Monday, April 23, 2012

And Now, on to Growing

It must be beer o'clock, because the hard part is done! 

Since about year one and a half of veg garden I had been thinking I wanted to add a few more plots to the project.  I began with six semi-raised beds which, at the time was a crazy effort that seemed just on the verge of being too much.  All that sod busting and digging and making nice is just so backbreaking here in the land of clay that it was painful to undertake and difficult to forget.  And I'd been dreading and procrastinating having to revisit it all, but this season turned out to be the year.  My strawberries have gone nuts and earned full run of their bed instead of just half, and I decided I'd take my own advice and plant a full bed with asparagus crowns instead of the meager few I started with, and thus more room to grow got moved to "priority" instead of "dream".
And of course I also needed time to get Boy used to the idea, because he's where the shovel meets most of the dirt most of the time.    

My hard working, never complaining, most dearest Boy did the real tough stuff--breaking up and removing the sod making spots for the new beds and screwing around with moving and remaking the fence.  We made quick work of building four more boxes from 2" x 8" lumber and of tidying up my existing six beds with a load of compost.  Hurray yet again for schleppage via our big truck.  It ain't pretty at the mall, but it sure makes the hauling and the dirty work less work. 

four new beds
On to bed making!  I finally had the bright idea to buy a digging fork, aka a "spading fork" as a hopefully easier way to get down into our hard, heavy clay soil and break it up, the better to mix in the stuff that actually grows stuff.  And to call what we sit on soil is a misnomer--it laughs at even the biggest roto-tiller I can borrow.  But because even my beginning veg gardener chops have been schooled--via a season or two of stubby carrots in my existing beds--that soil prep is the key, I knew I needed to find a way to do better.  And I can't believe I didn't think of the fork thing sooner, because it was a revelation and proved to be much more effective than trying to shovel or till.  Still, this was not an easy adventure by any means, but miles better and easier than the alternatives.  Anyway, an entire days' worth of forking and breaking up and mixing with good stuff and I've got four tidy new beds and six better-than-ever beds almost ready for plants.  One more big trucks' worth of compost to top off those new ones and we'll be set! 

Now I want to know--what are YOU excited about growing or digging up this year?

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