Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Starting a new year

This isn't the first blog I've started, nor will this be my first year of gardening, but I'm determined to do a little better with both this time than I've done in the past. Somehow the blogs always slip through the cracks; the gardens kind of do, too, because I've never quite made a plan that incorporated the patience you need to see these things through; I always rush to get to the end, and of course there really isn't one for blogs, or gardens. So I hope this blog, this garden, will be an exercise in tolerating non-completion for me, and that I'll learn to live with things that are works in progress. This blog is intended mostly as a journal for my own reference, although I hope other people will read it, too.

Last year I thought of a hundred things I'd like to do with the yard here. I didn't end up doing many of them, although I did manage to dig out a bed and plant a climbing rose and catmint in it. This year I'm trying to limit myself to that bed and two more projects: a square foot vegetable garden, and planting a perennial bed out front.

The vegetable garden is the most important. Last year we joined a CSA, Needle-Lane Farms, and it was wonderful. If it were in the budget this year, I'd join again in a heartbeat. Since it's not, though, I'd like to try to tailor our produce supply a bit more to what we actually use. This is the garden I'm actively planning right now, and what I'm really excited about. With only the two of us, I'm going to start with just one four foot square bed. My thinking is that something so small won't be terribly overwhelming, but it will provide us with enough to eat and preserve. I really enjoyed canning applesauce and pie filling last year and hope to extend that to pickles and tomato sauce this year. There's something so pleasing about seeing rows of jars all lined up and knowing you made the contents yourself; even more true, I think, if you grew those contents from seed.

I tried to fix up the front bed last year, but ended up just planting it with a lot of petunias. If the vegetable garden takes up most of my budget this year, that may happen again. What I'd like to do, though, is get a perennial garden set up out there. Our neighborhood isn't exactly brimming with examples of fantastic landscaping, so I guess I don't feel pressure to do so; it would just be nice to have something nice to look at when I come home. The biggest problem is that there are two big shrub stumps out there, and my attempts at removing them haven't been very successful. Perhaps I can enlist my husband and an axe and have another go.

At any rate, sitting here in February and looking out the window at the back yard, I feel excitement about the possibilities for this year. The vegetable garden, particularly, seems like it will be a wonderful thing, the root of so much that's positive. I've learned that the real world rarely corresponds to the elaborate fantasies I create about it, but I really do think this will be a good year for gardening.

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