Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mulching, Planting, Strawberries!


You should know that a couple of weeks ago I had a discussion with Michael, where I was pretty much ready to quit this huge garden endeavor. I wanted to forget about it, and not try to bring in a big harvest, but just be satisfied with a small garden to get a few things from. Michael actually pushed for the larger garden. He likes the work, enjoys the food, and is looking forward to learning more, doing more, and hopefully being able to sell things at Farmers Markets. So we are sort of cheering each other on through this very busy garden building time.

We are SO proud of this path! The side of that bed is about 18 inches high, and that USED to be right next to the peas, covered in lots of weeds! I hope it stays put fairly well once we get it mulched. I expect some erosion, I've done raised beds before, but never on a hill, so I hope it doesn't turn around and bite me.

First thing after morning chores, we planted melons.

We worked in some holes into the lowest bed that we had mulched.

And labeled 5 different watermelon plantings.

Then it was off to get more rotten hay. Michael does most of this, as I have to avoid the poison ivy.

Which means that in between helping him, I get to find more lovely things to photograph!

Including him.

He's listening to Bible study lessons that he enjoys.

After many trips, and battling an embedded nest of very angry ants in the third round bale we found, we had enough to cover 5 beds.

We also planted the next melon bed toward the house with a variety of muskmelons, including an old fashioned Banana melon.

We were pretty tired - seems to be a theme of ours lately, and we still had office cleaning to do that night.

I thought - HA! - that I could quickly shower and wash my hair while Michael went out and picked a few berries and we might still make it to part of our Bible study first, though.

By the time I was out and ready to go, Michael was nowhere to be found. I saw a bowl of berries in the kitchen, I called inside, I called outside, I went to all the windows and looked in every direction.

Finally, his iPod laden head popped up beyond the tool shed. He was STILL picking berries!

Poor guy. I sent my exhausted child - well, young adult, really - on what I thought was a 10 minute chore, and it turned out to be an hour, while I was enjoying a nice shower! Needless to say, I went out and helped him finish.

Here are 3 gallons of sweet labor. We did not make it to Bible study.

He still loves me. LOL




  1. Missed you all last night! I got the first few berries off of my plants yesterday too! Mine were a little mushy... Not a bad flavor, just a little sour.

    Just looking at your garden is making me want mine tilled up... next year I suppose!

    I am going to be with Beth tonight since she is in town, so I won't see you then, but will I see you tomorrow evening?

    Love ya'll!

  2. Leah,

    We just got in from working in the vineyard.

    We need to process those strawberries before heading out to hunt mulch.

    I'm so glad you get to see Beth, but you will be missed greatly tonight. We all love you so much. :o)

    Next year! We are learning more and more all the time. Just think how great it will be when we get that commune! LOL


  3. Your hard work is really looking good. My beds are about 18" deep, but only about 10" above the path level. I bet things will grow splendidly in there for you!

    I envy you your strawberries! Only 2 out of 27 seeds sprouted for me. I'll have to try again. I guess strawberries are notoriously low germinators.

    I'm also trying the Banana melon this year. I bet yours will knock the socks off mine. Melons don't do so hot up here, but my oldest daughter loves that fruit so i am going to keep trying until i find a great one for my area, gardening style and microclimate.

  4. Icebear,

    I'm willing to bet your beds are going to produce way more than mine will. Yours have wonderful loam. Mine are heavily overwhelmed with clay. The height, once the earth settles, is vastly reduced in just a couple of weeks.

    I'm hoping that gradually I will be able to build up the soil, from the top down. Without more reserves, that's pretty much the only way we can achieve our goal.

    I was impressed by your efforts to grow strawberries from seed. Yes, they are surprisingly hard to germinate, and I'm not sure what you will end up with, as most modern strawberries are hybrids. Are they going to be wild berries?

    We have a lot of wild ones here, but they are certainly nothing like what we are used to eating. I have never had a desire to pick and eat one, once I had tasted the first few. LOL

    We'll see about the melon production. I can only hope the raised beds do the trick. I remembered the other day that I also lost my giant pumpkin from last year, and it was on a foot high hill.... Wouldn't that be awful to have done all this work in vain....? (SOB)


  5. Berries, how cool is that. Nothing like that growing here this time of year.

  6. Your son is a blessing and gives me hope for the future of this country.

  7. Rising Rainbow,

    Up in the Northern climes? Warmer weather is coming! :o)

    I come from an area that had a huge Arabian market. Here, I had to GIVE away an Arabian, and there were two others that no one could find homes for.

    I always wished I could load them up from here and take them back to California, land of the Arabian and the Quarter Horse.

    Glad you stopped by!


  8. Chai Chai,

    Thank you. I'm grateful for him and his close circle of friends, all of whom do the same for my hope level. :o)

    I stopped by your blog. My goodness, Becca is a cutie! I hope to have goats again one day.

    Thank you for stopping by!


  9. Wow-what an absolutely gorgeous garden!! I am going to re-do my strawberry beds this year, but so far am now sure how-need to do some research. I am always impressed by your son. You must be so proud of him. And thanks for your comment at my blog-I always love reading your them. Holly

  10. Holly,

    I've been thinking the same about our strawberry beds. After the first year, the production goes way down, and here I've not planned for new beds or plants.

    I don't want another bed, one is enough to care for... what to do, what to do...

    Like you, more research. :o)



  12. SM,

    Yup, you do! While picking, I am continually amazed at the wonderful bounty that a bed of strawberries is.

    Very little work, but such tasty and healthful returns. :o)



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