Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time to get back to the garden.

This has been a busy year with many unexpected pressures. Much of my writing about last year's garden (or lack of it) appeared on Squidoo in this lens: My Tomatoes Were Hit By a Late Frost In April. That article shows detailed pictures of every stage of the tomatoes' growth, or lack of it, during 2009. The weather was just not favorable to tomato growth last year. I shared in this article what I learned.

This year I was not very optimistic about starting a garden, either. As April began, after a long and much needed rainy season, this is what my gardening area looked like. You can barely see the raised beds behind those mallow plants that are taller than me. I cut down the mallows, which were too big to pull and growing through the mesh on the bottom of the raised bed that is supposed to protect it from gopher invasion.

As you can see, it would take hours, days, or weeks to remove all the thorns, grasses, poison hemlock, invading coyote bush, and other weeds that had completely taken over. When you consider that I work full time and have other important tasks that leave me short of time, you can understand my discouragement. Normally I start pulling the weeds in January, but when it wasn't raining this year, it was too muddy to work, and meanwhile, the weeds just kept growing with all that rain. I was seriously wondering whether I would have time to do more than clear a bit of space to grow a couple of tomato plants. 

Then, a couple of  weeks before Mother's Day, my husband gave me a wonderful gift while helping someone who was out of work. He hired him to clear the garden and haul in the soil amendments I would need. This last week, I've been planting. Here's what those raised beds look like now: 

Tomorrow I'll show you the pots that supplement the raised beds, and we'll go over the varieties I have planted this year so we can see how they do. You will notice I waited until well after the predicted last frost day to plant this year. I started the week after Mother's Day. It's taken me that long to get all this and the pots planted. 

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