in the garden: june 4

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I had hoped to post this last night, but the evening just seemed to get away from me. My plan is to follow along with Heather and Amanda, and post a garden update each Thursday. Coincidentally, their blogs are among the first I began reading so long ago as I became aware of this slower lifestyle, and I still visit almost daily. Their writing and overall presence are incredibly calming, and I so admire the lives they’re building for themselves and their families. Take a look, if you don’t already follow them.

When we decided to pull the plug on Baltimore, whether the house had sold or not, I was so excited that we would arrive in Maine with time yet to get a garden in. I was hopeful that I would be able to plant directly in the ground, but that wasn’t meant to be in this yard. The earth is packed down hard, and seems to be of pretty poor quality.

Enter my “Handsome Fixer Man,” as Swee and I have taken to calling J. With his beloved Makita, and some salvaged lumber from our new basement, Memorial Day weekend ended with a new raised bed knocked together in the front yard, and a second plot staked out for later construction. I would much prefer to smother existing vegetation with cardboard and mulch, but in this case, I really wanted to get things moving and instead chose to turn the earth inside the box, sifting out the grass clumps. Sadly, I didn’t see a single worm.

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During the nine months J lived up here without us, he got to be quite close with his roommate’s family. Jason’s mom, Ms. Linda, took him under her wing and watched out for him, and we are so fortunate to have their family close by. One unexpected perk of the relationship is an unlimited supply of horse manure. We were able to take the truck over and fill the bed with rich, black compost from a hill that’s been mellowing for several years (I was pleased to see that we even relocated some worms to our yard). Their little homestead is a fun place to visit. Swee called out to each horse by name as we bumped up the drive, and was just tickled when the chickens bobbed over to check her out.

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I’m thrilled to have some veggies in the ground. I found the tomato and pepper seedlings at the grocery store, and at only $2.49 for each four-pack, I couldn’t pass them up. Two rows of carrots were direct seeded in the raised bed, while lettuce and arugula are planted in an adjacent box. The peas and onion seeds came from one of J’s coworkers, and are also in the raised bed. I decided to border the frame with zinnias, and am really looking forward to having them for cutting. The way the sun rises over the lake in front of us and then arcs over to the back of the house keeps this area of the yard in full-sun for most of the day. I’ll have to watch the moisture to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.

I definitely want to get the second bed built this week, and have a lot more to plant. My mother-in-law is sending me her leftover seeds – zucchini and squash – so I need somewhere to put them. It’s a small start, but it’s a start. I’m looking forward to watching it all grow!

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