Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Signs of Progress

I have a grand vision for the vegetable garden. I drew it out on graph paper almost two months ago. When it was finally finished, I wondered if I were even capable of bringing it to life. It requires careful measuring and marking, quite a lot of lumber, and a significant amount of physical labor. Normally, I am undaunted by such projects, but there's something that makes this particular project especially difficult--I have a full-time job now.

I am grateful for the job. After all, it gives me the ability to buy the lumber and soil necessary for building the garden, but it slows my progress almost more than I can bear. For the first two weeks after our neighbor had plowed the area for the garden, I really didn't want to see it. It felt too much like an indictment, a testament of my inability to manage my time wisely. I found it difficult to get started with the building, knowing that my incredibly slow pace would keep me from completing the project until next spring. But I reminded myself in a sort of persistent pep talk last week that it has to start at some point. So I picked up the lumber necessary to build one planter bed.

Here she is, Planter Bed #1.

I built it using untreated 2"x 6" lumber for the sides and capping it with 2" x 4" boards. Before anyone raises a big fuss, I do understand that untreated lumber will not last as long as pressure-treated. I'm an organic gardener, and I just don't want the chemicals from pressure-treated lumber in my garden. Instead, I treated it with a homemade olive oil and beeswax wood preservative. It's a bit of an experiment, but it's worth a try.

The bed is pretty large, considering the size of my planters in Orlando. At 4' x 10', it's more than double the size of anything I had previously built, but in the larger space, it looks really small. That just spurs me to build another planter this weekend to give this first one a mate and to balance out what is becoming the garden. 

One lonely planter in a very large field

The other problem that is driving me to build another bed so soon is that I already need more planting space. After we filled the first bed with a good mix of the garden's soil and some manure, bone meal, and kelp meal, I quickly went to work planting seeds for beets, sugar snap peas, radishes, and carrots. Now it's full.

The first radishes are peeking through already

A whole seed module tray is planted up, too, and with those seedlings starting to put on their first full set of leaves, they'll be needing a permanent home soon. That's why the second planter is first on the priority list this weekend. Well, that and the fact that a shipment of seed garlic is due to arrive next week. Things are getting a little urgent around here. 

Young seedlings in the market for a new home

So we may be moving along really slowly, but there are definite signs of progress in the garden. I'm sure that a year from now, I'll look at what we've built and be amazed.

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