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digging

I headed out to the backyard today and ended up getting into a day-long project. There’s this patch of dirt up next to the house that was empty except for some weeds. I decided it would be a good place for a small shaded garden. I began by digging out the weeds, which was quite a chore in itself. There was also a stump of an old shrub to dig up. After that I began digging in to loosen up the soil. After the first few inches the dirt was really compacted. I didn’t get the digging finished because my back was starting to get sore. Tomorrow I’ll go back out to dig up the rest. We had some edging stones left in the garge from another project and I’m going to use those to make a raised bed.

The soil is going to need a lot of work. It’s sandy and dry. I  read about green manure in one of my gardening books and got some corn salad to plant and then dig into the soil. I also brought buckwheat for overwintering. By spring I hope the soil will be ready for planting.

DIY

Everyday I think of more projects I would like to add to my DIY to-do list.  I’ve done my fair share of crafting in the past, but I’ve rarely made anything practical. More and more, as I consider the things we need around the house, the thought of buying something that I could make myself seems silly. So far, the list of things I would like to make or build for the house (and it’s occupants) includes:

curtains

apron

cat tree

bird house(s)

lady bug house

moss terrarium

rain barrel

gardening books

I’ve created quite a wish list of gardening books I would like to read but funds are scarce right now, so I can’t buy new. I’ve made a couple trips to the used book store and though I didn’t find anything from my wish list, I did manage scrounged up a few books that seemed to have useful information:

The Natural Garden Book: A holistic approach to gardening by Peter Harper

Organic Garden Basics: Five easy steps to growing organically by Bob Flowerdew

Organic Gardening: A comprehensive guide to chemical-free growing by Crow & Elizabeth Miller

Planters, Containers and Raised Beds: A gardener’s guide by Chuck & Barbara Crandall

Step-by-Step Garden Basics from Better Homes and Gardens

I also have a long overdue book that needs to find it’s way back to the library so that I can borrow some books.  Hopefully they’ll have some of my wish list books.

composting

My composter arrived last week and I immediately put it to use. I was on a mission to gather up table and garden scraps. I had a bit of a problem with flies being attracted to it, but quickly learned that I need to add brown/dry items whenever I add table scraps and cover the food as much as possible. That took care of the problem, for the most part. There’s still a fruit fly or two hanging around, but it’s tolerable. I’ve been adding to it daily, but generally have more greens than browns, so I’ve been adding shredded newspaper to balance things out. I’m anxious for the first batch to be ready. I want to start working on our soil.

reading

I finally got to the used book store and got a couple books on gardening basics, one of which is specifically about organic gardening. I’m learning a lot, but the books assume the reader has a certain amount of underlying knowledge, and I really don’t know very much! Hopefully I can catch up. Any recommendations for organic gardening books that are beginner-friendly?

I picked out a spot in the backyard for a garden, but still doubtful if I’ll be able to get it going this year. I’d like to get something together to replant my container vegetables into. On the other hand, it seems like getting the soil ready is a pretty big process and it might be better to just start out a plot with some green manure. Decisions, decisions…

I didn’t make it to the bookstore today. Hopefully there will be time tomorrow. I want to start a garden at home ASAP. It’s getting late in the season already. Things are so busy I don’t know when I’ll have time to start! I have a seeds for sunflowers, corn and pumpkins so far. I want to order some heirloom seeds for the rest.

I visited my community plot for the first time in a few days and it was very dry. My tomato plants were starting to wilt and the leaves were turning yellow. :( Apparently they’re ‘in shock’ from all the sun we’ve been getting lately. I hope they’ll perk back up. My container tomatoes at home aren’t doing very well. I want these ones to grow!

Helpful linkage: This post from Urban Garden Casual lists free online gardening classes.

Fourth

I spent the holiday with my family at my cousin’s farm. It’s small, but I’m quite jealous. They have a good-sized garden and a small collection animals – including two horses. Too bad they don’t live very close. I only make it out there once or twice a year. I don’t know that I would ever have the time, energy, or desire to keep up with a farm, but I would LOVE to have enough land for a large garden and some farm animals (chickens, ducks and goats, please).

After a three day weekend it’s back to work for me (yes, I work on Sundays). P and I got quite a bit accomplished in our first week here.  Thursday and Friday were non-stop cleaning and settling in. We’ve got several large piles for resale/garage sale and donating. I’m glad to get rid of so much clutter! There’s still much unpacking to be done, but the house is starting to feel cozy.

If I have time after work, I’d like to go sell some of my old books and CDs and buy a few (used) gardening books. The amount of gardening information available online is overwhelming and I could get sucked into the computer for days trying to read it all. Sometimes my eyes goes fuzzy from looking at the screen for so long!

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