Garden Post Two: The Diggening

Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road: we have just 17 days until Harlan Holmes, Gardening Bodhisattva and Cruel Taskmaster, holds his first spring gardening class. By that time, we will need to have: dug some beds in the back yard. constructed a seedling rack (complete with lights), purchased a bunch of seeds (lettuce, onions, shallots, parsley, kale, and celery), and be ready with some half-flats to GROW US SOME PLANTSES.

Actually, the “bed-digging” part isn’t crucial, but it was so warm this weekend that we got inspired. So I rented a tiller from Home Depot, and Kate and I got to work:


As you maybe can see if you click on the Flickr pictures, the tiller just kind of eggbeats the top couple of inches of soil. Well, it did slice up the turf, which saved us having to compost a big pile of turves for the next six months, so on the whole I’m glad I rented it. BUT NOBODY BETTER WARN US ABOUT WEED SEEDS IN THE TURF we know about that already, and decided that a meatball garden that actually, you know, exists is better than a perfect one in our heads.

Then Kate went through and actually DUG the edges, making a nice, clean “Shallots go HERE, grass stays over HERE” line. The garden is four squares, each five feet on a side, for a total of 100 square feet. The soil amendment recommendations we got from the Penn State Ag lab are in 100sf units, so that makes the shopping easy, and I now have several bags lined up to dump in when we re-dig the beds later. I’d list the chemicals, but that would give a misleading impression of knowing what I’m doing. Penn State says a half-pound of THAT STUFF.

I don’t want to be a sanctimonious “Oh, the joys of gardening” blogger, since I’m already insufferable enough. Fortunately, it’s easy: 80% of gardening, like 80% of parenting, pretty much just makes you feel like an incompetent fool, especially when you step on the rake. The other 20% makes you feel happy and productive, though, and it’s a good antidote when you’re visiting a family member in the hospital, and the news is sad and scary.

Okay, promise to future dinner guests: I WILL NOT TELL YOU WHAT KIND OF LETTUCE YOU ARE EATING UNLESS YOU ASK. But then, all bets are off.

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