Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The latest dilemma: When to plant the garden?

On Monday afternoon it started to snow. We woke up Tues day morning to clearing skies and a couple of inches if fresh snow blanketing the new garden. "No planting until after Frog Jump" is the old adage here in Arnold. Frog Jump starts tomorrow. Will it be safe to plant in Friday DURING Frog Jump? Will it be like a rain dance, calling for more snow, if I break the rule?

I've gotten the following warnings from locals:

"Don't plant til after fair! One year, I planted during fair and it snowed! "
"I always wait until June 1.It always (mostly snows) at the end of May and used to kill of my I just wait and buy 6 packs or 4" plants and hope for LOTS of sun."

These are smart, trusted, long time Arnold residents. Such a dilemma!!

Well, the reality is that we have pumpkin plants that will not survive much longer in their little starter pots. Those things are growing like crazy! The tomatoes are not even ready to plant. I think we will likely split the difference and plant some things and hope for the best!

I'm hopeful this will be the last snow of the year, and I'm glad we got the garden built the one week it didn't snow. It sure does make for a pretty picture though!

Friday, May 7, 2010

We've got dirt!

Yesterday the garden was ready for some dirt! Pete and Cleary took the truck up to Dorrington for a load of soil. They compost local yard waste (mostly pine needles) and sell the soil. you can see lots of bits of decomposing pine needles in the soil. Shannon examined it and said "There is not enough dirt in this soil."

We figured it would be easiest to dump the soil in before putting up the fence. Pete backed up the truck full of soil and started unloading.

Ainsley and I helped a little bit. She was in a "don't put me down" and "I'm refusing to nap" kind of week, so I have not been able to help much.

Cleary and Shannon were forced to do some work as well.

By the end of the day the dirt was in and the fences were up!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Building the Garden: Day 1

My plan for a garden was pretty simple. Get some boards and build some raised beds and fence it in. My Mom loves projects like this and is really good at throwing things like this together for little or no cost. My husband has a complete inability to do things "half assed", which, by the way is an awesome quality to have.
What to use for fence posts?
My idea: "4X4's".
My Mom:"Douglas fir 4X4's" because they are the cheapest.
Pete: Search on the internet for at least 2 hours and do a thorough review of the pros and cons of pressure treated, cedar, redwood etc. Needless to say, we did NOT get douglas fir posts!

With a new and improved garden plan, and a shopping list in hand Pete and Cleary head out to the lumber yard. Meanwhile, Shannon and Cody (hired muscle) get to work on leveling the area where we will build.

What 8 year old boy does not like a chance to use a pick ax?

Shannon levels some dirt:

Cleary and Pete get back from the lumber yard. Much $$$ was spent. Nothing but the best!:

Ainsley helps out:

Pete gets things laid out:

Digging some post holes:

Cleary is proud of his work on the path:

By the end of the day Pete had all 4 corner posts set in concrete. So far so good!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Starting some seedlings for the garden

On April 13th we planted some seeds so that we would have some seedlings ready to go into the garden in May. It took a while until we saw our first sprouts. Along the way we have learned some things. The boys have been keeping track of our progress and writing about what they are learning in their garden journals. We have learned about seed leaves and true leaves and all about seeds germinating.

Here are our first sprouts on April 23rd:

We now know that marigolds and pumpkins are the first to germinate, and that pumpkins grow really fast!!
April 24th:

April 25th:

April 26th:

May 4th:

We'd better get that garden built because we need to get these pumpkins into the ground soon!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Planning for a garden

I decided a few months ago that I wanted a garden this summer. I wanted to grow some vegetables at my own house. The past few summers I have grown a few things down in my Mom's garden. We had a record harvest of green beans last year! But tramping all the way down the street (two doors down) just seemed like such an effort. I want my OWN garden!

I thought this would be a great thing to incorporate into homeschooling. The boys could figure out things like area and perimeter as we make plans. They could learn all about germinating seeds and taking care of them. I bought a great book that we could read and learn together how to grow and cook our food. (Okay, my Mom bought it for us, but it was my idea.)

Grow It Cook It

They boys each picked out a recipe they wanted to cook and we went and bought the seeds.

There was a lot of thought about where to put it. We live in the Stanislaus National Forest and have no shortage of tall Ponderosa Pines, Sugar Pines and Cedar trees all around us. That means it can be tricky to find a location with enough sun. I finally settled on a patch of ground near our wood pile, behind the playset. Now it was just a matter of waiting for the snow to melt so that we could start digging!

This is the spot! April 13, 2010.

It snowed every week in April, so we would have to wait until May to actually build the garden. With poor clay soil and lots of animals that like to eat your plants, a raised bed and a fence were both a must. This makes things a little more complicating, and expensive, than just tilling up some soil and planting things.

There is a rule in Arnold: No planting until after Frog Jump, which happens the third weekend in May. There is likely going to be snow until then, so it is best to wait so that you do not freeze your little seedlings and have to start all over. With that rule in mind, plus the fact that we had no actual garden and there was snow on the ground, we decided to start some seedlings inside. So, on April 13th we set to work and planted the following seeds:


Here they are, in a sunny spot by the window:

I hope this all works out!