Friday, March 12, 2010

Ahhh, visualisation...

I just finished mapping the garden out, stakes and surveying tape.  Now i know i drew up plans for a 20x30' garden... but i could not resist taping it out 25x30'. This would give me an extra row to work with and if hubby is ok with it i will be happy. If he wants an extra row of lawn i can let it go i guess... but the little bit of lawn we do have tends to tire him out mowing... he's a very smart guy but he works at a desk and he can't do a lot of physical labor even though he is willing... so i really think that he is going to almost regret having a wider expanse of lawn to mow. He may almost "order" me to plow more of it into garden space by the end of this summer.  But then, i have to be able to handle gardening myself. This disabled leg of mine is going to give me trouble. Just taping out the dimensions is going to have me eating Tylenol like candy.
I plan on mulching deep to discourage weeds and i'm going to have to work my 11-year-old like a rented mule this summer. lol

Ok, so here are the pics:

I did not include the plot of JA's in my dimensions, since i didn't plan for them before i planted (it was kind of a rush job) and i need to bed some asparagus between that plot and  the taped off garden.
The garden is 7' forward of the back fence and i didn't measure the distance from the side fence next to the apple trees.

now i need to decide which beneficial herbs  i might start today
Oh i can't wait to get this going!

Hubby came home this afternoon and he looked at the area i taped out and he's fine with the size,  he had expected me to take over much more than that so we have a pretty good balance. There will be plenty of room left for his intentions and also for the kids to enjoy.  When i was a kid i considered my parents' garden a part of my play area, i spent a lot of time in it.
So this means one more full row in the front since i am going with the lengthwise row setup.

Changing weather... and a Basset on the horizon...

There may be a Basset Hound in our future.  The Basset is a 4 or 5 year old ladydog named Molly. Her owners are divorced and her family can't keep her. Her family are the nice neighbors across the street. They asked us last night if we'd take her, so the hubby and i decided that we would be willing.  So i spent a good deal of time last night researching the Basset.
Now i wouldn't say that i am not a dog person, but i admit i am much more a cat person... and a Basset is a very dog dog.  Molly is a good dog, so i think things will go well once the cat adjusts. My only concern is that if we are taking the dog it needs to be permanent, i don't want to end up being expected to relinquish the dog after a few months or years of bonding and ownership expenses, only to have them expect us to just hand her back.  My youngest daughter will grow up thinking of Molly as if she has always been ours, it won't be fair to take her away. A similar thing happened to my sister when she was little and 30 years later she still remembers it sadly.
So i do have to be sure that this won't happen, not that i expect it to, they have always shown themselves to be decent people, but emotions change things...

As a side note- and this concept makes me giddy (so i keep repeating it over in my head, almost savoring it)...  i may have found my solution to the woodchuck issue! 
Her simple presence and occasional lunge in their direction might scare the dickens out of them and the scent of her presence i hope would keep them away.
Of course just having a dog again will be nice even if it makes no difference to the 'chucks. I was raised with Shelties, so this will be different indeed. Shelties are a dignified and fastidious breed,  Bassets are.... well, let's just say they are not. lol

And now for the weather...
Well...  its supposed to be partly cloudy today, but they keep changing the forecast on me for the weekend and next week. Yesterday evening they were expecting 50's  next week, and now maybe 40's and overnight lows in the 20's...  this should be ok since i have no sprouts in the WS containers.  This i understand is the point, that the seeds don't sprout too early.  Its keeping them cool right from the start which is the key. I guess if there is too much of a freeze after they sprout, that is when the problem arises.  I do have a heat mat that fits inside the mini greenhouse. If we expect true freezing weather i might plug it in on an empty shelf and hopefully it will warm just a few degrees to ward off the worst ice crystals.

Here is a simple site on row sized hoop houses:

I might try the PVC pipe method this year, i understand the PVC will break down sooner rather than later, unless painted but i will simply have to cut a few corners where i expect to run out of time quickly.  I have tried to find the clips for the covering, but if i am looking in the right places, the things are priced a bit too high for what they are. I have a large amount of somewhat stiff vinyl tubing, i have a feeling a few short lengths of that with one side cut through will make a reasonably secure clip.  I'll have to get some material together and play with it.

The plan for the garden is to almost literally "install" the soil that the plants will grow in.  My dad has been building a large compost pile in the last 10 years or so of grass clippings, pine and deciduous leaf litter.  This is what we plan to use for the garden.  I am wanting him to dig the shape of the garden out of the existing dirt- which is mostly builder's sand and gravel and then back-fill it with a few large loads of this compost material.  The dirt from the hole will be used to level off the rest of the back yard and fill in some of the washouts.  The compost will be tilled in well (with our own great kitchen scrap compost and my worm bin's black gold) and then i will get the hoop houses installed ASAP.
I have no idea if this can be a one weekend project or how soon it can be done, my parents do have other things to do around their own home. lol

I am really hoping to  get things ready to plant under the hoops before we go to camp on Memorial weekend.  We may have to rethink our standing plans on that since we may have the dog by then and the campsite used to allow dogs- which would have been great, but some irresponsible butthead messed it up a couple years ago.
So my dilemma is whether the plants will be safe from woodchucks in the hoophouse and i'm not sure we will stay the whole weekend on account of a new family member.
Since the entire family goes to the same camp, it will be difficult to either find a dog sitter or for someone to look in on her at least 2x a day. 

But the real rush is going to simply get the plants out there so they don't linger in the flats either getting leggy or too demanding of water or needing to be moved in and out of sun and shelter.

Off to do more dog and garden research!