Sunday, January 6, 2008

Spring in January

Well it seems I skipped over a month before returning to blog-world, but now that Christmas holidays and the New Year have been duly celebrated, I'm ready to continue. And no, those easter lily buds aren't here yet - those were snapped last spring....but, we have had an incredibly warm weekend for January here in the Ozarks - in the 60's yesterday and topping out at 70 today! So in spite of the gusting winds that brought us this warm air, I spent a glorious amount of time in the garden. I pulled up the gnarled, dead, dry tomato plants and heaped them in a pile to be burned on a less windy day. I gathered a few more seeds from the last lemon basil plant and then pulled it and other remainders, like the last of the marigolds, and piled in another heap that will likely be chopped and used for mulch. I started piling on some mulched leaves, only to find that the wind devils were having far too much fun with them, so I stopped after 3 bags full, covered those with the grass mulch we had accumulated at the edge of the garden, and called it good for now. Now that everything has been cleaned out, it won't be a big job, even on a cooler day, to finish the leaf & grass mulch to rebuild the beds.

I LOVE this Lasagna-garden method, as described in the book by Patricia Lanza. My daughter brought this book to my attention a couple of years ago, then bought me a copy as a gift. I've been using it as my guide ever since - and enjoying gardening immensely for the first time in my life. I went from a couple of tubs of dirt with a couple of leggy, and often-thirsty cherry tomatoes stuck in them, to a small but productive garden in 2006 - then to a garden 2x bigger with some 30+ tomato plants, plus peppers, basil, mint, onions, cucumbers, dill, catnip, spinach, mustard, lettuce, rosemary, eggplant, edamame, broccoli, squash and more in 2007. Next year I expect to double the size AGAIN - and add at least 10 new veggies/herbs to the mix. I have found satisfaction and therapy in gardening - and if you knew me, you would know that seemed very unlikely. Not that I didn't WANT to be able to grow things - every spring, along with the rest of the world, I would be bit by the gardening bug. I'd buy a few flowers and tomatoes from the nursery, they were lucky if they survived to the end of June...I just didn't have the desire to dig and weed and water for more than a few weeks. (Too much of it as a kid I suppose, when I spent many summer mornings hoeing, weeding, picking, and even canning from my parent's bountiful garden. I hated it then, and hadn't really ever considered it likely to be "fun" as an adult.) But here I am, digging, watering and fertilizing - watching for fungus, aphids, and other enemies - and loving it. For one thing though, I really don't have much weeding or digging to do - thanks to the mulching methods of lasagna-gardening - I spend more time chopping and gathering grass and leaves to mulch with . After the first year, I figured out that investing in some soaker hoses and multi-outlet hose connections saves a lot of time when it comes to watering. Now I spend more time enjoying watching everything grow, the wonderful aromas, and naturally the feast of delicious, healthy foods that I grow.

I faxed my seed order ($80 thanks to a thoughtful anniversary gift from hu
bby!) to Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company on Friday and am like a kid waiting for Christmas now! I know I won't even be able to start the peppers indoors for a few weeks, but that won't stop me from planning. There will be decisions to make on where to plant the rhubarb and the fennel, the tomatillos and amaranth - all new to me! But I can hardly wait for the chance to open a fresh bag of potting mix and start my 2008 adventure.

Now, where am I going to fit in all my other projects? Like the mosaic birdhouse, stepping stones and flower pots I want to do...or the re-purposing of an old bed into a porch bench, or an old window into a shelf to hang in our bedroom? I really must figure out how to retire early....:)

1 comment:

Christine said...

I got the Lasagna Gardening book out of the library today and am amazed. I am planning a large (for me) gardening project this spring and have been worried about tilling up all the grass. This looks perfect for me! (and I already have a compost pile)

Can you tell me if you've used this method in the spring for a summer garden. I've always thought that this was something you needed to start in the fall. Also, over time does the height of the garden reduce?

Thanks so much for mentioning this book!

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