Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's gonna be worth it next year.

Quick baby update:  JJ will be seven months old on Monday.  *blinks*  He's getting heavy, over seventeen pounds now, and you can see it.  On both of us.  I'm putting on muscle from toting the little monkey around all day.  We've started in on the solids, and most things so far are going over just fine.

The broccoli was a big hit. :)

So... on to wider things...

When I was a kid (like, four), my mother had this really extensive fruit and vegetable garden.  Raised beds, separate asparagus and strawberry patches, trellis setups for peas and green beans and cucumbers, sapling fruit trees along the driveway, the works.

I had this little 3" deep section at one end of one bed, where I grew giant sunflowers and zinnias and radishes.  It was fun.

Twenty-five years later, I'm finding out just how much WORK went into establishing that garden, because I'm trying to put a similarly sized one in at our current home.  Not doing raised beds, since the soil is pretty good as it is, just planting straight in the ground.

That's the plan anyway.

See, right now, the yard looks like this:

My adorable son in the foreground...

... and grass, all the way to the fence in the waaaaaay way background, except for one strip of flower-bed about three feet deep that took a solid month to rescue from hip high weeds because I had to work around half a dozen peonies and several burdock plants.  The flower-bed is finally cleared, and I've gotten started on the grass.

THAT, my friends, is putting up a fight.

I don't have a sod-kicker, and can't afford to rent one, so my only real option (because I am so not soaking close to a thousand square feet in chemicals) is to actually dig out the grass.  

With a shovel.

One.  Square.  At a time.

This is grass that was laid as sod over twenty years ago, when John's grandmother got past where she could keep up with the garden.  Over the last two decades, it's gotten itself nicely incorporated into the underlying soil, and managed to get invaded by dandelions, three different kinds of clover, and even the occasional thistle.  So when I say digging, I mean that getting a foot-square chunk loose takes about ten minutes.

I can't do long strips or mats like you see sod in at the garden center, because I have to be able to manage them by myself.  Means I'm limited to about 18" wide and 24" long, max.  

So every day, once JJ goes down for a nap, I slather on the sunscreen, pin my sun hat to my hair, and head out to sweat some more.  

I've settled on a process of cutting the squares and flopping them grass side down onto the next row.  In about a week I'll start circling back to knock off the loosed dirt and toss the (by then hopefully) dead grass into the composter.  

Then, of course, I have to get the in between rows.


Here's what it looks like now:

By the end of July I want to have the grass cleared out to where the composter is standing.  I've pretty much given up on getting anything planted this year, just going to get rid of the grass and focus on building the soil now that I have my ComposTumbler back.  Also ordered a few pounds of seed to put in a green fertilizer crop that will keep the weeds down, capture all that lovely nitrogen I'm stirring up, and loosen up the deeper layers of soil.  That way next spring I can just till the whole mess under as soon as the ground thaws, and have a nice big garden ready for planting as soon as the weather gets decent.

Big job... but it's gonna be worth it next year.

Right?  *whimper*

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