us!

So we set about trying to plan, but we weren’t very good with it. We only had a faint notion of what we wanted to grow, and no concept at all of how much would fit in the space we had. We knew we could put in spinach, broccoli, and peas earlier than some other things, so the first row was split between the first two, and the second row was all peas.

Unfortunately, weeds grow really fast, and there are bunnies back there too. I was able to find three broccoli plants – still growing well right now – and some of the peas, but I literally cannot find the spinach at all. I don’t think. There are some plants that I let live on the off chance that they were spinach – but I think they’re actually some kind of weed.

After this was when I picked up my perennials, like the smart little garden planner I am. So my mint and my lavender and so forth are in the middle rows, right where it will be difficult to till around. I’ll have to move them, no doubt about it. The mint was planted inside pots before being put in the ground, to attempt to contain it a bit.

Given that our part of the garden was lawn not that long ago, the weeds are outrageous. I noted, on the phone with my mother, that there were lots of morning glories, and she said that if those were tilled in, it would have chopped up the roots and it’d be sprouting up everywhere. And boy howdy, was she ever right! It’s just everywhere, and because of what she said I dig each one up by the roots – to find that most are sprouting from a chopped-up, obviously older, thicker root, sometimes a fragment as small as an inch long. I love morning glories, but they are Hell on your garden, so out they go!

Emma is less interested in the garden than she was in previous years. I suspect this has more to do with the fact that she has Matt’s daughter and the next-door neighbors’ kids to play with, while at the old place it was just her and me while her little brother napped. That might actually be for the better, since so much of this year’s gardening is a game of “find the baby plants.” It can be a delicate operation.

It’s been wonderful for us as a family unit, though, because it gets everyone outside. The kids are always willing to run around and play, but the garden gives me something to do, too – and I’m always the reluctant one. We spent hours and hours in the yard over Memorial Day weekend, and I didn’t even mind.

Although I did have a hard time scrubbing myself clean enough for work come Tuesday.

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