Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Carol Clark
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The dog poo is so deep in the back yard you can't get to the garden without stepping in it.
You're walking down the road at a 45 degree angle.
You can't stop sneezing, have an allergy attack in church and have to leave.
Sunny one minute, propping up the fence in a horizontal snow storm the next, sunny that afternoon.
You are awakened in the morning by a bird singing at the top of it's lungs.
The grass in the yard is brown but the grass in the garden is green.
The dog is shedding ALL OVER!
You are excited about camping but there is still 4 feet of snow on the Mesa.
Cars around ditch banks are driving slow and erratically while the driver is looking for asparagus.
You have an irresistible urge to clean out closets and wear spring clothes even though the morning lows are still in the twenties.
Neighbors catch you kneeling in the garden staring at the dirt while you search for the first blade of spinach.
Apricot trees are bravely blooming.
Birds are busy building nests. I once saw a HUGE dead weed being tugged into one of our small birdhouse openings.
You smell the smokey burning fields.
Please add your own, "You Know It's Spring When".... comment.
"It's spring fever. You don't quite know what it is you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so bad."
By Patty Hoisington
Monday, March 28, 2011
To me, gardening is a daunting endeavor. I've always loved the idea of having a garden, but never really got into the gardening part. The Zen of gardening always escaped me. It never was relaxing. Perhaps I'm just lazy and would rather have the beautiful vegetables from our garden magically appear on the kitchen counter, ready to be arranged into an artful soup or colorful stir fry.
This year will be different, though. In years past, we (my husband Jason and I) always started with the best intentions, doing everything we could to make our garden grow – and every year, sometime around the end of July, gardening lost its charm. The lovely greens faded, the unpicked vegetables fell to the ground, and the prairie dogs and raccoons feasted. I must say, though, our past gardens gave us some nice produce, and we were able to enjoy our veggies, flowers and herbs for a few months, at least (this being predominately the result of Jason's hard work).
This time, we are trying something new and different with our garden. This year, we planted seed rather than buying established plants. I bought some of the supplies, and a majority of the seeds, which I helped plant. I am now watching closely for the first signs of seedlings peeking through the soil, stretching toward the sun. I believe this is giving me a closer connection to the plants, thus to gardening. The whole process has given me a desire to see the plants live and thrive and give us food. In fact, I'm looking forward to planting herbs – and taking them on as my responsibility. I've enjoyed taking care of herbs in previous gardens, likely because I know what most of them are, and what they are used for.
My short history of past garden successes and failures has inspired me to get in the dirt, which I don't mind – except for the earthworms!
By Penny Stine
Monday, March 28, 2011
The garden is more my hobby than my husband’s, but he’s a good sport and helps me every spring when I decide to expand and create an even bigger area for gardening. I think he does it because he knows it will mean less grass for mowing. Plus, he really loves fresh tomatoes and we’ve yet to find the perfect place to grow them in our yard.
As you can see by the photo, I decided to expand one of my front yard gardens and bring it all the way to the street. This photo was taken after Kent rototilled the new area for me.
Next step in creating my potager, I got a can of marking spray paint and sprayed where I wanted the pathways in the garden to be. After taking a look at last year’s garden in full bloom, I realized I may as well have planted in rows, since that’s what it looked like I’d done at the end of summer. So this year, I made sure to make oddly shaped planting beds that would give me the wild look I love.
While I was creating pathways, the neighbor kids were curious and asked me why I was spray painting my yard. I explained about the pathways and urged them not to try this at home.
Last year, some of my beds were too small. I may have made some of my beds this year too big. I figure I can always strategically place a few square-foot paving stones if I need places to step.
Friday, I had two yards of rosy quartz trail mix delivered for pathways. We were getting six yards of gravel delivered Saturday morning for a parking area out by the street, so we tried to create all the pathways Friday evening before it got too dark. Plus, we wanted to lay weed barrier down where the parking area would be so we weren’t constantly killing grass in the parking area.
The pathways were in by Friday night, and we had enough trail mix left over to throw some down on some of last year’s pathways. I was cheap last year and used road base gravel for pathways. I like the rosy quartz trail mix much better.
It only took two hours to spread the gravel by the street and while we were doing that, a neighbor was cutting down a diseased globe willow that blocked the western sun from the garden area and constantly dropped branches on our yard.
Then it was off to pick up a truckload of horse manure to add to the new garden, come home and shovel it and then take a picture of the end result.
Whaddya think? I’m pretty happy with the new space, except that if I can’t grow decent tomatoes this year, I’ll have to concede that I’m just a lousy gardener, because finally, I’ve got a really great garden area.
By Penny Stine
Friday, March 25, 2011
Don't you hate it when you're on the cutting edge of a hot new trend and you don't even know it?
It seems that while I've been piddling around, digging in the dirt for the last decade or so, trying to grow a decent tomato and keep the lettuce from bolting so I can have just one perfect BLT in the summer, I've been riding the wave of a movement. Yes, the hot new trend that I didn't know I've been part of is referred to as urban farming or urban homesteading. Our very own Richie Ashcroft has joined the movement (you don't have to pay dues or declare allegiance - sticking some seeds in the ground and hoping they grow is good enough) and tells the story of her first foray into animal husbandry here in "Haute Mamas."
For a look at some serious urban homesteaders, check out this movement, they're a family that decided to homestead in the city. They bought a run-down house in Pasadena, California and turned it into a micro-farm. They go a little farther than I care to, since their urban farm includes goats, and my life will be complete and full if I never have to milk another goat in my life, but it makes for interesting reading.
I've got no plans to get chickens or ducks on my urban farm, but I'm expanding my potager this weekend and will have photos of my efforts next week. If I can lift a camera to take them, since the upcoming weekend workout includes shoveling two yards of trail mix for garden pathways, six yards of gravel for parking area, and one truckful of manure. Whoever said gardening was a leisure activity???
By Carol Clark
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I never knew gardening could be fun. When I was a young, I grew up on a farm in Loma where my mother was not fond of gardening or chickens! She had her hands full cooking for the hired help every day. During hay or beet season she would get up early in the morning, make breakfast for the six of us, clean the dishes, start lunch for all the men working in the field, clean the dishes, throw in a couple loads of laundry, make dessert for the next day, and start cooking for dinner. A few planters of petunias was all the gardening she had time for.
My Grandma Beede worked harder than I have never seen ANYONE work. She was widowed in her 40s with a homestead and four children, one only two years old. Fortunately, she was a forward thinking woman and had a degree in home-ec. She got a job teaching at the Loma Elementary School, made sure the farm was taken care of, gardened and baked for the WHOLE community. Any holiday brought stacks of cookies and candies all over her house, on beds, on couches and on any other flat surface that wasn't the floor.
This picture is of my Grandma and Grandpa (taken sometime around 1940, before their fourth child came along) with my Aunt Margaret, Aunt Joyce and my dad.
We lived across Q Road from her and visited her daily. The garden was where I saw her work the hardest. With sweat pouring off her face she would work in the hot sun all day with a long sleeve shirt, pants and a straw hat. All I wanted to do was stay as far away from that garden as possible. I would help her bake in the kitchen, (which I am sure I was more trouble than I was worth), but don't EVEN ask me to go out to that sweat shop of a garden.
When I had children the farmer genes sprang out and I wanted a garden. My husband would always say, "No, we have way too much going on for a garden," and we did. We had baseball, softball, soccer, gymnastics, piano, etc. etc. The kids grew up and we had more time for gardening.
Now, however, I am disappointed that my children never experienced what a joy it is to grow your own food. I wish they could have eaten peas and strawberries right out of the garden, and I wish they had been able to taste a salad made with ingredients they grew themselves. They both want to live the big city life in concrete sky scrapers. Makes me feel like a failure!!
My hope is those farming genes that got me gardening are alive and well in them and someday their children can eat peas while they play in garden dirt.