Thursday, 6 May 2010

Optimistic Gardening Neophyte

This post has become as scattered as my thoughts and efforts related to gardening are. Sorry, but here you are ...

Yesterday I bought my soil and sheep manure and called Jim who is going to build my first raised square foot gardening box . He is a competent and reliable carpenter (rather than a fine craftsman) whom I know and trust.  Today I  will arrange for him to use my account for all the hardware necessary.  I hope that I will be able to start  mixing soil and manure and planting on the weekend.

I am very much an amateur at all this, but I am excited by the thought of actually producing food in a manageable garden that just requires a little care and attention. Boxes, pots and planters seem more manageable than plots, even though I know that weed seeds are ingenious travelers that move about as often by air as any other way.  With the raised box there will enough depth of soil for the veggies as well as manageability.

  Jim says he will be trying to convince me to build a second box.  I am not so sure I want to bite off too much this first season.  I will be planting other things like climbing green and yellow beans and  herbs in the zany zen garden. 

Someone said that a gardener is an optimist, a person who believes there will be a future.  At almost 70, I guess I am a cautious optimist.

In other gardening news ...

I will also be asking Jim's advice about getting my composter working again.  It has stopped and I have been chopping up orange peels and such in the blender before adding them, in an attempt to get it going properly.  I was told yesterday that I should place the bin in the sun where the heat can help the action.  I have had the thing for years but have never used the compost.  Probably the richest soil on my property in under this thing.

I have laid a perimeter of broken eggshells around the hostas to discourage the slugs that have already begun to appear (often on Kenya's face ... she does find other species fascinating), and the mint I planted a couple of years ago on the hill is beginning to sprout anew, along with the indomitable oregano which thrives in a tiny patch of dappled sunshine nearby.

Last fall I transplanted  the chives and lavender to a new spot in a corner of my grey water field  because the lumber for the siding had to be piled where they grew.  Despite the fact that it is not the sunniest place, they seem happy enough too.  I want to have them in the zany zen garden, though ... and also the oregano ... not sure whether I will start new ones there or transplant these again.

Last fall, my friend, Sharon, planted nine little Mungo pines along the laneway and up by the parking lot.  All but two survived.  This year she is going to give me some low growing evergreens (the name is escaping me) for the lower garden ... and also some rocks and gravel from their gravel pit for the road. 

Rowboat Flo gave me several large pails in which to store lake water near the garden.  It will let the lake water warm up before I use it for watering.  She has also started some herbs indoors that she has offered to share.

So I may be a neophyte, and a very cautious optimist, but I am surrounded by inveterate gardeners who are knowledgeable and generous with their time, expertise, and energy.   These two gardens will produce good things.

Today I am going to buy two different types of paint so that I can turn a little garbage picking find into a useful piece of garden art.  It is one of those little glass topped tables ... with an ugly black metal frame and removable glass top.  When I am finished I hope it will look like a piece of abstract stained glass art.  And that it will hold a tea cup or wine glass with a bit of whimsical flair.

Enjoy your day whether you are gardening or not, and join me in believing in a future in which all growing things can thrive and provide happiness.


Erin Kuhns said...

Hi Oma!

It sounds so beautiful, all of the work you've been doing! I haven't done a whole lot of gardening over the past couple of years, but this year, I've been getting out there, even if just for a bit every day (except the past couple of days, as I'm battling a cold).

If you'd like, I just have a couple of things to share:

1) I didn't know about the eggshells! Do they work? If eggshells don't work for slugs, something that does--and is still organic--is diatomaceous earth. You can get it at most garden centres. It holds minute bits of sharp pieces (nothing that our hands will notice) and it basically slices creatures like slugs and they die. (Lovely picture, eh?) No chemicals, though.

2) Your compost will most definitely do much better in the sunshine. Plus, what I find helps mine is to add a bit of earth to it and to stir it frequently. If we have any kind of a dry spell, adding water will also make things rot faster.

3) I have day lilies coming out of my ears--always more than enough to share. So if you want any, let me know an when I come visit you--and I WILL come visit you soon--I can bring you some. They're the orange ones. Great filler for places...and they only multiply and NEVER DIE. (I actually DO like them....most of the time.)

I can't wait to see what you're up to! xo

Oma said...

Hi Erin,

Sorry you are in with a bug ...

The eggshells are supposed to work the same way ... the broken edges cut up the slug bodies ... ewww!

Thank you for your offer of the orange lilies. I have a couple of very healthy patches myself so I don't need your offering though I do appreciate it.

I will try your advice regarding the composter ... but I have to move it first ... it seems to be dug in for the duration right now but is spewing out greyed orange peels and such from its orifices. Isn't that a pretty image?

Barbara Carlson said...

I like your idea of a "stained-glass" top for your outdoor metal/glass table. :D

I started red runner beans in my studio window and 3 of the 6 beans came up... planted more in the big balcony planter 2 ago. When to transplant them. One of 8" high already and looking for a pole.

Hope the threat of a freezing cold weekend is not to be. In any event I will cover up my HUGE rhubarb (4) which winter over splendidly. They came up March 3rd this year. Surely we are a month ahead of last year's spring.

Barbara Carlson said...

I should have proofread the above. O Well.

Oma said...

It's okay, Barbara ... I understood ...

The stained glass table is going to cost me far more than it will ever be worth ... should have bought a single piece of stained glass ... but then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn how to paint glass ...