Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In the Garden

I've been working hard out in the garden the past couple weeks. We built the first raised bed with cinder blocks thinking it'd be a cheap way to go and it came with the added benefit of being able to plant in the holes of the blocks themselves. We didn't really think about the fact that each cinder block weighs over 25 stinkin' pounds.

The bean took a picture of me gardening.

One day I moved 12 of them in from our driveway, up our walkway and into our rather large yard. And then I moved them again trying to build a little bed. And I moved them again and again and again because I just couldn't get the blocks to sit right. Half the time I wasn't wearing gloves, which was really dumb. I may have calloused mommy hands from cooking, cleaning and gardening, but those blocks rubbed the skin right off the toughest parts of my hands. I still haven't finished that little bed. I was sick the day I decided to move the cinder blocks around and just moving them each, once equates to moving about 300lbs...I only weigh 110lbs! I got a good workout that day!

There are pictures of the first bed we made in this earlier blog post. It's about 8'X4.5'. I have carrots, arugula, spinach, loads of beets, green onions, sweet onions, red onions, dill, parsley and cilantro planted in that bed. Most of that was planted about 1.5 weeks ago and I now have many beet sprouts, 2 sweet onion sprouts that I can see, many arugula and spinach sprouts. I've since been told that onions and carrots can take forever to sprout and compared to everything else, that sure seems to be the truth. None of my herbs have done squat and I literally have found 1 single green onion sprout. I'm a serious micro-manager when it comes to my garden, inspecting it a million times a day for sprout progress. I suspect that when I get the rest of my beds going and stuff is really growing, I will be less anal about everything.

Spinach sprout!

Beet sprouts! Aren't they so pretty?

Sweet onion sprouts, I have a lot more now!

We built the second bed this past weekend. It's the ugliest thing you've ever seen. We used 6 bales of straw. They are huge and waste so much space, but took a fraction of the time to put together compared to the cinder blocks. My car is still full of straw, which was only a tiny bit embarrassing when I was loading my groceries on Monday and straw was flying everywhere. In the second bed I plan on putting tomatoes, some borage, sweet peppers and I think that's all that will fit. I have strawberries, eggplants, and a ridiculous amount of other things on their way from Peaceful Valley. I hope I have room for it all! I still have the little cinder block bed to finish, which I'll probably do strawberries in or maybe more tomatoes.

Over the weekend I also picked up 4 artichoke plants from a friend. I have the perfect spot to plant those over in my neighbor's plot of land. As soon as I determine what I need to do to protect against gophers/moles I'll get those in the ground.

Last week we harvested our first snow pea. The bean LOVES snow peas. We decided to weigh all the food we grow this year and keep a record.

The pea weighed 1/8th of an ounce. I made a teensy tiny sprout salad (literally ended up being one bite) with some arugula sprouts I did on cheese cloth, some arugula and carrot thinnings from the garden and a few tiny oregano sprouts I pulled. It was one whole bite. I mistakenly put a tiny drop of hazelnut oil and a teensy sprinkle of salt on the sprouts, thinking it wouldn't cover up the taste, but with so few sprouts I should have eaten them plain. It was still good, though! I didn't weigh my sprouts but I'm generously going to say they came to 1/8th of an ounce, too. We've since picked 3 more peas, so we are up to 5/8ths of an ounce for 2011! Oh yeah, baby!

My tomato sprouts are finally getting more leaves. They now each have about 4 leaves. Doing plants from seeds is all new to me this year. It requires a lot more patience than I possess, but I'm really trying to relax and just let things grow at their own pace. In the past I've only done peas and beans from seeds and purchased plants from the nursery for everything else. I'm really happy with the success I've had so far!

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