Monday, May 23, 2016

Garden Post 2016

I guess it's time to admit that I'm back into gardening. On a small scale. After The World's Most Expensive Garden in 2014 I scaled it way back in 2015, partly because of moving back into the city and partly because I was likely in some kind of gardening funk. I did carrots and beets and half-heartedly threw in a few plants but mostly my heart just wasn't in it.

It's about the same this year. After seeing the sun that our yard gets, plus the clay soil and general lack of drainage, I've got a better idea of what goes where. But there's not a lot of compulsion. I've found that I'm a pretty sucky gardener so if the U.S. economy blew up and my family needed to depend on me to feed them we'd starve in fairly short order. And I can accept that. But when the sun finally starts to shine one tends to forget the failed experiments of the past and you try some new experiments that will surely end in an entirely new kind of failure.

Experiment #1:
Yes, those are melon seeds sprouting in the back window of my car. Instant greenhouse! And since I drive a 1995 Ford Taurus that I also use to haul bags of play sand and compost, well, the little bit of dirt that might get spilled if I take a turn too fast is only going to blend in. Should they survive these seeds will be added to my collection of Experiments #2, started mainly due to the bad drainage and poor soil, although I'm hoping that the bag will lower watering expectations, increase plant warmth and reduce weeds.

Experiment #2:
Yes, I've now gone full hillbilly and am planting things directly into bags of compost. I poke holes in the bottom and cut out a big square on top and hope for the best. So far I've got some sunflower seeds going and three of my kids each got their own bag o' compost (yep, we're livin' large) and choice of dollar-store flower seed packet.

My dad had some extra tomato plants so these went into the raised bed. In addition to the holes poked in the bottom I also cut out a six-inch square and planted 'em deep, topping the whole thang with super-strength cages.

There are also some onions that are growing from last year. For now I'm leaving them alone to see what will happen, although I expect they'll soon get yanked for a plot of green beans.

The kids also planted some nice flowers. They were asking to have their own vegetable garden and although my oath as a homeschool dad practically binds me to follow through with such a project, I just don't have the yard space.
In fact, this is all I have for a garden and the sides have standing water after it rains. Note the forty-year-old railroad timbers that disintegrate if you look too hard at 'em. I'll have to replace them in a year or two and I'm kind of regretting giving my dad the other two metal raised beds that I made, which means that I'll be needing to be making another set for myself. Such is life.

The raspberry plants were moved from the country last spring and it didn't take long until I realized that I had placed them in a very soggy location so I moved them again. I don't know if this is their final destination, hence the many weeds.

And finally the Ye Olde Carrot & Beet patch, covered in chicken wire to prevent squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks from disturbing them before they grow. This spring I was loosening the soil to get it ready, digging deep, and pulled up a handful of dead leaves. I picked up said dead leaves and yelled out "UGHWUWWUGH!" as I realized there was something moving and wriggling in the leaves, throwing them into the yard. A closer look revealed four baby moles. IN MY CARROT PATCH! They are gone now and I've taken steps to encourage their mother to relocate and haven't seen any sign of her presence in about a month. The whole thing scarred me for life.

Cost so far: About 25 bucks.