Adventures in Gardening: AKA Pig Manure and June Bugs

I’m back from my forced technology hiatus!  I’ve missed sharing things on the blog and am glad to be up and running again.  Let’s just sum up my recent silence with the worlds “mother board” and “fried.”  Enough said.

In the meantime, the most exciting thing going on here is that we FINALLY have our garden started.  This is my first ever “real” garden, and I’ve had to hold myself back so that I don’t try everything at once.  It was hard to practice restraint since I’ve never had this chance before, but I have to remind myself that I’ll have another chance next year.  So I’ve tried to give myself the permission to experiment, to learn at the trowel’s edge (that’s for my archaeo friends), and to try things that may not turn out as I’d hoped.  Chalk it up to trial, error and then more error.  Since the garden bed wasn’t completed until this last weekend, and since most of my planting was from seed, it will still be awhile before we see any fruits of our labors.  We’ll see what happens…

Our farmer landlords have been working hard to prepare what was our backyard for a massive gardening space.  Where once was a sketchy storage shack now stands the beginning of a greenhouse.  The rest of the space has been scraped of turf, massive piles of black gold (aka pig manure-compost) roto-tilled in, and multiple garden beds laid out.

Glorious pig manure compost getting raked and leveled into a garden plot.

Glorious pig manure compost getting raked and leveled into a garden plot.

The rest of our day was spent raking and leveling our square garden bed, then shaping it into the quadrants we would plant.  There is nothing like being coated with pig manure dust and being attacked by the cock roach like June bugs of the island.  Much squealing and dancing occurred to the intense delight of Little Man.  In opposition to what my brother suggested, I am very glad that he hasn’t been trained to video me in embarrassing moments.  Once the bugs were removed from the back of my neck, my hair and my t-shirt, we were able to get back to the garden.  The plot is over 20 square feet, so I’ve just now gone from a sometimes successful container gardener to a plot gardener with enough seed and good intentions to cause a lot of trouble.  It’s hard to imagine what the flat garden plot will look like once the seeds have sprouted, forget about what it will look like with full fledged plants.

Dave leveling our plot with the in-process greenhouse behind him.

Dave leveling our plot with the in-process greenhouse behind him.

I divided our plot into quadrants with a small hill for squash in the center.  I had a few seedlings for kale, basil, celery and nasturtiums.  Other seeds planted around our plot include lots of greens (kales and chard), scarlet runner beans, carrots, radishes, bush beans and beets.  That’s not to mention all of the amazing plants that our farmer landlords have planted in such abundance that they’ve offered us carte blanche to the fruits of their labors in exchange for help maintaining the plants in the many garden plots.

Little Man helps out by picking up rocks and transporting them with the blue bucket to Daisy the tractor. According to Little Man, Daisy likes rocks better than stones for lunch.

Little Man helps out by picking up rocks and transporting them with the blue bucket to Daisy the tractor. According to Little Man, Daisy likes rocks better than stones for lunch.

Now we’re into dirt watching mode, and trying to find the perfect location and angle for our mobile sprinklers so that we water the garden without wasting too much water as we head into what could be a long, hot, dry summer.  I’ll keep you up to date with garden happenings, and if anyone has any recipes or ideas for things to preserve garden produce I’d love to see them!  🙂

Our mostly planted garden plot.  Bamboo bean teepees will be set up in the back right quadrant, but for now this is a good start.

Our mostly planted garden plot. Bamboo bean teepees will be set up in the back right quadrant, but for now this is a good start.

And spoiler alert, we have a big party coming up to celebrate Dave’s recent doctoral graduation.  Keep your eyes peeled for some great recipes from the party!

The center squash hill planted with Little Man's sprouted pumpkin seeds from an Easter festival in Nanaimo.  We've also planted zuchinni on the north side and sunburst squash on the south.  A bit of squash overkill?  We'll see...

The center squash hill planted with Little Man’s sprouted pumpkin seeds from an Easter festival in Nanaimo. We’ve also planted zuchinni on the north side and sunburst squash on the south. A bit of squash overkill? We’ll see…

The celery square with nasturtiums planted at the point.  Radishes and carrots will round out this area once they sprout.

The celery square with nasturtiums planted at the point. Radishes and carrots will round out this area once they sprout.

 

 

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One thought on “Adventures in Gardening: AKA Pig Manure and June Bugs

  1. Mr. Bright Wings

    Your garden plot is more than twenty square feet!? You’re a mad woman!

    That’s a cool little garden plan. Planting any squash is overkill. I’m not one to talk. We’ve got zucchini, multiple varieties of pumpkin, 2 or 3 varieties of acorn squash, some giant pink banana squash that Grandbelle sent me (and I’m a bit worried that its name might be euphemistic), etc.

    The primary difference between what you did and what I would’ve done is that I would’ve made my beds into no-wider-than 4′ strips. So instead of 4 squares around your squash hill, mine would look more like 4 equals signs around the squash hill. Or else 2 reeeeally long equals signs on either side of the squash hill.

    It’s easier to weed without stepping onto the seed bed that way. In my humble opinion.

    Reply

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