Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Presidents

What is better than a three-day weekend in spring, I ask? Nothing, except maybe a three-day weekend in late spring. Or early summer. Or late summer. Hmmmmm, I guess three-day weekends, regardless of when they come are, are pretty great.

I particularly enjoyed this last one (courtesy of a few of our more famous dead Presidents). I spent much of my free time this weekend either cleaning up in the yard or buying things for the yard.

Although I love to work in the yard, I have never been much of a vegetable grower. That is too bad and at times has felt like a borderline act of hypocrisy on my part considering the amount of time I have spent reading books, blogs, and web sites about the benefits of growing your own food. I'm definitely one of the converted but I had never gotten around to growing much except for a tomato plant and some bell peppers last summer.

The problem is that we have a small suburban back yard and my wife doesn't really like it when I get big ideas for things to do in the grass. She already thinks I've taken up too much of the lawn and refers to my projects and maintenance as "lawn beautification"! (A subject for another blog post for sure.) But I do have a young daughter at home and I do want her to have some soft surfaces to play on. What fun is a childhood that doesn't include the chance to run through a sprinkler? So I think what grass I have left should stay (for now).

As a result, my grand plans for raised bed vegetable gardens will have to wait a decade. In the meantime, I'm going to try planting some vegetables here and there among my perennials and a few more in whisky barrels and the rest will go in the new above ground vegetable garden kit that I purchased and assembled this weekend:

It is a bit smaller than I would have liked thanks mostly to the slanted sides. I am worried that many of the things I would like to grow won't have enough root space near the side walls. But I am trying to take solace in the square foot gardening idea and we'll see how much I can squeeze into this cedar box of mine. It will be a learning experience and no matter what level of success I achieve, it's a small step in the right direction with the bonus of not taking up any of our grass. A win-win, I think.

I took my little girl with me to the nursery this weekend. One of the best parts of our outing was showing her around the ground cover section. She loved the flats of Irish moss. "They look like carpet squares," she said excitedly. She just kept rubbing her hands over them and smiling at me. It's a real treat getting to see a child excited about a plant.

She also helped me pick out the pot for it. I think she did a nice job.

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