Monday, June 1, 2009

PLANTING A VICTORY GARDEN

Plant a victory garden For years I've wanted to have a veggie garden. Okay, hubby gave us some space in the middle of his flower garden, but the beans were here, the tomatoes there, the potatoes somewhere else. I wanted a dedicated garden for growing my own vegetables.

This year, my wish is coming true, but it took a lot of work to get there. First off, we had a 30 foot maple tree that was in the way. Now, I love Stump1 trees and it makes me sad when one has to be taken out, but this tree was A) too close to house B) too close to the pool (which meant that spinners, stems (it was a weird variety of maple) and leaves would get in said pool and foul up the filtration, and it shaded the pool, keeping it too cold to swim in. And most of all--it was in the very spot I wanted to put my veggie garden! So, the tree came down in 2008. Tree man agreed to come take out the stump when he had a chance. The chance came in March 2009.

Woodchips Oh boy! I was finally going to get my garden.

Not so fast. There was a pile of chips and dirt nearly four feet high to deal with. So I got out my little garden cart and started trucking them away, putting them in the far corner where I wanted to kill off some aggressive ivy. (Did the trick, too!) However, after 25 cart loads, there was still half the pile of chips and I couldn't seem to dig through the pile.

So, since we were getting the front of the house re-landscaped (another story), hubby contracted for the landscaper to clean up the chips. Easy, right?

WRONG!

Backgardenbefore It seems that tree/stump man underestimated the root system. And really, who could blame him with that nearly four-foot pile of chips he was trying to work around. So, landscaper guy called his stump guy and off he went. It took him more than an hour, and even then, he had to take out an ax to remove the roots nearest the pool's concrete deck. But, since that had taken so long, the rest of the team had gone off to work on another job. "We'll be back tomorrow." Tomorrow ended up being 3 p.m. -- not 8 a.m. And there was also the threat of rain.

Stonework Next day, the guys came back and did their work. Stone guy built a little wall so that they could put fresh dirt in the area to give us room to to plant.

The guys didn't lie, they finished the job in a little over an hour, and they did a terrific job. Everything was ready for planting. I already had my broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, tomatoes, cilantro and curly parsley. There was just one problem.

It started to rain. Hard. For more than 24 hours. The new dirt was like a sponge. So, I had to wait FOUR DAYS before I could plant my new veggie garden. Before I did that, I headed over to my parents house and cleaned up their garden before my mother and I planted beans, tomatoes, green beans, and gladioli. (Okay, they weren't part of their veggie garden.)

Veggiesplanted So finally I planted MY garden. All but the beans. (I like to soak them for 24 hours before I plant. It gives them a jump start.) Only now I'm worried about critters. I've had gardens decimated by groundhogs and bunnies and I don't want that to happen to my garden. My friend Heather Webber (who writes a gardening mystery series) puts carrots out in her garden. The bunnies eat that and leave her veggies alone. My friend Kaye George swears by Cayenne Pepper. I'm doing both, and hope that the critters leave my veggies alone.

I'll keep you posted.