We’ve been plotting this year’s garden expansion since last year. I say ‘we’ in the royal way of course. This year’s spring garden expansion is entirely my husband. From the newly built raised beds to the new strawberry barrel and the garden markers – he’s been a very busy fellow.
There’s the new strawberry planter, made from an old plastic barrel, cut-outs molded with a wine bottle and a heat gun. We’ve been filling it with plants being thinned from friend’s garden, although we may buy a few to finish filling in the barrel. The barrel construction was actually last fall’s project, as it took some time to form all those cups.
There are also two new raised beds that run perpendicular to the existing four beds. I got the idea of laying them out that way last spring after we added the teepee to the garden – I liked the concept of having different shapes and different directions in the garden. Pat’s also done some research and wants to try some new approaches this year, so he’s added some bent cattle panels to a bed that will hold squash and some taller bamboo structures that will support tomatoes. The idea on the cattle panels is that we can add netting to protect the squash from bugs – our last few squash crops have been a wash thanks to insects.
The beds have been filled with a blend of topsoil and composted goat manure from my friend Gail’s goat farm. He ordered another chip drop to be spread out on the hill to cover the grass, eliminating the need to mow around the beds. He’s also been working on new stepping stones to go out there while I’m plotting what plants in pots I’m going to scatter around. He’s also come up with a genius new garden marker made of wine corks and old metal hangers:
As you can see, his handwriting is far neater than my chicken scratch. He’s also insisting on labeling every row, not just sticking a marker in a general area where only I know what’s planted were. It’s like he’s trying to establish order in my chaos.
There is still much work to be done, although the spring garden is in – lots of peas and greens and some fava beans that are all starting to pop up. The squirrels keep insisting on digging up my peas, so I just keep planting more. Betsy beagle has done some garden watch, but mostly prefers to just lay there, soaking up sunbeams. She also likes digging into the beds to find herself some little goat poo ‘snacks’. The life of a beagle…
Meanwhile, the rest of the yard is springing back to life. The hellebores are slowly starting to fill in their intended beds while the Virginia Bluebells do the same in their neck of the back yard, along with may apples and trillium. The tulip magnolia was magnificent again this year, as was the cherry and now the dogwood is starting to open up. My peony patch is shaping up nicely and the bees are buzzing around the chickweed I can’t quite bring myself to pull up just yet.
Spring is my favorite time of the year – the time when the garden is so full of promise while also watching as plants and bees reemerge. There is much to discover – a volunteer hellebore at the base of a cedar tree in the back yard, a peony root I salvaged from a friend’s yard last spring, thrown in the dirt as an attempt to save it and then forgotten, sprang up in recent days, to announce rumors of its death were highly exaggerated. I begin gardening season with so many ideas of what I’m going to do this year and am delighted that my better half and his crafty self, are joining in for this year’s fun.