Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Spring Takes a Step Forward and a Step Backward
Clay. From the little bit of digging I've done in the garden proper, I know this is soil unlike any I've ever seen. Thick, full of worms and organic matter. Soil that is obviously alive. It did appear to clump, and is fairly waterlogged, but I attributed that to all the rain and snow we've had. Not knowing what the previous tenant worked into the soil to lighten it up, I'm going to be guessing here. I spent a few hours this morning researching, and gradually talked myself off the ledge. I am planning on planting not in long mono-crop rows, but rather in small (perhaps 10 x 8) areas. Within each area, I plan to plant a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Companion planting. Intensive gardening (planting them closer together to minimize the need for weeding). Ideally with the smaller areas, it will be more manageable for me to work compost, sand, or manure into smaller plots that will need it. For the root vegetables, the herbs, the greens. I am hoping that by breaking up the very large garden plot into a number of small, mixed variety plots I'll make it not only more manageable for me to work the garden, but reduce the amount of weeding, and hopefully confound and frustrate the pests who will surely be working against me. It will also allow me to see which varieties grow better here, which seed companies I prefer, which plant combinations work over others...
So after a few hours, I had regained some of my confidence and hope that this isn't some fool's folly. My largest obstacle right now is turning the overgrown weed garden into workable soil. With renewed hope, this afternoon, I stepped outside with the dogs and we took a stroll through the yard. Kerouac was frustrated that I didn't let him into the woods, but I've picked ticks off him the past two days, and don't want to do it again. I saw a lot of buds: a bush on the edge of the woods, all the lilac bushes, the apple trees, the pear tree... not full leaves, but the swollen ends are turning the barest of whites or greens... And out by the barn, I was glad to see the first two flowers. Both crocus. Both from bulbs I planted in the fall. And voila! Spring! Even as the first wind-blown raindrops from the first of a two-day series of storms that will bring five days of cold weather, I felt the hope of spring. The frogs were croaking. The birds were singing and chirping. The dogs were rolling in the grass that is turning a very definite shade of green. Ah, yes.