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I saw the most wondrous sight this morning as I was sipping my first cup of coffee...one of my newly planted roses, that had six fat buds on it had produced two beautiful blooms sometime during the wee hours of the morning! Two gorgeous ruffled bright pink blooms standing up tall and proud. Okay, so the plant is only a foot tall…but they stood proud nonetheless! And it was such a vivid bright pink! Wait a minute; I never planted a bright pink rose. Let me think a moment…okay I know I’m still half asleep and I’ve only had one sip of coffee but I know what I planted…and I didn’t plant no darned bright pink rose!
I’ve babied the new roses from the start. I’ve watered them daily…I’ve fed them regularly…I made them a pretty bed to grow in…and I’ve complemented them every time I went out to my garden…I’ve told them how pretty and big they were getting. I’ve told them how large and green their leaves had grown. And I’ve let them know that they are loved by me. I’ve talk very nice to them…heck, I’ve even sang to them
I’ve watched, very intently, this one rose. When it started forming buds I got so excited. That’s all I could talk about for a week! But the buds were red, so I thought it was the Chicago Peace rose…at least that’s what I was hoping for…you see…when I planted them I had taken them out of their bags and soaked them in a bucket of water for a couple of hours…so I had no idea which rose was which when I put them in the ground…I just love surprises, don’t you?
I planted a deep blood red Chicago Peace rose…a lilac-blue Blue Girl rose…a stark white Pascali rose…a deep yellow Texas Yellow rose…and a pale pastel lilac Sterling Silver rose…BUT not a vivid bright pink rose! How could this be I asked myself. Oh well, as William Shakespeare said so eloquently…What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But I know I didn’t plant no darned bright pink rose!
So now...without any further adieu...I'd like to introduce my newest bloom...drum roll please.....Christianna........
I’ve asked a number of people why they garden and their answers are wide ranging. But the common thread among them is they love the feeling of satisfaction knowing that they grew their own produce and didn’t have to bend to the whims of their local grocery stores. I can get along with that logic…but I don’t feel satisfaction so to speak…no what I feel is quite frankly…smugness! I can proudly walk past the produce aisles and hold my head up high, knowing that my veggies have flavor and theirs don’t! I can look at their hot house tomatoes…looking all red and pretty…and smirk at their lack of taste…all the while thinking to myself…who wants to pay an ever increasing amount for veggies that they can “produce” themselves? Certainly not me!
I tend to feel a bit sorry for those that prefer to have a yard service company come to their home and do for them what they should be doing themselves. I’m sure they just don’t have the time to get out there and mow the grass and trim the shrubs…but honestly…aren’t they missing out on some “back to nature” fun? I’m sure they would say…if asked…that they don’t like the feel of soil…they don’t like to dig in the dirt and plant flowers…they can’t stand the sight or scent of fertilizing their gardens…and don’t get me started on insects and snakes!
Now since I’ve come to think of myself as an avid gardener, I’ve realized along the way that there are lots of things you should and should not do. These have been learned by me through trial and error…lots of error sometimes. Well the obvious “should” is…keep yourself well informed of the newest information available…new plant varieties…new propagation techniques…new soil supplements…and so on. Then there is another obvious “should”…you should water your garden regularly. That’s a no brainer there. Without water, seeds will not sprout…plants will not grow…you will not be smiling for long. The best method being touted is drip irrigation. That’s a wonderful way to do it but some of us “old school” gardeners prefer to do it the old fashioned way…you know what I’m saying…dragging out the hose and watering the entire garden area daily. Another “should”… You should make certain the soil is at its absolute best…built up and is able to drain well so the plant’s roots don’t rot. After all, you put out good money on those babies and you want them to do well. You want them to succeed. But I started thinking about the other things you should not do in order to be successful in your gardening endeavors and I’ve come up with a listing of what I lovingly call “The Ten Commandments of Gardening”. Snappy title isn’t it?
The Ten Commandments of Gardening:
There are a couple more that I should add to the list…such as…Thou shalt not beat your dog when they run across your freshly planted garden…fore they know not what they do!
Thou shalt not spend your entire weekly paycheck in Lowe’s or Home Depot on potted plants and shrubs when you could grow your own from seeds.
Thou shalt not poo poo gardening advice from someone that doesn’t garden. That’s not nice and they just might read more than you do! Just because they don’t look like they know which end of a hoe to hold doesn’t mean they’ve never gardened…they may have been raised on a farm. So just thank them kindly and invite them in for a cup of tea and a good conversation. And after all is said and done…
Thou shalt not ignore your garden…get out and enjoy the sights and sounds that your garden will bring to you…enjoy the birds singing…enjoy the butterflies flitting around your flowers…enjoy the buzzing of the bees as they flower hop and spread their pollen…and most of all…enjoy the knowledge that you’ve garnered from it all…it’s always a work in progress and a learning experience.
A close friend recently told me that I'm a Dr. Phil intervention waiting to happen. I thought...how can this be? I'm not into gambling or drinking excessively (it's for medicinal purposes only) or into doing drugs. No, my addiction...as she pointed out...is gardening and all the things that go with it. We're easy to spot. Just look at all the people at Lowe's and Home Depot on any given Spring weekend. You can tell us from the weekend warriors there...we have the glazed eyes when walking in the doors. We appear to stroll aimlessly through the Garden Section talking to ourselves...well...actually we're talking to the plants...atleast I am! The "normal" people touch the various plants...we caress them lovingly. When asked if we have pictures of our children...we pull out 8 x 10 glossies of our front and backyard gardens...with close-ups of our new arrivals! We have an addiction and we have it bad...
I've searched the internet looking for a recovery program for those of us suffering from this addiction. Somewhere out there is a twelve step program for everyone suffering various addictions except for people like us...so I've developed one and it's called GA...Gardeners Anonymous! I've structured GA just like AA...and since I'm the founding member I also developed our own Twelve Steps to recovery...with a twist!
The success of the GA program is simple...you must want to change and realize that change is possible. My program will succeed for you if you want it to. Unlike the other programs out there used to combat addiction, there is no charge for GA...there is only help. But, you must want help in order to receive it. Heck, I'm a gardner...not a mind reader!
I've outlined the basic twelve steps for GA...and they are as follows:The 12 Steps of Gardeners Anonymous
Step 1: I admit that I am powerless over my gardening addiction.
Step 2: Only a Master Gardener has a power greater than me to restore me to sanity.
Step 3: I’ve made my decision to turn my gardening over to a Master Gardener’s guidance.
Step 4: I’ve made a fearless inventory of my gardening skills and decision-making ability.
Step 5: Admit to all the exact nature of our gardening wrongs.
Step 6: We’re ready for a Master Gardener to step in and teach us the proper way of gardening.
Step 7: Humbly ask a Master Gardener to remove our gardening shortcomings.
Step 8: Made a list of all plants and shrubs we’ve harmed and become willing to learn from our previous mistakes.
Step 9: Make amends to such plants and shrubs wherever possible.
Step 10: Continue to take personal gardening skills inventory and when we’re wrong…admit it and improve upon them.
Step 11: Seek through gardening classes and reading to improve our contact with the soil as we understand it…only then will we have the power to garden successfully.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these gardening steps, we try to carry this message to other gardening addicts, and to practice good gardening principles in all our future gardening endeavors.
I get my first "cow chip" after completing Step One...Hi...my name is Chris and I have a gardening addiction...and I'm proud of it!
Famous last words...I've made my last trip to Lowe's! As good as those words sound, I know all too well that I'll be back there...again...sometim
e next week. And why not? I've got to make sure that there aren't any new plants I haven't seen or touched or lusted after! I made a promise to myself that I'd have everything planted in the garden by Sunday...so I had to get the last of my veggies...I just had to!
I ran off to Lowe's and left my hubby and a friend of his from North Carolina working on the truck...they're doing a heart transplant...so keep your fingers crossed that it works because my hubby is jonesing for his truck...he has a new car but it's just not the same...or so he says. To me it's...car...truck...four wheels...all the same...still drinks gas!
As soon as I pulled into the parking lot at Lowe's, I knew I was in for a treat...only because I found an up-front parking spot...right in front of the Garden Center. And low and behold...there were all the veggies you could wish for...all brand new...just delivered. I knew I was in heaven...you could almost hear an angelic choir singing "hal-lay-lu-yah". I know I checked out each and every plant in the Garden Center at Lowe's...and wouldn't you know it, while I was there they were off-loading their Friday shipment of new plants from a local nursery! Oh joy...new plants...pretty plants...calling my name and asking me to take them home. I stood firm...I only looked at them, all the while explaining to them that although they were really pretty...really...really pretty...and they would look absolutely lovely in my garden...I just couldn't bring them home...not this time...maybe later...once my hubby goes back out of town to work! How sneaky is that...I'm an undercover plant purchaser!
I headed straight for the veggies and I found all the colors of the rainbow in bell peppers...yellow ones...orange ones...red ones...and the old standby...green ones. So I thought...okay...I'll get one of each...the color will look really pretty in the garden of green! I couldn't resist the poblano pepper plants...only because I know how good they're going to taste filled with ground beef, spices, and cheese! And since I already have nine tomato plants, I couldn't say no to the Roma tomato that somehow found it's way into my shopping cart...I only work with even numbers..that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
On my garden spreadsheet, I have a mass of squash and zuchinni plants...well upon really checking out the available garden space...I've found that I can put in atleast double the number I originally planned on. This means I'll have plenty for cooking up fresh...and canning...and giving away...and of course...pickling. My sister-in-law Tish, gave me a jar of squash pickles and I've fallen in love with them...so much so that I wrestled the recipe from her so I can put them up myself...just another joy in my life! Since I now have a large number of both the squash and zuchinni plants, if I plant them close enough, the shade from their leaves should keep the weeds down in that area...atleast that's what I'm hoping for. I really hate weeding...
I found a nine flat of cucumber plants...they're vining so I'll have to run a trellis through them. Not a problem, if I'm going to put in a trellis or two or three for my beans then while I'm at it, I'll run one for the cukes too. Thank goodness I'm crafty and like to build stuff! Like my watering station that I came up with. I sunk an eight foot piece of 4" PVC pipe in the middle of my garden. On top of it, I put a flange that fits nicely in the hole. On the flange, I'm going to attach my water sprinkler...and attach my garden hose to it. This way, I should be able to water the entire garden area and it'll be tall enough to reach the corn in the back. Fingers crossed that this will work out.
I put in my strawberry plants today before I headed off shopping. I planted twenty of them...unfortunately I didn't read the package first and planted them all wrong. So I had to dig them back up and plant them even with the ground. I definitely had a "duh" moment! I can't wait for them to start producing...I was given a great recipe for jam that I'm dying to make...I can almost taste it now...Mmmm!
So far it's all good with my herb/lettuce garden. A couple of weeks ago, I planted nine head-type lettuces and they are all doing really well. Along with those, I planted my loose-leaf lettuce and my mesclun. If all goes as planned, I'm going to be up to my eyeballs in lettuce. It's a good thing I love salads. They dodged a bullet with my dog Badger...she loves to run. Well she decided to take a run through the bed and all she did was leave giant footyprints in the soil...didn't touch not one plant. Her doggie angel was watching over her that time!
I love it when everything starts falling into place. After my run in with the rain dumping greenhouse roof this week...I started to wonder if life was just making fun of me...I learned the hard way that life has a mean sense of humor! Thank goodness I too have a sense of humor or I would have just thrown up my hands and said the heck with it all...but I laughed it off...well now I can laugh about it...since now it just makes it all seem wonderful again...the sun is shining...the birds are singing...the pollen is everywhere...and the garden beckons! Hey...who am I to argue with a beckoning garden? I must answer like all good little gardeners do.
I started out planting my herb/lettuce bed this morning. After working the soil a bit...adding some compost and cow manure...and picking out some rather nasty weeds that sprang up out of nowhere since our rains...I sat down and put in my basil, oregano, cilantro, and rosemary plants...placing them rather nicely so they'll all play well together without getting in each others hair! I should have loved the scent they were giving off every time I touched their leaves...but I didn't because I've had the worse sinus infection of my life since Monday...runny eyes...stuffy head, nose, and ears...sore throat and a horrible cough...this year the pollen finally got to me...it's never bothered me before but it nailed me good this time...I guess I'm paying for all the good years I missed getting it! I haven't had much of an appetite this week and I knew I should be hungry and since I realized that I started all of this without eating breakfast...okay...it's a good time to break for breakfast!
After eating some French toast, I again headed out to my garden. I planted nine iceberg head type lettuces in the other half of my herb bed. Gave them all a nice drink of water and then shot over to the greenhouse....it so needed a good cleaning and straightening up after it did its collapse. Nothing was destroyed thank goodness but nearly everything got wet. Well...me and Mr. Clean got at it and it took no time at all before the shelves were clean and the dirt was back on the ground where it belonged...the potting table got a good going over and I tidied up all my pots and tools too. Ahhh...the feeling of smugness had set in.......
While I was doing all the cleaning I found my blueberry bushes that I'd planned on planting last week but couldn't due to the rain. So I took two of my biggest planters...filled them with good potting soil and planted my bushes. I'm going to keep them just outside the greenhouse door...one on each side to kind of dress it up a bit there...plus they'll get the full sun they need. I've got to admit...it looks rather nice now............now............
if I can only get my son to mow the grass! But that's another story all together!
Tomorrow I have yet another trip to Lowe's planned...now I need mulch for my rose garden...these roses are new this year...and I've got five buds on one of the roses...I'm so excited...although I won't know which rose it is until I see the color of the bloom. Don't you just love surprises? After I do my errand, I also plan on putting in my first plantings of Silver Queen Corn and my pole and bush beans...and I'll probably have to plant whatever sneaky plant jumps into my cart at Lowe's! Then after all that fun...I've got to find places to plant a Dwarf Burning Bush...a Dragon's Blood Sedum, and four purple Lilacs...geez...the joy just never ends...that's not even all that I want to put in this year. I've got a Butterfly Garden and a Shade Garden soon to be delivered from Michigan Bulbs and numerous other seeds that I've bought on my many trips to Lowe's before Spring officially arrived!
Whew........I'm tired just thinking about it.........
That was just one of the many...many non-printable words that came flying out of my mouth this morning. I'm sure the sight I presented would have been comical to anyone looking on...it was a weekly winner of America's Funniest Home Videos...and absolutely a viewer must-see on YouTube...but...un
fortunately it was anything but...to me. Let me explain...
I awoke to pouring rain...flashes of lightening...and cracks of thunder...so I thought...okay...today isn't going to be the day to plant my garden after all. No problem...I'll just get up...drink my coffee...read the newspaper....then clean the house. Not too bad of a way to start my day...or so I thought. My dogs had other ideas of course. When they saw me it automatically became time for them to go outside to do their morning ablations...(my new word for the week!)...I told them we'd go out just as soon as I started the coffee maker...that held them pretty good and of course putting food in their bowls kept their attention off of me and on their breakfast. They ate...no...ate isn't quite the right word for what I was witnessing...they wolfed it down...while the coffee slowly dripped into the pot...and I do mean slowly dripped...it knew I needed coffee...that my body was screaming for it's first dose of caffeine...and it intended to make me suffer. I've learned that kitchen appliances have a way of torturing you at the most inappropriate times...and this was one of those times....
I finally got a cup of coffee in my hands...was bringing it up to my lips...savoring the wonderful smell of it all...and looked out my kitchen window. There to my horror was my Southern Engineered Greenhouse with it's vinyl sheeting roof holding what could only be described as a ton of rain water! Both sides of the roof was hanging inside and very low...it had pulled up the sides in order to hold all of this water! I never did get that first sip of coffee...I flew out of the house...still in my pj's and fuzzy black slippers...and into the backyard fearing the worst...and the worst was staring me in the face! I unzipped the front and tried to get inside but I couldn't because of the inside hanging roof! So I thought...okay...how do I fix this? I had as can only be described as...an AHA moment...you know what I'm talking about...that one brilliant idea pops into your mind and it should work...it will work...but somehow it goes oh so wrong...
I ran back to the carport where I'd seen a pushbroom leaning against the wall...grabbed it and headed back out to my greenhouse. My thought was to somehow get inside and slowly work the over hanging water filled roof until it drained. Darn good plan I thought...this will work...and it did...on one side. I started on the other side and was slowly working my way to the front of my greenhouse...water was draining just like it should be and I was feeling oh so smug about it all when it happened....I was standing in the wrong place at the right time when all of a sudden my broom slipped and it allowed the vinyl sheeting...with it's ton of water...to collapse...RIGHT ON TOP OF ME...that's right...I said it...right on top of me...the coldest water I've ever had the displeasure to experience!
That's when the words started flying out of my mouth! All the words you can't print...all the words that would make a lady blush...all the words that sailors use everyday...There I was...standing in a puddle of cold rain water...soaking wet...wet pj's...squishy slippers...hair stuck to my face...and I was just a cussing. If any of my neighbors had witnessed it with a camcorder I would now be rich...wet...but rich......................
My goodness, what a weekend this has been. Saturday morning I went to borrow my father-in-law's tiller to finally break ground in my garden. Whew! It is a monster 8.25 hp rear tine model...not only does it go forward and till, but it has reverse too. It does everything except wash your windows and shine your shoes! I saw numerous possibilites in store while it was at my house...in fact...I'm thinking of using it to till up around the sides of my backyard to add in some shade gardens. Ohhh the possibilites it represents for me and my yard! I think I actually started drooling when I saw it...just thinking about it all.
I was amazed that it only took me thirty minutes to till the garden...first lenghwise and then widthwise...and it's deep too...so this way my carrots will have plenty of room to grow. What am I saying...I'm growing baby carrots this year! Oh well, you never know just how much depth you may be needing...I'll be prepared for anything this way.
After I got it tilled I had to run to Lowe's to get 4 huge bags of cow manure and 4 bags of mushroom compost. Now you know that where they have that located you have to walk by all their plants. They plan it that way for people like me...you know the type...can't walk by a plant without it whispering to you "take me home...plant me...watch me grow"! I heard them all talking to me...geez...mouthy bunch of greenery. So being the weak willed gardner that I am...I said "okay...come home with me...I'll take care of you...and if you're really good...I'll eat ya"! Well just a few actually jumped onto my cart...a couple of herbs...some strawberries...iceberg lettuce...and two blueberry plants...it was the darndest thing you ever saw...they came flying off the shelf and right onto my cart! I had no choice but to bring them home...they were lonely and they needed me to take care of them.
When I got home, I realized I was beat and starting to get really sore...in places I haven't hurt in in a long long time. My shoulders were on fire...so I put up the bags of manure and compost in the greenhouse and lovingly placed my plants in there as well...introduced them to the other plants and told them all goodnight. Came inside and immediately took a nice hot shower...used water hot enough to boil shrimp! I took some Aleve and hit the couch to become a potato.
This morning after some much needed coffee, I felt like a millon bucks...no pain at all...so I hit the garden running. I spread out all the manure and compost into the garden and my lettuce/herb bed...sweated buckets...restaked the area...sweated more buckets...and sunk my watering station pipe dead center of it all...again...sweated buckets! I know I've lost atleast five pounds of winter...hmmm...I"ll be nice...accumulation.
Tomorrow I'm going to lay out my rows and place my fencing around the whole thing to keep my dogs out of it...they do love fresh dirt...and wthl all that cow crap out there the last thing I need is for them to start rolling in it and then dragging it in the house. I decided that I'm going to use a couple of old tires stacked onto each other to grow my potatoes in and also will be using some cinder blocks to plant my poblano peppers and other veggies in...that way I can just use two or so plants of each variety and have a huge choice of tasty things to try to grow.
I've got to admit...I'm having a blast...even though I lost all but three of my speckled butter bean seed that I started in my Jiffy peat pots. That was an experiment gone wrong...so wrong...I'll not make that mistake again. But I truly couldn't wait for the ground to warm up enough to plant them. I gave them a nice burial in the compost pile...it was a sad affair...but a lesson well learned just the same.
If you're a dog owner you'll understand the feeling I'm about to describe...You're sleeping peacefully...oh so peacefully...all snuggled up in the covers...you suddenly awaken to realize you're no longer alone in your bed and the hairs on the back of your neck start standing up...a sudden coldness invades your dreamlike state and you can feel eyes on you...watching you...waiting for you to make the slightest move. And then you do the absolute worst thing possible...you open your eyes and right there less than an inch from your nose is a bigger nose...a big cold wet nose...attached to two piercing eyes. As soon as my dog Badger saw my eyes open, I got the cold super wet tongue right up the side of my face...OH YUCK! Good morning...feed me...how are you...pet me...are you awake...I wanna play...NOW!!! I could have swore I shut my bedroom door last night but I could see I was horribly wrong. What else could I do but get up...after all it was almost 6 am...heck...to her the day was almost over.
I have to thank her though for waking me early this morning...I got to watch the sun rise...I got to hear the songs of the crickets give way to the songs of the birds...I got to watch two bunnies play tag in my backyard...and I finally got to see what our paper carrier looks like...ick...! Mental note to myself...don't go out to get the paper UNTIL he leaves!
I started my veggie garden today. Actually I laid out my garden...staked it out...and wrapped atleast two miles of string around the stakes until I got the size and shape I wanted. I had to find dead center so that I could put up my water station and ensure that all of my plants would get watered at the same time and none would be left out to wither and die. The area I chose hasn't seen any type of use in a couple of years so I'll have to beef up the soil a bit and instead of using a tiller as I had originally thought to do, I'm just going to do it the hard way with a shovel...after all...I really need the exercise.
This is my veggie garden in it's "pre-garden" stage. Totally untouched by human hands....
I relocated my lawn furniture and started working it. The big white tube laying in my soon to be lettuce/mesclun garden will serve as the base of my water station...don't ask me how it's going to work...I just know it will...I'm crafty that way. After a couple of hours of work...and a lot of ice water breaks...I got it staked out...and raked out. Here's what it looks like now...
It's made quite a difference...and the lettuce/mesclun garden looks pretty spiffy too...
I even found time to plant some Beefsteak Tomato seeds...
Tomorrow is another day...a trip to Lowe's for manure and other fun things...and then on to breaking ground and getting it ready to plant........I can't wait!
I should have seen the writing on the wall when my breakfast banana jumped out of my hand and landed in the dog's food bowl first thing this morning! I hadn't even had my first sip of coffee yet! So I thought...okay...I probably didn't need that extra shot of potassium anyway...I'll survive on caffeine!
After reading the paper I figured I'd start some of my seeds today...seemed like a good idea to me...but that's what led me to learn something about myself...that I'm a perfectionist and had become totally anal about my gardening. That part of me will probably...let me re-phrase that...WILL definitely come back to bite me in the backside! Let me tell you how I found all this out...
I started my hunt for speckled butter bean seeds...the ONLY bean...other than green beans...my loving husband will eat without putting up a fight! Sounded simple enough when I thought about it...boy was I wrong. Thank goodness I thought to call some local feed and seed stores and see if they have any, how they sell them, and how much they were. Well...only one out of five had them so off I went to get them.
I got to the store...told the kid behind the counter that I had called about them...and asked him for one small scoop of the seeds...the catch phrase there was "one small scoop". I wasn't watching him (first mistake)...I was browsing the store...ohhing and ahhing over the pretties I saw...he bagged them up and proceeded to tell me they were ten dollars! He couldn't be talking to me...I only asked for one small scoop so I asked him if they were solid gold for that price...he looked shocked and said that was the price and then I realized why...he gave me one of the largest scoops...snow shovel sized...I'd ever seen...a big brown grocery bag size! I started laughing and told him I wanted only one small scoop...not giant...and then watched him add a small scoop to the bag he already poured for me. My heavens...this just wasn't going to work. And then I realized that not only had he put in way way too much seed but that he'd put in regular green lima bean seed and not the speckled. I pointed that out to him and he told me that they started out green but turned speckled in the ground! I joke you not...that's what he said! Thank goodness his boss heard him tell me that and came to my rescue. He pointed out the right seed...snickering the whole time...and gave me the amount I asked for and it came up to one dollar!
I get them home and get out my handy dandy Jiffy Pellet Greenhouse. I've never used these before so this was something new to me. I poured water in the tray and watched these little devils start swelling up. They weren't as big as the instructions said so I poured in more water and more water and then some more...Geez, I figured it out...sphagnum peat moss is actually Finnish for sponge! While the peat pellets puffed...I picked through the seeds and took out only and I mean only the most perfect seeds to plant. Finally they looked perfectly puffy and ready so I sunk 36 perfectly shaped speckled butter bean seeds and 36 perfectly shaped Kentucky Wonder Pole bean seeds in the little monsters and set them in a nice warm spot with plenty of light. Let the gardening games begin!
Then...and here it comes...it happens...I sat down at my computer feeling a bit smug and a tad bit superior...opened up a spreadsheet and started my gardening diary. I mean, who does that? Most gardeners would probably take out a notebook and write down what they planted...when they planted it...and how well it grew. Not me...no sir...not the business minded individual that I am. I was going to turn out a masterpiece garden diary...totally high tech...with lots of pretty colors and totally perfect. It should have been just one sheet...to list the dates seeds started...when I transplant them into the garden...and some miscellaneous information for future use. Well it didn't end there. It turned into a monster multiple page thingy. One master page for all my seeds and plants with multiple columns for start dates, transplant dates, maturity dates, and miscellaneous info...one page for just seeds (with multiple columns)...one page for transplants (again with multiple columns)...and then another page that has an almost life-sized diagram of my 21' x 25' garden showing where each and every type of veggie I intend to plant will be put...along with a legend of what all the letters of the alphabet I used on it represent. Geez...when will the insanity end? When I finished the monster about an hour later...I realized that I'm anal about this garden...it's got to be perfectly laid out...perfectly planted...perfectly tended...perfectly weeded...and then perfectly harvested. I have way too much time on my hands and am now PERFECTLY EXHAUSTED!
I finally posted a couple of pics of my greenhouse. It started raining so I had to shoot fast and get inside. Water and electronic stuff just don't mix well! I put them in my photo album along with a photo or two of the two most wonderful helpers...my dogs! My son wouldn't let me take his photo...said he didn't want to drive all the women crazy! Ahhh teenagers...ya gotta love them!
When I woke up this morning and saw the sun shining I thought, "What a wonderful day to finish my greenhouse". Such a good idea on my part...it needed doing...it HAD to get done...and I was the only one here to do it. So I grabbed my coffee and headed outdoors. I opened the zippered door and looked inside...oh my God...what was I thinking? I had to level the ground inside the thing and all I had was a flat shovel to do it with. I can do this...not a problem! Who was I fooling...certainly not myself...I haven't wrestled a shovel in too many seasons. How bad can it be? Well...let me tell you..........
Inside the greenhouse had a huge mound of hard packed, root infested dirt over in the corner...right where I wanted to start my plant shelves. This has got to go...it should have gone before we put this thing up but noooooooo...I just had to have it put up without any thought as to how I would handle this mound. So I started shoveling...and axing roots...and shoveling...and axing roots...and shoveling. Loading my wheelbarrow many times...finally breaking one of the handles from too much weight! Oh great...now what am I going to do? I know...I'll push the dirt under the back panel of the greenhouse...that's where I was dumping the dirt anyway! Let me tell you...there was a lot of dirt there to move. I started on one side, working my way over...taking a well-deserved break every twenty minutes or so and I finally realized I'd be here till next week if I didn't come up with a better solution. I was starting to fantasize about renting a BobCat and watching a tanned hunky guy do the job for me............
Well...about that time, in steps my teenaged son. He's watching me shovel and level all this dirt...and you could tell he just wasn't amused at all. I asked him if he could come up with a better plan, he snickered at me and he said he could. Okay...prove it. He disappeared for a couple of minutes and then returned with our two dogs...the ones that love to dig moles. All he had to do was point to the ground in a couple of different spots...say "Look!"...and the dogs went to digging. He'd point when he thought they got deep enough in and in about twenty minutes the two dogs had dug away the mound I'd been breaking my back on all morning! Heck, they even slung the dirt out behind them and all that was left was to spread it out!
Part of me was really ticked off...the part of me that didn't think of doing it that way...the part of me with the aching back, shoulders, and arms...and the other part of me was sooo totally relieved. It was finally level and he even spread out the dirt...smoothing it like cake icing! He helped me move my potting table in and tomorrow he's helping me set-up my shelves. That's when I'll take some pics and post them on the site.
I realized something today...teenager's minds just don't work like adult's minds do. We over think a situation with logic...they look for the easiest way to do something...and you know what...sometimes...that's the way it should be done!
My husband, being the dear that he is, finally succumbed to my fixation of owning my own greenhouse. I'd tossed around ideas on what materials to use and how I would build it...I poured over every article I could find online...I looked at all the photos I could get my hands on...it wasn't just a fixation...it was now a full blown neurotic "I'm gonna do it"! Just as I'm adding up all the costs I would incur, my father-in-law told us he had a portable carport awning and frame he wanted to get rid of. Oh my God! What was he thinking? How could he get rid of something he could turn into a...wait a minute I thought...that's my greenhouse...and it's FREE! Could life get any better? I told my hubby that I wanted it and that it would go to good use...I could start my seedlings early and transplant them into the garden instead of starting the seeds in the spring and wait forever for them to sprout in the ground. I could get a huge jump on my planting! What a joy!
So today we picked it up and put it together...it started out as a 10' x 20' awning...but I didn't want one quite that large, so we put the ends together with one set of poles and made it a 10' x 10' instead. It's a beauty...and truly large enough for a large storage/potting table across the back and two to four shelving table units down both sides. And if I put in a shelving unit on one side that is three tall then I will have plenty of storage space for lawn equipment...we could always use the storage space! We used the original white back panel and put a heavy grade clear polyvinyl sheet across the top and down the sides...all one sheet...it's a monster! And then we did the Southern Engineering thing...we duct taped the top edges to the side edges to give it a good seal! It has a zippered door on the front for easy entry. And since it's white and clear...it gets a ton of sunlight inside!
Now I'll have one place to store and use all of my potting soils and containers. And I'm going to have a blast growing plants and herbs in there...actually...I'm just going to have a blast!!!
You know you've got it bad when you can't pass by the seeds at Lowe's without stopping to see if you've gotten all the varieties they offer for veggies! I found that out this past week. I've been doing a bit of home renovation...first the hallway needed painting because it was just plain ugly! Once I finished that room...of course that made my kitchen look a bit blah...so I bought a new light fixture for the kitchen and that made the paint look shabby...so...now I'm patching and painting the kitchen a bright green called "Green Tomato"...see where this is going?
But every time I go to Lowe's to get something for the renovation, I find myself looking at all their seeds. I can't stop myself...it's an addiction! First it was Silver Queen Corn...then came the Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans...and the lettuce seed...and the Mesclun Sweet Salad Mix...and....oh well, you get the picture...
I've already laid out on paper just how I want my garden to look...looks down right fabulous on paper...but...is it going to look this good once it's in the ground? Oh of course it will! Any time a plant starts growing...it looks great! I've got a huge backyard that will allow me a substantially large garden space. I'm going to put in about fourteen different veggies...from beans all the way down the alphabet to zucchini. And along the way, I'm going to learn how to can and preserve. That ought to be an experience my family and I will NEVER forget!
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