Happy May Day!
Wow, I have not written anything for over two months. It will be like starting this blog all over again. Since we last wrote here, I have continued to s-l-o-w-l-y learn to play the mandolin, turned 51 and put in our southern raised vegetable garden. The garden is referred to as southern only by location, that is, that we reside is the state of Tennessee! However, we are a good solid month ahead of planting when we lived in Maine (which is over two years ago – the last time we had a garden of our own).
This year we started our planning for the garden this past fall, by building some compost bins. What I did was purchase some rough cut cedar 6×1 and one 4×1. This allowed me to build three bins, with a couple of inches of spacing between each bin, to allow for some air flow. We began with turning some of the soil near where we wanted the bins to be placed. I quickly discovered western Tennessee only has a very thin layer of top soil then we are into clay. Well, we hoped that there was enough micro-organisms in that thin layer to start the decay process. Grass clipping as some shredded leaves were added. We then started adding kitchen scraps and coffee grinds.
The amount of kitchen waste quickly added up. We never knew how much we where generating until we started stacking up in the bins. I also added any leftover whey from my winter cheese-making adventures. The monthly pile turning wasn’t pleasurable, but it’s what you do if you want some good dirt!
So here we are in the middle of April, turned up a 4×8 foot plot of ground that gets a good amount of sunshine. Added most of the black gold to the ground, mixed it in with the pitchfork and added a few bags of top soil. This filled the box up to the top and would give solid planting soil and encouragement for deep root growth. This year we decide to plant a modest little garden: just three tomato plants, three different varieties. The little cheery tomatoes, an heirloom and the Roma (maybe we make our own sauce this fall). Three types of peppers were added: sweet and spicy bell with a banana pepper for fall pickling! Lastly, we put in some summer squash and cucumbers.
Interestingly, we must have added some raw seeds to the pile at some point, as there were little squash seedlings in the pile. Two weeks out from planting and we have some random seedling spouting around the garden, and a few more in the new pile! Below is a picture of the freshly planted garden:
We also put in a few Marigolds to keep the bad bug away. Lastly, we made some hangining baskets and planted some strawberries! They will make a nice addition to the planter/containers of blueberries and raspberries! I give you a really bad photograph of the baskets: