kitchen garden

I am rearranging the kitchen garden quite a bit this spring!

So far, between fits of rain, I have:

1. Dismantled two raised beds that were uneven. I need symmetry and they were quite wonky. (It is too a word. See, spellcheck left it there) I was in a hurry and didn’t take a “Before” picture but trust me, they looked awful.

2. Built a long raised bed along the fence row and planted “Caroline” raspberries with last years Quinalt strawberry baby plants at their feet. Last years raspberries produced 8 berries total because of the stubborn clay soil. I am hoping the raised beds will make their fussy roots, happier. The boys all helped with this part and earned a trip to Dairy Queen. For the edges we used these long concrete tubes (I think they are meant for drainage?) that were on the side of the road marked FREE. They are so heavy the Suburban dragged on the way home! The boys got a good workout and truly earned that Dilly Bar.

3. Shovel-pruned the rambling Blaze rose that I had put next to the pumphouse 4 years ago. It was hardy and strong and its thorns fought back during its lengthy murder session but I finally decided no-that color is awful, and it has to go, no matter how vigorous it grows. It is often advertised as red. It is not red. It is Vegas showgirl pink.
4. Cleaned out the greenhouse and stomped about 47 paper nests and the drowsy, half awake wasps that were left on guard duty from Summer. I am determined to use my little building and this time I will not give in to the buzzing intimidation of flying black and yellow terrorists.

5. Cleaned out the rabbit cage and spread Hortensia’s ample offerings all over the raised beds, blessing the worms and inviting them to feast. Yes, I keep a pet and pay for its feed, just for its manure. The longer you garden? The weirder you become.

“Sam, what do you think of your Mom’s gardening hobby?”

6. Moved three blueberry bushes to the main garden area, so I will stop forgetting to water them.

7. Planted a Jonathon apple tree and a Brooks Prune tree.

8. Dismantled the picket fence that was going to be the new chicken coop last year but never worked out. Chickens can fly. Chickens like eating fresh vegetables. When chickens are separated from ripe red tomatoes by a 3 foot fence? They will succumb to temptation, no matter how cute the fence looks, to you.

9. Planted two Concord Grape plants. We had these in Yakima and dear Ili Schoenborn taught me how to can grape juice and gave me her old German juicer when they moved to Brazil as missionaries. I still miss her, and I still miss good grape juice that doesn’t cost $6 a quart. The grapes will need a strong trellis but I suspect that I can get John to build it for me. If I use my secret weapon…french crumb apple pie. My pie is pretty darn good, and yes, I am aware that is outright bragging but…sorry, I cannot lie. I can get just about anything I want with that pie. And I have peeled about 5,768 Granny Smith apples in the last 19 years, because it seems I always want something.

10. Here’s a great idea (I copied it from someone else, here on the Internet, but don’t recall just who, so you can copy us both) Collect flat rocks (found these on the beach) and mark with a Sharpie marker to identify your rows! My seed packets always fade, and I like to save them for future reference, anyway. Love all the different colors!

10. I built a raised, circular bed for the middle of the garden. Now this one was tricky. I have a budget for the garden-and the Bossman says it’s for all of the 2009 growing season -and though he will work for pie? The bank won’t. So my budget is $200.
Now that seems like a lot but if you have been to a nursery lately you know it doesn’t go too far. Especially when you are as greedy as I am apt to be at a nursery. I always want more compost and fresh plants and a new sprinkler system and one more fruit tree and whoops now there is a hole in my glove and the poop machine needs more alfalfa pellets and lets find a truly red rose for that spot and ooh look at the latest columbine…so I didn’t want to spend my precious money on a new raised bed but I had my heart set. Too be extra difficult, I wanted it exactly 60 inches across and ROUND. Obviously IT HAD TO BE, in order to offset the long rectangular beds and make a focal point in the middle with my windmill! That favorite Mothers Day gift from 2001. These kids, and their Daddy, get me.
So, the cement raised blocks for retaining walls were ideal, until they added up to around $75. The redwood edging was only $47 but it wasn’t perfectly round and looked quite wimpy at only 5 inches high. But there was something, for only $19, that was 2 feet high, perfectly round and could hold a lot of soil!

The clerk at Fred Meyer said “Wow. Is it warm enough for this yet?” It happened to be hailing ice outside as I bought it, and I think she was pondering whether or not to turn me into the State for abuse, if I was truly going to let preschoolers swim in this weather. But I assured her it was for decoration in my garden and got the polite smile of “okay, crazy lady.” When I took a steak knife to the bottom (to make good drainage holes) and I went all psycho-shower-scene on it, John was walking by said

“whoa. you are enjoying that, aren’t you?”

Next I went to Joann Fabrics and bought 9 yards of dark brown burlap ($1.49 a yard on sale). When the clerk asked what I was making I told her “new sheets.” I like messin with people.

Anyway, I folded that burlap in half, tucked it all around, using the soil to hold it in, and I just love how rustic and natural it looks! I have used folded over burlap instead of the expensive coco lining in windowboxes so I know it will last about 2 years…

When we get the paths all redone with crushed river rock next week?

I will be totally satisfied.

For about twelve minutes.

About sparrowjourney

Christian homeschooling mom to three boys, married to my best friend, John, for over 20 years. I love gardening without gloves, learning history with my kids, cooking with lots of butter, serving others, great books, rich coffee, studying the Bible, camping outdoors, scrapbooking, vintage home decor, the smell of rain and cut grass, authentic people, poetry, laughing until your sides hurt, and babies. oh and black licorice is pretty awesome.
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1 Response to kitchen garden

  1. kippi says:

    I wish I could afford to have you come out and landscape my yard! You would die with how bare it is – I just don’t have the imagination or the $. :)Kippi

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