Thursday, May 9, 2013

Soggy Garden

So, this is a new blog, and I have put it off for a bit, because I just don't know where to start. I suppose I have not given it a tremendous amount of thought, no really specific plans for this spot on the web, just wanting to get my ideas out there. I am just going to jump right in, as I am prone to do, on what is on my mind, and it is.

I have never had too much of a formal garden. Ever. I had a spot by the front door where I put my peppermint in cinder blocks and my tomatoes. Both have been there for over four years now, and actually did quite well. We had a spot on the lower yard that was tilled by a good friend of mine a couple years ago, about 10 x 10 foot, where we put some peppers (prolific) and zucchini (blossoms just fell off), but that area floods if there is a heavy rain, because of Horse Creek, and this year, it has flooded more times than it has total in the 5 years since I've lived here.

I've been wanting a garden, so last fall we started piling up grass clippings and leaves, over about 5 or 6 layers of newspaper. We would toss in the rabbit bedding and rabbit poop, and coffee grounds, egg shells and banana peels from the house. It ended up about 10 x 10 feet on the upper yard.
The dark area to the left of the blue tarps is the original layered area.

We made Grand Plans over the winter, and decided that was too small...and rented a tiller for about half a day, expanding that space to roughly 10 x 25 feet. We also moved the front yard's stepping stones to allow for more garden space next to the house, a triangular garden about 15 foot at it's widest, about 15 feet along the house to the front door. We expanded the tomato/peppermint patch to the other edge of the house, so that when we mowed, there was more of a curve, and less niggling little spaces to mow. All in all, since last summer, we have probably quadrupled our growing spaces.
See the expanded prior tomato/peppermint area?
See how we moved the stepping stones here?

Work in progress, and only pic of the tiller!
Did I mention the tiller: 5 HP of pure hell? New tools were purchased to make all that clean up work easier and CLODS of grass were piled in the driveway to dry out. We found that the areas where the paper, grass, leaves, scraps and rabbit poop were layered have the most beautiful, black, dark soil, with a ton of worms! So this will become our preferred method of garden prep, and that bucking tiller will be banned from my life forever, and I will never have to do THAT again!

I guess it has just been too wet, or something. I haven't really paid attention to the waterfall amounts in northeast TN here, but the fact that we are flooding almost every time it rains hard tells me that the water table is up, or something. Every sunny day dries things out about a half inch or so deep, but all around, the grass is soggy, squishes where we walk The neighborhood ducks who like to muck around have been shooed only a couple times from the garden space (a small fence is going up soon), and I don't know what is going on underground, but up top our seedlings are just sitting there.

Did you ever read that Frog and Toad book, where one of them is yelling at the garden seeds: "GROW!" Hehehe, that's me. Fearless. Persistent. IMPATIENT.

When I say "we" it's me and my partner, Herman, who does the brunt of the physical work, unfortunately for him. Without him, this garden thing would never have happened. 
Happy Birthday, Herman!

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