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Monday, May 17, 2010

Garden Progress

Oh good lord. I just looked at some pictures of my garden at the beginning of spring. It was a freaking jungle!

I took the following pictures at the beginning of one of Eddie's naps so I could see how much progress I'd made by the time he woke up:
Two hours later (I moved an umbrella out there so Eddie could hang out with me while I harvested the collard greens. At that point he couldn't crawl but he kept scooting off the blanket and grabbing the weeds.):

A few days later my dad came up for a visit and he really helped whip that garden into shape! He helped me finish weeding the nastiest weeds (not the annual rye grass, though, since it never seems worth dealing with). We also rototilled the beds to break up the clods of dirt before adding two cubic yards of compost--that's a LOT of compost! Since it was so carbon-rich, we tilled in some inorganic P and N fertilizer and let the soil microbes do their thing for a couple of weeks while we were in France.

It isn't a good visit with my dad unless he and Dave decide at the last minute to start (and usually finish) some huge undertaking. Sometimes it is a wiring project or removing a giant stump. This time it was installing proper irrigation lines throughout the garden yard. They even put two spigots in that yard--one for the garden and one for the chicken coop. Dave installed 350 feet of PVC pipe and made a manifold of 6 valves and pressure regulators.
He took this picture to show what little was left of the 350 feet of pipe he bought and the empty jars of primer and glue he'd gone through. After everything was done he estimated he'd made over 220 glue joints. Whoa.Most people put their valves a lot closer together (like this), which seems silly because then if anything needs to be replaced because of a leak there isn't room to unscrew the valve and they have to cut the pipe. Dave thought ahead...and thus, we have a giant manifold.
Now each of our 5 garden beds has two options for timed irrigation--a long term soaking circuit (like for tomatoes and squash) and a short term circuit for everything else. Since every bed is outfitted with both circuits I can plant whatever mix of things I want.

After another round of tilling we finally got to plant everything! Gosh, it is amazing what a few hundred feet of pipe, my dad and Dave, and a few weeks can do to my garden. (Those 3 posts along the back of the house will soon hold a shade structure from which I can hang shade cloth to block the sun from hitting the house this summer...those rooms get soooooo hot.)See the nice gravel path on the right side of the picture above? Dave finished installing that on Mother's Day (he claims it was my present...har, har,har). There's a conduit line buried in it so we can eventually have power out to the chicken coop. The coop is at the end of the path there, but it is hard to see since it blends in with the fence (by design).

The narrow patch of dirt along the driveway has never been planted so I decided to plant something edible there, too. But I felt limited in what I could plant there because it is in dog-peeing range (so low growing things were out) and within reach of the path to the park (so tall things might get messed up by rambunctious kids grabbing them as they ride by on their bikes). We settled on planting potatoes and some squashes (spaghetti and pumpkins) since those things either grow underground or will be peeled before eating. The potatoes haven't sprouted yet but the squashes emerged this weekend.Our garden is so industrial looking and I'd like to girly it up a little with some flowers. I'm not sure how much more money I want to spend on it so I might just stick with whatever random seeds I have left in my stash from the last few years. If they germinate, great. If not, oh well.

4 comments:

steph.kelley said...

Wow, Julie and Dave! What amazing progress on the greenery! I like that the PVC pics are taken at night....that is a project finished "just in time" it seems. :) xoxoxoxo!

mu rye uh said...

awesome go you! When we get a house I am having myself a garden.

huntfamily said...

Oh.My.Gosh. I would SO not enjoy that large of a garden but it is seriously AMAZING! Is it your entire backyard? Maybe when we come in August I can steal a day to go up to your house for a field trip...i would learn SO much!

erin said...

holy garden! i think its very cool, but definitely something that would totally overwhelm me. i cant wait to see pictures of the plants producing!