much excitement in the spring garden

much to tell since my memorial day adventures...

got all the boxes planted, finally.  after the initial seedlings haul, i've been to two other nurseries to pick up "just a few more things".  oy.  it's like an addiction - just one more, i can fit it in.  but i think i'm done. i picked up a cool sweet bay plant along the way, and potted it for the patio.  i think i need one more pot of annuals or a potted fruit tree for the patio.  then i'll really be done.  really.

much excitement on the low-maintenance-ing of the garden front.  we (meaning hubs) forged 3 connected rain barrels from the 55 gallon drums i brought home a few weeks ago.  they are so cool!  why does free water make me so giddy?  we don't have the gutter diverter on yet, and they are already filled with just the rain we've had.  such a simple, cheap project that is so integral to the happiness of previously mentioned plant addict.  oddly, i loathe watering.  i love planting, weeding, staking, harvesting, but watering just sort of pisses me off.  and this video from the penn state cooperative extension office (shout out!), gave us the confidence to just do it.  easy peasy.

yeah, string of 3 barrels for 165 gallons of not-having-to-pull-the-effing-hose around happiness

connected at top and bottom

close up of strainer thingy on top

so the barrels, combined with this dope new drip irrigation system that the hubs designed, ordered and installed, has me so freakin happy.  all drip irrigation supplies ordered from fedco.  they are so helpful up in there.

inspiration for said drip irrigation system:  new portable speakers for the ipod, and the minutemen playing

drip irrigation checklist:  tape, hoses, fittings, coffee, blowtorch, cute hubs

and maybe the most exciting piece of news is that i have some baby broccoli growing!  i'm so proud (that i haven't killed it yet)!

variety = packman.  wocka, wocka, wocka, wocka, ...

my camera battery died after the broc pics, so i will have to take some pictures of the rocking patio garden for next post.  marigolds are coming up and are almost ready to be thinned and transplanted.  the borage is getting big and i'll probably move 3 of the 4 plants coming up.  the foliage is kind of prickly - not the best thing to have planted by the front door, perhaps?  [also, i saw some full-grown borage on a garden walk i took this past weekend, and i'm not a bit afeared of its size.  we'll see...]

scary-big borage plant - eeeeeeek!

my next tasks will be figuring out how i'm going to hold up the tomatoes.  cages?  trellis?  stakes?  i want something pretty and sturdy.  since this garden is front and center in our yard, i don't love the idea of the ugly cages, but i already have them, and i know they work.  i would love to design up something more rustic looking.  but i've read that some trellis systems take a lot of fussing.  something to obsess over for the next week or so.

and now for some inspiring pictures from the pocket garden tour i went on with my mom this weekend in portsmouth.  lots of fabulous ideas out there.  maybe for future revisions to our space.

cool idea for pathway = wood stumps on end 

love the way this rosemary is potted with another plant trellised over it

neat-o bench with tree/vine? up through middle.  nice and rustic-y

loved this dna-looking sculpture that housed a vigorous vine

um, hi, i'm a honeysuckle that blends oh so well with my neighbor the gorgeous rose.  what's your name?

friends are necessary in the garden

this flavor of osteospermum always attracts me.  they absolutely pop!

how great is this idea for garden sculpture?  i would have chosen different plants, but the idea is solid.

random ornate gate

mmmm, maple-licious!

i definitely want to work alliums into my perennial garden.  just love how they're so space-age looking

simple yet elegant staking for allium

hard to see but neat pairing of tree limb stakes - the farther one has a birdhouse on top

curved twigs as edging

this garden had a lot of "themed" beds:  tea, perfume, zoo animals, etc

"tea bed" complete with sun tea brewer
um, yeah, little person hang out idea or what?

grown-together hornbeam tree archway = drooooool

rustic archway = future entrance to the orchard?


a memorial weekend to remember

the hubs decided to take some major time off around the holiday weekend so that we could get this garden started.  we borrowed grampy's trusty ranger to get more lumber, and some 55 gallon barrels to collect rain with.  [borrowing the truck for the umpteenth time this spring prompted a major fight very important discussion between me and the hubs on getting our own truck.  that's in the works as i type.]

still life, with ranger

as i went out for the barrels, a local landscaper dropped 9 yards of rich, composty soil in our yard.  at least he charged us for 9 yards, but it's probably more like 11 or 12.

hard to tell scale, but there is a rake and a shovel on the right-most pile, and there are actually 3 piles.  sheesh.

hubs got to work building the one million raised beds.  we had hemmed and hawed about the material to use, but in the end chose to go with pressure treated.  especially since these are for edibles, we wanted to be cautious.  we got the kind with cqa, which has nothing on the epa action list, though there are no comprehensive studies on the long-term effects.  what a choice.  we couldn't really afford cedar, so we went ahead with it.  it's fairly simple construction - 2 2X6s on a side, corner posts of 4X4s, drilled and screwed.

the work room - hubs is particularly proud of his cord hanging innovations

boxes were made at a break-neck pace.  then set in their spot and leveled in all directions.

hubs leveling each one meticulously upon my command that they "not look wonky"

we put down landscape fabric across the bottom to slow the progress of rocks up through the boxes.  then i filled with the brown goodness.  i almost counted the number of shovelfuls for each wheelbarrow, and then wheelbarrow trips to fill each box, but didn't.  even i am not that big of a geek.  but trust me, it was a lot.

and shoveling, and shoveling, and shoveling...

the original plan had all the boxes lined right up, all pretty like.  of course that ain't real life.  there's a huge rock in the way, so the boxes closest to the house had to be shifted over.  of course those were the boxes that i had pegged for the strawberries, and those puppies were more than ready to be planted, having sat in our fridge since the fedco tree sale a month ago.  so we adjusted our plan, but had to move a ton of soil just to be able to fit in the other strawberry box in its new spot.  in retrospect, i should have just let the strawberries go in different boxes.  i'm so stupidly stubborn like that.

cute, neat "plan".  note:  straight lines, orderly boxes, humor

yummy variety of strawberry that we are now the proud parents of...yup, 50 plants

our blueberry box dimensions and position changed about 5 times

to the boy: "do you want to help?"
boy:  "no, i want to be the director"
i kid you not.

in maine, there's this half-joked about rule that you have to get your garden in by memorial day or else you're screwed, vegetably speaking.  the growing season is so short that you absolutely have to maximize the time those suckers are pushing out their spawn.  so i was actually a bit stressed about getting them in the ground.  tuesday, the day after the full-court press at all nurseries in the area, i loaded up on starts.  it felt amazing.  two kinds of broccoli, two kinds of cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bush cukes, sweet peppers, swiss chard, and tomatoes, including 10 roma, 8 slicers, and 2 kinds of cherry.  whew!

there's my girls!

teaching the boy how to plant a tomato - tool box required

before aerial
after aerial

tornado warnings (!!) prevented me from completing the last of the boxes today.  but i feel great that i pretty much made that memorial day garden deadline.  now hubs just has to remember to water them.