Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Breaking Ground

This past weekend I broke ground for the first time at our new house. Yes, it was finally nice enough outside for me to put on a pair of ratty shoes and go play in the yard.

Since I decided to continue container gardening for one more year, cleaning up the pots was my first order of business. My pots looked like little Rip van Winkles after sitting all winter. The old vines, stalks, stems, and leaves were all dried and rambly and in need of a serious haircut. I pulled all the old plant matter and re-mixed all of the dirt, breaking up root balls and fluffing the soil so it is ready for some planting. I was amazed by how aromatic the herb roots were, especially the mint. Nothing like a little aromatherapy when you're cleaning house.

Once the winter purge was finished, I began to sow some early season seeds. I ended up planting a mixture of newly ordered seeds as well as old seeds from last year:
  • Radish, French Breakfast
  • Beet, Cylindra
  • Carrot, Cosmic Purple
  • Carrot, bonus pack variety
  • Kohlrabi, Early Purple Vienna
  • Lettuce, Merveille des Quatre Saisons
  • Arugula

I squeezed all of these seeds into 4 pots and I have them lined up along the stone wall in the back yard:

One benefit of planting in containers again this year is their height - hopefully that will deter the deer, rabbits, and squirrel from nibbling on my tender greens. I've pretty much definitively decided that I will not be tilling up a portion of our back yard any time soon. There are too many tree roots and the soil does not appear to be that fertile. I've been exploring the possibility of building/buying a raised bed instead. This will give me some of that nice height, and will also allow me to work around the tree root issue. That might be next year's project - for now, since we're still settling in to the house, I'll have to make do with what I already have.

After planting the seeds, I started to tackle the front yard with surly husband in tow. I think my urge to get outside and play was a tad stronger than his - my spring fever has kicked in early this year I suppose. I removed most of the big unsightly wood chips from the beds and planted a flat of pansies to add some color. I also ordered several bags of mulch from the local church's "Mulch Drive" to show some local support as well as add some protection for the soil. I can already hear the groans when I suggest we BOTH go spread some mulch together...

I still haven't revealed the biggest excitement for me currently - several weeks ago I ordered a Garden Starter System from Gardener's Supply Company. Call me lazy, but I just need a small set-up to start growing seeds. If I decide to get more serious about it, then I can go hog wild with racks and lamps and heating mats and the like. For now, this will provide me with enough light and warmth to germinate one flat of seeds. I know I'm getting a late start for the season - it just shipped today and they should be delivering Friday. I'll just jump in with the later-season seeds.

There's so much that I want to do with our yard, I really don't know where to start. I need to focus my energies instead of flitting all over the place like a hummingbird. I've taken that first seasonal step, though, so there's no turning back now...

Oh, and PS - my strawberry plant survived yet another winter!

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