Saturday, March 20, 2010

Salamander Sighting!

Oh, I am so freaking excited right now - we went to pick up a load of soil for my new raised beds this morning, and while we were unloading the dirt, I found a Redback Salamander under one of my old pots!

You have to understand, I am a tomboy animal-lover going way back to my childhood. I was always chasing after frogs, turtles, crawdads, snakes, you-name-it. Salamanders were always very elusive - I only remember my Mom finding them in the garden once or twice. This tiny guy today was so wriggly and squirmy and plump. His froggy little face and small little webby feet had me squealing - isn't nature amazing? And beyond the simple coolness of it, I have also read that the presence of animals such as frogs, toads, and salamanders is an indicator of a healthy environment. Granted, we don't live in a nature preserve, but it's nice to know that our neighborhood is healthy enough to support these little guys.

Once the raised beds were all filled with soil, I made sure to place him in one so that he could get out of the sun and into some soft wet dirt. I'm naming him Sammy - hopefully he will bring good luck to the garden this year!

I'm excited about the soil I decided to go with. It's a mixture of topsoil, peat moss, manure, mushroom compost, and sand. Originally I was hoping to mix my own soil from a recipe my uncle in Pennsylvania sent me (equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite), but our budget and my time both came up a little short. This was a very affordable alternative, and the soil looks nice and rich.

After we topped off each bed with soil, I proceeded to sow my early spring veggies:
  • Radish (Saxa 2 and French Breakfast)
  • Beet (Cylindra and Golden)
  • Carrot (St. Valery and Red Core Chantenay)
  • Evergreen Onion
  • Arugula
  • European Mesclun Mix
  • Dill
I partitioned each raised bed into squares for planting - stuck some nice labels in the ground and now the waiting begins. We're supposed to get some nice rain tomorrow, so that should have them well on their way.

The garden has finally taken the leap from the indoors to the great outdoors!

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