Every year or so it seems I have another project with a big learning curve. Some have been more or less successful long term – embroidery, knitting, running, learning the violin, and baking bread. Others have not stuck – yoga, meal planning, decorating, woodworking, etc.
I did well with flower gardening until my children were born and it got too time consuming to take care of two toddlers and keep up with the weeding and pest control. I still love flower gardening, but our new home was stripped of its topsoil during construction so that hasn’t gone well so far. I have no doubts that it will improve over time.
Anyway, this year’s current obsession is vegetable gardening. I attempted a small veggie garden two years ago, but the only thing that survived in our dreadful clay was the radishes. They tasted wonderful! However, despite backbreaking days spent preparing the garden by hacking up the earth with a pickax and amending the soil every which way from Sunday, nothing else thrived. Not unless you count the native meadow weeds that quickly reestablished permanent residence.
After lots of research, and talking with local friends, I have decided to put in a 4’x8′ raised bed and attempt the square foot method of gardening. In my mind, it’s gorgeous, and my family eats well all summer. Reality may prove me wrong. Although a number of friends till and amend with amazing results, I’m unwilling to try that method again. It’s hard enough to stay interested when things are going well. If I have another weed-filled failing crop, I might throw in the towel. It seems as if the square foot method might dispense a higher degree of beginners’ luck.
As if starting a garden weren’t difficult enough, I want to try composting too. Ideally, I’d like a compost tumbler, but constructing one is outside of my comfort level, and purchasing one puts me too far out of pocket. So it seems as if I will have to find a place for a pile. My husband will hate that. He’s generally tolerant of my crazy projects, but the appearance of the yard is important to him. The other trick will be to keep the rest of the family from adding random things into the pile that I don’t think belong in there. I’m approaching it a lot like a science experiment. The rest of the family will likely treat it like a trash pile. I may need to appeal to their more mathematical tendencies to help them understand my method.
It’s February, and I’m ready to get started. I hope to soon be able to start assembling supplies. Seed packets whisper promises to me from their pile in the kitchen. I still need to make a final determination where I want the garden to go, but that shouldn’t take long. Is it spring yet?