Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dedicated I

Usually I fill my life with many little projects and tasks that fill my days with a variety of different activities. Occasionally, larger projects take the stage which require longer periods of focussed dedication. A few weeks ago I dedicated several days to my driveway repair. I stayed away from the library computers, posted no blogs and forgot about the rest of the world for a few days. It was just me, the saw, the sledgehammer and concrete learning how to work together. I always enjoy these periodic breaks and I accomplish a lot!

Two weekends ago I dedicated myself to the task of gaining control over my garden… again!!! What a great time – sun, nice breeze, sun, and a little more sun!

I’ve never been in any kind of rush to weed my garden. I usually go through my gardens just twice a year so that the weeds don’t totally take over. The main reason for this is that the weeds are somewhat beneficial. The provide a layer of green close to the ground which keeps the soil moist. Toads and many other animals and insects enjoy this environment. All weeds flower – cuz that’s what all plants do – and this adds to the diversity of the garden, which attracts a greater variety of bees (for pollination), insects, and spiders.

I realize that my weeding is changing this environment, but I’m not weeding simply to get rid of these plants… I’m weeding with another reason in mind. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Sooo… after the first four and a half hours of crawling around on my hands and knees, enjoying the sunshine, one quarter of the garden had been weeded. And not just weeded. A part of this area was used for growing potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions and beats – but only the potatoes and carrots were successful. After weeding and harvesting the veggies I used a shovel to turn most of this area over and then I leveled the area using a rake. You can see the garbage pail over-filled with the weeds!!!

In June, I shared an idea that someone had told me, concerning the growing of potatoes. The idea is that when the potato plant grows to seven inches of height that the bottom six inches of the plant is covered with soil. When the plant grows another seven inches, another six inches of soil is placed around the plant and so on. Apparently, this makes the plant produce addition layers of potato spuds. When I was able to attempt this, the plant had already grown to its full height. I was not surprised to find out that I had failed. This has encouraged me to pay more attention to these plants, next year, so I’m able to add the extra layers of soil at the proper time of the plant’s growth.

However, I was still able to pull out a nice amount of these veggies – enough for a couple of meals. Later, when I was heading in for the evening, I rang my landlord’s doorbell. When he opened the door I offered him two carrots and three potatoes, “Your rent, my lord!” I said. My landlord and I both laughed and he was very happy to accept this gift!

This is a closer look at my berry patch, which is home to three red currant bushes and one gooseberry bush. I stole these off-shoots from my parent’s garden, two years ago, and I think that they are growing very well. Last year, they were little sticks poking out of the ground.

It will take several more years until they fill a three foot square space… each plant, that is! That’s a big bush! Until that time, I’ve filled the spaces in between the bushes with some hostas. Next summer, the hostas will triple their present size, offering a low ground cover, which will keep the soil moist and provide housing for several toads. In another three years these hostas should be transplanted elsewhere, as the bushes will be getting very large.

Joanne brought a nice lunch out to the garden and we enjoyed it under the shade of our pear tree. But soon after… it was back to work.

Next on the list – since I wanted a change from the weeding – was cutting wood. This pile was created in the early spring, while I was cutting down misplaced trees and pruning others. These lengths are all very long, so I spent the next two hours cutting them into lengths that would make a better burning fire, come this fall.

I started with the largest of the branches first and as time went on, and my strength weakened, the branches got smaller and smaller.

I’m using the first opened area of the garden to stack the branches into two piles. One pile is for the kindling and the other is for the larger branches. In another week or two these piles will be quite large. I would estimate that there will be enough wood for about four evening fires, this coming fall.

Well, by seven o’clock I was feeling a little bushed. I grabbed a chair and a beer and sat in my garden for the next hour. Simply relaxing and thinking happy thoughts about all I had accomplished and learned on such a beautiful day! Most of my thoughts were planning my activities for the next day…there was still a lot of work to do!!!


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