Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Garden Never Sleeps

Gardening Journal Day 1
We are off to a glorious start and have mapped out where we want the new beds to go.  I have drawn it all out and we will have room for at least 10 or 12 new garden beds along the fence.  Each bed will be about six feet by eight feet.  This should give us plenty of room for all the vegetables we want to grow.  I have also drawn out the exact location of each plant in each garden bed.  This is going to be a great year for gardening!

Gardening Journal Day 2
Okay.  So I forgot to factor in some things like walkways and since we want to install some irrigation lines I have to figure that in as well.  It looks like there will only be room for 10 new garden beds and they will only be six feet by six feet.  But still we should have plenty of room for most of the vegetables we want to grow.  We haven't broken ground yet on the first bed, but I have marked out the first two.  It should go easily and we will be able to plant next week.  This is going to be a great year for gardening!

Gardening Journal Day 5
Just how deep do St Augustine grass roots go?  What is up with all these roots?  I swear if I push that shovel in and hit one more rock I am going to scream.  This soil is all black gumbo mud that is as hard as cement and heavy clay that clings to the shovel.   How can the clay be moist?  Its not like we have had rain in a month. We are still working on the first bed and haven't even dug up half of it yet.  Oh well, I am sure the rest will go smoothly and we will finish both beds by the end of the weekend.  Then next week we can plant!  This is going to be a great year for gardening!

Gardening Journal Day 7
Dear God I am sore in every muscle in my body.  We finally got the first bed dug out are about half way done with the second bed.  We had to remove about a ton and a half of clay.  The topsoil that is left is heavy and compacts easily.  We have had to add a lot of sand... and peat moss.... and compost... and more sand...   Now the bed is almost a foot above the rest of the soil and I am having to move bricks and rocks to buttress the sides.  If all goes well we might be able to plant something in a couple of weeks.  This is going to be a good year for gardening.

Gardening Journal Day 14
I couldn't wait any longer so I planted seeds.  I mapped out six rows in each of the two beds and I have planted onions and carrots and radishes and mustard greens and turnips and parsley.  I can't wait to get started on the next two beds.  This is going to be a great year for gardening.

Gardening Journal Day 24
Why haven't any of the seeds sprouted yet?  I am keeping it all watered, but nothing is coming up. 

Gardening Journal Day 30
I can't figure out if my legs hurt more or my arms. At least the seeds have sprouted.  All of the seeds.  What was I thinking when I planted so many seeds.  Now I need to thin out the seedlings or they won't have room to grow.  We finished another two beds.  Maybe we don't need ten beds.  We will put the tomatoes in next week.

Gardening Journal Day 37
Can't put the tomatoes in.  Temperature below freezing again.  Too cold to go into the garden.

Gardening Journal Day 44
The weather is glorious.  We planted the tomatoes and also some cucumbers.  We cut down all the freeze damaged plants and got all the old garden beds ready.  We are going to start on a couple of new beds next week as well.  I thinned the seedlings.  I can't wait for tomorrow.  I have so much energy.  This is going to be a great year for gardening.

Gardening Journal Day 70
Oh God.  I am so tired.  I just finished staking up the cucumbers.  Again.  They grow almost a foot a day.  The tomatoes are too close together and they are already nearing the tops of the trellis poles.  I forgot about harvesting the radishes and now they are the size of turnips.  I forgot to harvest the turnips too and they are about the size of footballs.  The squash plants are so big I can barely reach through them to get to the squash.  I am harvesting about five or six a day.  I missed one for a few days and it is the size of a club.  No rain so I must water every day.   But at least there are not many mosquitoes.  At least the weather is staying cool.  So very, very tired.

Gardening Journal Day 82
Still no rain.  The garden needs water twice a day now the temperatures are in the 80s and 90s.  The humidity has been so high the squash plants, cantaloupe and cucumbers have developed 'powdery mildew'.  First I sprayed them with fish emulsion.  It was like bringing a knife to a gun fight - no improvement.  Then I used a sulfur spray.  That stopped the powdery mildew but now the cantaloupe are dieing from 'sulfur injury'.  I have given up trying to trellis the tomatoes and am just trying to hold them back off of the other plants.  The cucumbers are producing six or seven a day.  Why did I plant so many?  I have to pick the beans every couple of days.  I have to pick the tomatoes before they get ripe or else the birds will eat them.  So very, very tired.  This is going to be a long year of gardening.

It is day 90 of the 2011 garden and if it seems I am giving this account like a hostage standoff that is because it is starting to feel that way.  We are continuing into our fifth month with virtually no rain.  Even with the lack of rain, mosquitoes, bless their dark evil little hearts, are thriving and I am being bitten on an average of three times per each gardening venture.  Mind you this is me dressed in the full bug-proof regalia of unattractive but functional long gardening pants, a long sleeved over-sized man's dress shirt, thick socks and hat. 

My garden needs me constantly and even though I spend upwards of an hour each day with it on work days and four or five hours a day on weekends, I am falling behind further and further in its upkeep.  The garden never sleeps.

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