Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Garden 2013

Cleaning out the pond wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  I had visions of draining it and cutting the drainage holes in the morning and filling it halfway with dirt in the afternoon.  The second day would be buying the seedlings and remaining dirt and getting everything set up.

Yeah, right, so much for that.  After a week of attacking it javelin-style with Papa Smurf's diving spear, I hauled out the sump pump.  The water was beyond disgusting.  Things weren't just growing in there, they were evolving.  It smelled like low tide.  After another half day of work, I finished the excavation, but simply threw the rocks around, not caring where they landed, as long as it wasn't in the pond.  I got out Papa Smurf's diving knife that was supposed to be able to cut through seaweed if he got entangled, and took to the liner like it was a tough hide.  Finally, the knife came up covered in clay in enough spots to satisfy me that the plants would not drown.

Then it rained, which was actually a good thing, so I could check how well the drainage was cut.

Finally, I was ready to start buying out half the dirt at Home Depot.  Really, this was cheaper and easier than ripping out the pond?  I don't want to know how hard that would have been.

The first trip, I got 8 cubic feet total, 5 in garden soil for vegetables and 3 in soil-conditioning mulch.  I wanted to make sure the bottom half did not compact too tightly and ruin the drainage.  Getting the 3 cu ft bag was an economically sound choice, but it was HEAVY!  An hour after I got home, the pond was half filled, and starting to look like what I had in mind.

On the second trip, I got another 8 cu ft.  This time, I asked for help to get it into the car.  Since I had just been approved for a Home Depot credit card, the cashier found me someone who could chuck around the bags like they were nothing.  I had a hand-truck at home to handle the trunk-to-pond part of the journey.  It didn't fill the hole as much as I had hoped, but it was deep enough for a first-year planting.

Then came the fun part, picking out what I was going to attempt to grow.  For that, I went to Armstrong.  They know their plants and the salespeople can actually answer questions intelligently.  The girl suggested I get things that I like but are either hard to find or expensive.  That made a lot of sense.  After about 15 minutes of strolling around in circles, I picked out two pots of asparagus, a six-pack of green onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cherry tomato.  I didn't do my research, and it looks like asparagus is another one that doesn't yield until the second year.  Gus, meet Artie (the artichoke plant; yes, I name my plants.)  I also got a cilantro to put in a pot. That went on one of the waterfall shelves, with the pot of mint on the other one.  To compensate for Gus, I can start picking the cilantro whenever I want.
The asparagus is on the right, somewhere...

The next day, the gardener got into it and set me up with some sprinkler irrigation so I don't have to worry about forgetting to water.  It even reaches the cilantro pot.  The mint is out of range, but I am not concerned about that dying - ever.

I still need to landscape the rest of the corner, mainly to arrange the rocks better and trim back the existing foliage.  Once the Gus twins take off, they're going to need space to "fern".  By the time I have something to harvest, it should look like a properly designed area.  And I'm not going to count investment vs return.  Even if you discount most of the dirt as something I should have bought ages ago, I doubt I'll have a harvest to match my spending.  It's about putting in the effort to grow something, and being glad that grocery stores exist!

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