Friday, June 5, 2009
Approaching critical overload!
About 7 weeks ago we planted the garden in our backyard, we packed as many starts as we could into the small area we were given and hoped for the best. Without knowing much about what to put where and next to what I randomly selected plants that I thought would go well next to each other and plopped them in the dirt. I didn't quite think of water requirements for each plant so I hope I didn't put any thirsty ones next to dry lovers. I did however seriously take into consideration how tall each one would get and placed those ones next to other tall ones, so as not to block out any light. I succeeded well in this aspect except for one plant, the chocolate mint. This one was said to grow like a weed, yet it is dwarfed by the 2 sweet peas and the cherry tomato plant next door. Except for the one the rest of the plants are growing extremely tall and full. Everyday I look at the garden it looks more and more crowded and the once abundant free spaces have given way to a battle of each plant to claim its own share of the cloudy sunless sky. The tomato is particularly ruthless and is trying to crowd out the onions and broccoli at the same time! I knew things would start to get crowded, I mean I planted 20 plants in about 18 square feet of dirt, that's not including the 23 that are also in the cinder block holes. I have learned a lot for the next season of planting already. Next summer, I will stake down the cinder blocks to the ground, they are actually not as stable as I thought, a handful of them are always being pushed out by the growing vegetation. The other thought is to keep all tall plants on one side of the garden and the short ones on the other. Oh and some more good points about this garden, we are already seeing some vegetables coming up. The two brocolli both have multiple heads coming up, the strawberries are constantly giving us berries and the lettuce can be cut every week or two if need be.
This little plot of dirt surrounded by cinder blocks basking in the sun has taught me a valuable lesson regarding life and food. I shall no longer take for granted the overly simple act of grocery shopping for I have now planted my own food. I can see all the hard work it takes to bring 1 strawberry to the store and how that 1 strawberry should be cherished and not wasted uselessly. This garden was by no means easy or more cost effective than buying all our own organic veggies. We have spent a good deal of money buying supplies and dirt and even waged outright war on the invading snails who want to eat our rewards! The effort and money has been put in, now time to wait for the sweet benefits of our little plot of land. This garden has given us a starting point to further learn how to support ourselves. Now a 6 foot by 4 foot garden is not nearly enough space to grow all we need but we are learning the tools to one day grow all our own crops and have no more worries about chemicals in our foods, where our food came from or how much energy was input to grow what we are eating. All the energy we want to rely on is our backs, brains and the sun! Heres to hoping everyone has the chance to have a backyard garden and learn a thing or two about plants, food and life.
The Garden Retreat Cottage (Home)
Our home is not just where we sleep, eat and spend the down time of our day. It is a retreat from life and worries, a base camp for our explorations of Arcata and greater Humboldt County. A comfortable nook nestled in a beautiful garden to stage our lives as we see fit, free from the constraints of neighbors and lousy room mates. Free from the sound of passing vehicles and honking horns. Free from mean landlords and ugly parking lots. From our garden retreat we cannot see nor hear the road and are thus slightly removed from life outside, even if for just the moment. We are completely content in our 300 square foot castle, not cramped, not looking for anything better and not looking to move away for the time being. I love this cottage because it is the first place I have felt like was a home to me and not just simply a house in a long time. I live with a beautiful woman I call shmoo who is clean, thinks like me and likes my cooking. What more could I ask for?