Sunday, March 22, 2009

One Down, Eight to Go!

"Population will increase rapidly, more rapidly than in former times,
and 'ere long the most valuable of all arts
will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil."
--Abraham Lincoln

So this is the beast we've been trying to tame for the last few months. I wish I'd taken pictures before it got cleared out so that I (and you) could see the progress we've made, but this gives an idea of the workload we have ahead of us! There are a total of 9--100 sq. ft. beds that we're getting ready to plant for the spring & summer. Our plan is to harvest enough food to feed our family for an entire year, but truthfully, if we get 6 months' worth, I'll be terribly happy! Mike and I have grown a garden for several years now, but this is our first attempt at something on this grand of a scale. Frankly, I don't doubt that we'll get a great harvest, but what I do worry about is the work it will take to preserve it all...and where in the world we'll store it! We've actually talked about digging a hole under the deck, and putting in an old chest freezer to use as a root cellar for the winter. Since our house is so small and practically every square inch is already occupied, we figured this may be a good solution.

Brooke (6) standing in the middle of what I hope will be lush green very soon, with Mike and the rest of the girls in the background working on the first of 9 beds. This is where we'll be planting our asparagus and strawberries as soon as the snow is gone next week--yes, I said snow.
Maggie (almost 8) helped by raking in compost as Mike loosened the soil. I'm truly surprised that she worked the entire bed, but we're so glad the girls have developed such an interest in gardening already. Whenever we're we're out there, they come along with their little trowels asking if they can dig out the rocks and play with the worms! (Mike is completely thrilled by the prospect of having girls that like worms...can you say "fishing buddy"?)

And here's the man himself, after unloading a truckful of compost. We figured one load would be enough...dun dun dun...yeah, enough for only 3 of the beds. Poor guy. Good thing he's not too out of shape...

One down, 8 to go! This one little bed took us about 6 hours to prepare completely on Saturday. That's double digging (A method used to aerate the soil a full 2 feet down for better root penetration & therefore happier, more productive plants!), composting, fertilizing as well as weeding and removing rocks. What a lot of work! Now that we've figured out what exactly needs to be done and how to do it most efficiently, we think we can cut at least an hour's time off each of the rest of them...that means only 40 hours of work left to get the garden prepared! I hope our backs can take it. Isn't it pretty, though?


Fiddlefish said...

You are brave. We were outside for 7 hours yesterday as well, but my 4 garden beds are only 4'x8' each, so like 128 sq. feet TOTAL. I do have a 12'x12' strawberry patch with blueberries I planted at the back of it, and a 2'x8' raspberry patch, so that puts me at what, 288 ft sq. TOTAL? LOL. If you have room on your property you might consider building an actual root cellar. There are plans on-line for them. Otherwise you're going to run outta room my friend! You are inspiring. I could hardly weed my strawberry patch while I was pregnant.

Jonesy said...

Building a root cellar would be great if we actually owned this property...unfortunately, it's the mortuary's, and while they really give us a lot of ability to do what we want, that may not be on their list of necessities! I do have an area in my basement that is housing a queen sized bed right now--for when family visits from out of state, but it's only used a few times a year, so I'm debating whether to convert it into more food storage shelving or not. I guess we'll see how our harvest goes...
BTW, don't be too inspired by me. My contribution to the manual labor is quite minimal compared to Mike's. I'm glad he enjoys working in the garden, or we probably wouldn't have one this year!

Ardie said...

You're right. It is hard not to post pictures of the garden. Your pictures are MUCH more impressive than mine, though. I'm excited to see how things continue to progress with your plans. I think you'll have some truly beautiful pictures of LOTS of produce come mid-summer.