Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mid Spring, The Garden Takes Shape

The rainy weather has helped to get the seeds started. Suddenly we have our first really warm weather, and everything begins to pop. After I had almost given up, the peas are up, spinach, and lettuce has made an appearance as well.

Inside, the sunflower seedlings are getting tall and gangly, but it's too soon to transplant them outside. In the front yard, the crocuses and dafodills begin to wilt in the heat. The trees begin to leaf out, and suddenly, spring is truly here.

Building the Beds

We built our raised beds in one day in late March. After some research, I found a source of compost and loam — a company that recycles and composts yard waste and manure from the cities zoos and the mounted police. I thought it was kind of cool to think that our peas and carrots would be feed by monkey and elephant dung. Cool but kinky! The place was highly recommended though, and I heard that they supplied all the community gardens.

As I went to check out their yard, I was determined to follow the advice I'd been given and give the loam a good look to make sure it wasn't too wet, or too crumbly. I found their trailer, spoke to the woman inside, and asked her if I could check out the loam before I bought it. "Sure", she said, "but its pretty muddy!" She pointed down a rutted track to where the loam sat, at the far side of an enormous lot filled with piles of dirt, wood chips, and compost. Squaring my shoulders, I set out, and soon realized hat there was no way I wasn't going to be ankle-deep in mud before long. My Greenwich village boots just were not up to the task. Just then, I heard her yell over to me, and saw that a beat-up pick up truck was making its way over to me. "Hop in", said a muddy but kind yard man, and we quickly made our way to the far end of the lot. Jumping out, I took a couple handfuls of loam, gave it the squeeze test. It passed!

The next morning, Gerry and I headed over to pick up the lumber that he had ordered—rough-sawn spruce, 4 quarter 2 x 10s. The guy at the yard cut them into 4 foot and 8 ft lengths to make it easier for us to transport. A few minutes after we got home, the truck arrived with the loam. I couldn't tell for sure if the driver was my friend from the day before, absent the dirt. He obligingly dumped the pile exactly where we'd drawn a spot on the driveway with playground chalk.

Gerry and Alex quickly assembled the frames, and Alex, Jordan, Court, Aiden and I helped shovel and fill the wheelbarrows. Before long, our 4 beautiful beds were set!