Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here's the dirt.....

(I used the Impatient Gardener book to figure out the best companion plantings)

I just can't resist gardening in bare feet. Something about digging my toes into warm, tilled soil makes me happy.

Yesterday was the Day of Preparation. Hubs and I built and set up two more raised bed gardens for veggies. We sawed and hammered and lined the insides with tar paper to try to preserve the wood. I tilled the soil where we were to set the boxes beforehand, and then Hubs dumped one and a half tractor buckets of good, composted sheep manure right in. THIS is good dirt to be sure! It will gradually work its way down to the bottom soil, making it more productive. We spaded it in and watered it down to settle the soil.

Today was Planting Day! The day to plant potatoes, to set in tomatoes and peppers and cabbages.It was the day to plant seeds: lettuce, carrots, radish, beans, peas, cukes, zukes, beets, onions, basil, thyme, and rosemary. Oh, it sounds like a lot, but you must consider that my beds are tightly sown. This is what I'd call Compact Gardening. It's a far cry from the field gardening that I used to do. It's all still a great experiment for me, but so far, I like the results -- especially less hoeing.

Potatoes fill 1-1/2 of the beds in the back of this picture. I've never planted potatoes in raised beds before so it will be interesting to see how many spuds these containers will hold.

I set ice cream pails around the tomato plants in the raised beds to protect them from the wind. Later on I will stake them. I used cages for the Whopper Tomatoes in the front garden. It's a regular garden, not a raised bed garden. I tipped the cages upside down, cut off the ends that are supposed to poke into the ground and made long staples out of them. I "stapled" my cages into the ground and lined them with tar paper to protect the tomatoes from wind and to soak up more of the sun's heat. Now to wait and wait and wait.....for those homegrown tomatoes.

These hands are the result of a day's work in the garden. My favorite soap for cleaning up is Kirk's Castile Soap. I like to dig my nails into the bar, suds up and then scrub with a brush to loosen all that grime from my fingernails and from the creases in my hands. I tend to have very rough hands this time of year from digging in the dirt and watering by hand so to smooth Gardener's Hands, I'm keeping a homemade salt scrub next to the mud room sink.

Salt Scrub

1/2 c. plain table salt or sea salt
1/3 c. oil (almond, olive, or any other vegetable oil)
Essential oil of choice (lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, etc.)

Mix ingredients into a wide mouth mason jar or plastic tub. Dip a little out as you are at the sink washing your hands. Rub and scrub long and hard to remove rough, dry skin. Rinse well and rinse the sink well too. This scrub can be used on rough feet, but can leave the tub or shower slick. Be careful.

Ahhh, I think I'll sit down on that bench and rest awhile and admire the tulips and daffies.


  1. Ahhhh. It looks like you've had a perfect day. I can't wait for this upcoming 4-day-for-me weekend. Forecast is for beautiful weather and I plan to spend it doing a lot of yardwork! Can't wait to see a shot of that garden in August!

  2. Jody,
    There's something wonderful about seeing your painted 'piggies' squishing around in that dirt. True femininity is not afraid to get dirty! Go girl! You are an inspiration.


  3. You've put a lot of work into your beautiful garden and I know you'll be blessed with a huge bounty of wonderful things. I like your tomato cage stapling idea and the scrub recipe is just what I need after working in my own tiny plot. Amongst other reasons, one thing I love about gardening is after all the hard work is done and you get a shower, and go to bed that night -- you feel like you've conquered the world. It's a good feeling of accomplishment.

  4. What are the plank size for your raised beds? 2x8x12? I am using some old railroad ties but they are sometimes a mess (creosote) and you need a chainsaw to cut them. We'll buy another (one was stolen) but the ties also ruin the blade. So, I think your way is better and looks deeper too.


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