Monday, February 25, 2013

Starting the New Year off with a (delayed) bang

Well hello again!
It’s been many months since I visited you all here at the blog. Mostly, I’ve been busy with our second son, whose birth we celebrated at the end of October. :) He is healthy and beautiful and we are slowly working our way, day by day, through the hard first months of no sleep and constant feedings.


Needless to say, the list of things I “should” do, and even would like to do, seems to grow longer every day, as taking care of the boys is always my number one priority. For every one thing I cross off the list, it seems two more things get put on. And blogging is definitely not one of my more pressing concerns. But new adventures have called me back to the blog spot. We are gearing up for a new year of improvements around the house and my first attempt at a veggie garden. So here now, while the baby is finally finally asleep and I “should” be taking a nap myself, instead I have stolen away to share my plans with you.
Where to begin. My mind is reeling. Well, these are the plans we have for the garden this year:
I think for the sake of time and attention, I'll try to be brief. :)
  • First of all, raised beds are in the works for our garden. Right now they are mostly in our imaginations, but as each day goes by I get more and more anxious that they should be built by now. We went very quickly from me thinking I’d make them for free out of used pallets, to Joel thinking he’d make better ones out of cedar or redwood, to finally deciding that cinder blocks would last longer for our dollars and were quite versatile: since we won’t be mortaring them together, we can rearrange, add onto, or resell them at any time. The onlyreason why it's not already done is having to borrow a truck to pick up the cinder blocks as well as a load of compost from the city.
    • Side note: I find it hilarious that I get charged to have my green waste collected and then the city tries to sell my green waste back to me after composting. Something is wrong here, isn’t it? I know I could compost my own, but I think I will have to hold off on that for now…

  • Next: Gardening by the moon! Have you heard of this? I came across it online somewhere and thought it sounded almost superstitious more than anything. But after a little research, I realized it's been practiced for hundreds of years by renowned gardeners, so I think maybe there is some science behind it. I wonder if it has to do with the moon's gravitational pull and if it effects moisture in the soil the same way it effects tides?! I polled my friends on Facebook: half had never heard of it before and the other half swear by it. Basically the idea is that certain days of the moon's cycle are best for planting certain veggies. And other days are less favorable. There are even some calendars that go so far as to occasionally say something like "anything planted on this day will rot," which I think is kinda presumptuous. But who knows! Then I found out that not only does the good old trusted Farmer’s Almanac have a moon-planting calendar, but that it is probably the most popular one by far. I decided I should pick an Almanac anyway, since I need all the help I can get! So I got one from my local bookstore. Saved money on shipping. ;)
You can find more info on moon gardening here.
  • AWESOME FIND: Seed Swapping. Another new idea to me. A local CSA here that also has gardening classes hosted a seed swap last weekend. The idea is that no one really needs all the seeds they get in a packet in any given year, so everyone brings in their open seed packets and everyone shares with everyone else! I got loads of seeds for totally free! This swap was super casual, so they didn’t even require that you bring seeds of your own, which is cool because I didn’t have any. Haha.
Here is my loot:

So at first I thought – this is great, why don’t more places arrange this kind of thing?
And then I thought - you know what, ANYBODY could arrange a seed swap! In fact my neighbor and I are swapping after the big swap. And a friend of mine who is gardening in Santa Rosa agreed to swap with me by mail! Amazing fun! And if you wanted to go bigger than just a friend or neighbor, you can plan a place and time, put out some flyers and make it happen! So simple.
  • I couldn’t find artichoke seeds anywhere locally so when I saw an artichoke starter plant at Home Depot today, I picked it up.

  • Got a starter of strawberries too :)

  • Still want to get: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. Then we can read the book Jamberry and have a jam jamboree. :0)  
  • Here are some other seeds I got this weekend. Spent good money on these ones:
  • Then my neighbor just came over this afternoon and brought over a box FULL of organic seeds and told me I could have first pick of the year! This is her version of "seed swapping" although I have very little to offer her in return, and probably nothing she doesn't already have :} What a blessing she is!
  • Joel’s grandma recently gave us this lily. I like how lilies look. I hate how they smell and shed pollen. She said we should plant it in the yard. I’ve never heard of anybody planting a lily before, I wonder if it would work. Anyway, it’s NOT staying in the house, so I guess I might as well try!
  • I have a gorgeous flower garden in my mind for the side of the house. It’s a shady spot, so I found a bed plan for a “shady garden” that I think will work out nicely.
  • I planted some other bulbs: mostly Angelique tulips and iris and some daffys in the front of the house. But I know I planted then way too late (like in January/February) so it will be interesting to see if they even bloom this year. If not – oh well, I will call it a big head start on NEXT year! Wow, yeah, that feels a lot better. Now I’m way ahead of the game. Haha.
  • Several other experiments in the works on my first year of gardening:
    • I saved seeds from two store bought bell peppers. One is organic and one isn’t. I wonder which will grow better and/or produce more peppers. Although I must admit to being biased – no matter how they grow, I’d prefer the organic one anyway!
    • I will be purposefully planting a few seeds against the moon cycle to see if it really makes a difference.
***Awfully AMBITIOUS aren’t I? Yeah, I know. It scares me, too***

My plan is to utterly fail completely, that way any success will be a sweet surprise. One of the failures I foresee is based on the number of bugs and birds there seems to be in my yard. I’m bracing myself for all-out war with them! We shall see how the battle may rage and who will claim victory there. Until then – off I go to start me some seeds before the moon begins to wane. ;)

1 comment:

  1. i was super excited to try gardening by the moon, but decided that i didn't want to redo all of my strategies for a second time this year. i'm gonna table it and try gardening by the moon for next year. if you do it, let me know cause i am dying to hear how it goes for someone.

    you are smart to do strawberries that are already started. i am doing it by seed this year and i'm wondering how it's going to work. i might not have fruit until next year and a lot of people have questioned my sanity for working with strawberry seeds. oh well. it only cost $3 for my strawberry seeds. i've totally spent money on worse things.


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