Week 2 of my interim vacation and I have spent little time in my own garden. I've got to get on the ball with Master Gardeners visiting next week and I may possibly advertise another open garden date for next weekend. The hydrangeas are really beautiful this year. Anyway, I digress.
I told you earlier that I spent some time cleaning up the landscaping around Michael's salon. I've also been engrossed in another project at my mother's house in Franklin County - a raised bed vegetable garden. In our garden, we have one tiny spot for vegetables (tomatoes and peppers) and good grief, that is under a dogwood tree. However, the few peppers and tomatoes do well there. My mother has tons of sun and plenty of room. She also has horrible clay soil and after it rains, it sounds like you are walking across a water mattress. Planting vegetables in the ground would be suicide so I knew that raised beds would be the only way to go.
I've been putting off this project for years because I'm usually way too busy in our garden and I'm only down there once or twice a week (she is a 25 minute drive from Florence). My interest kept percolating though and I started doing some research about growing vegetables. I didn't get the garden started last year so I was bound and determined to do it this year.
So here I go with this project and I'm sure it will probably be hit and miss but I look at it as a learning experience. My sister, who lives next door to my mother, has promised to keep the plants watered. I was there today (still working on more raised beds) and glanced up to see a raccoon in broad daylight. I'm guessing critters will be another problem!
I have broad plans for this little garden. I plan to enclose it with a fence and get rid of the grass and replace it with gravel. If and when Michael and I build a house our there, it will be back in those woods that you see in the distance. I envision a pathway leading up to the vegetable garden where I can tend to it daily and supply the neighborhood with fresh vegetables. I also start thinking about things like raising chickens and this is when Michael starts giving me dirty looks.
Some herbs and onions-
A few months ago, someone on a blog directed me a blog called Our Engineered Garden. I couldn't believe it when I read that the blog belonged to a guy named Jeff and he lived in Russellville, Alabama. This is my hometown! I grew up outside of Russellville, out in the country, but our mailing address is still Russellville. The wonders of the Internet! What did we do before it came along?
Jeff is a goldmine for information on gardening in raised beds, restricted beds, gardening on trellises, self-watering containers, you name it. I attended a program that he did tonight for the Extension Agency and learned more things, like the flimsy trellis I built for the cucumbers will have to go! It is all quite intimidating and I wonder what I'm getting myself into?
A sign of success already - tomatoes!
Along with the tomatoes, peppers and herbs, I've also planted squash, canteloupe and watermelon. I plan to stop there for the time being although my sister told me today that she would love some zucchini so I will add a bed for that but I think that is enough for a beginner!
Somewhere up there my father is bewildered and asking - where was my enthusiasm for working in the vegetable garden when I was a kid? How I hated it then! Having to leave the TV and my Abba records to work in the garden was the pits and cause for major pouting. How life changes!