Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Books, blocks and bucks

"Sometimes ignorance really is bliss; however, in this instance a little knowledge is not going to hurt you and will actually help you be a better gardener. Just remember, you put your hands in the soil before you knew what was there and never got hurt.

A quote from Teaming with Microbes A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

If you garden, if you read, you must stop what you're doing and go get this book. It really has opened up a whole new world of how to look at plants and the systems they depend on which allows them to grow vigorously. I am amazed at some of the connections I've made about the natural world around me. Just understanding a bit of the science has verified many of my garden practices and opened my horizons to try new things. I was never a proponent of chemicals for the garden before and this in many ways confirms that decision. I'm not done reading yet so I reserve the right to change my mind but I somehow don't think I will. It's really fascinating to think that a teaspoon of good garden soil is busier then Tokyo on a Friday night. Seriously, go check it out.

In other news I'm making a bit of headway on the next garden project. I wheedled out some time on Mother's Day to stack stone blocks for the new raised bed.

It's about 1/2 done now but I still have to deal with the ugly part of shoveling a LOT of dirt. Bleh. I would make a terriable trench digger! It took me forever. Of course standing there staring at it wishing it was done sure didn't help it get done any faster... lol. I need to move the piles on the right, further to the right so I can get in there and lay a crushed rock foundation and stack more stones.

After all that's accomplished I'll dig out the excess dirt in the bed and level it to just about the top of the second stone. After that I'll fill it the rest of the way up (about 1/2') with compost. Then I can get to the fun part and decide what to plant. I'll most likely get a self pollinating semi-dwarf apple tree of some sort this fall. Not sure what to do with the rest of it. I might plant pumpkins in there just for this summer for fun. I do love me the pumpkins. lol

I also had a great time last Saturday browsing the nursery sans kiddlet. Ah. I was pretty good and only bought three gardening books and a couple of strawberry plants. Compared to what I wanted to buy, I was a *saint*. I seriously have never smelled anything so lovely in my whole life.

I want one! (But I don't have a spot for it - yet. I also most certainly don't want to spend that kind of $$ either.) I'll have to look into seeing how hard they are to grow from seed. I bet they grow real S.L.O.W. Oh fudge! Me and my expensive tastes! Never mind all the beautiful pots and trees and benches and water fountains and birdbaths and trellises that I also wanted to take with me... ::runs off to buy a lottery ticket::

Otherwise not much going on in the garden. Just pickin' bugs off the broccoli and making sure things are more consistently moist - it's been raining so uh, that one's easy. Still don't know what to do about the blankety-blank fungi problems I'm still having. I might try a compost tea next... or set up some hoops to keep the water off some of the plants or both. The garlic is starting to look bad again! Bah.


Liisa said...

OMG girl look at you go! Your new area is going to look awesome! I can not wait to see the how it all turns out.

Oh I was going to ask you... is the butterfly/bee garden going to be a raised bed or will it be at ground level?

I hope you can work through the fungi problem.


Ribbit said...

Oh my goodness, they do think highly of that plant, don't they?

Engineeredgarden said...

Jenn - that new bed is coming along nicely! I wish more aesthetic improvements could be made to my garden. Yours will be beautiful, when finished!

Just Jenn said...

Liisa, Still waiting for you to come up and help. ;^) I figured you'd have finished it by now. Yup - the butterfly/bee garden will be raised with the same stones as the other wall to help aesthetically tie it all together. Fungus = evil.

Ribbit, they sure do! Still, it does smell divine.

EG, thanks! I've pretty much got no where to go but up! So no matter what I do, it'll look better. ::g::

Annie's Granny said...

Everything Jenn does turns out great! I can't wait to see this project finished....after all that work, maybe you deserve to pay yourself, oh, maybe about a hundred bucks. I wonder what you could buy yourself with that? ;-)


Stefaneener said...

I love the promise of a new bed. I keep eyeing the lawn area in our back yard, but there are many more places left where I can exercise my garden expansion projects first. The big kid even weed whacked today!

Thanks for stopping by -- you're right, the chicks are cute but. . . even THEY were out of the pen when I went out to coop them up. We can't build a new coop and run fast enough. Bleah.

Sinfonian said...

Wow, you are quite the designer. I understand the wishing it were done part. But it's amazing and will look better when it's done. Bravo!

And did I read it right that they want $100 for a 3 gallon plant? That's criminal!

Amy said...

You are making great progress with your project!!