- Posted April 25, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From garden to table
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
I'm retired and have never done a garden before. I tried pots of veges and a row of beans that my dad planted for me, but never a garden on my own.
Daddy died a few years ago at age 97, so I will have to channel his wisdom on this high altitude garden at 6700 feet. The okra and watermelons that he grew may not work here, but I have other ideas to try. I have a small raised-bed plot between log cabins.
This is an adventure for me, as I have only been here for one year and know that summers can bring a variety of weather conditions at this elevation in the Rim Country of Arizona. I'm excited!
Ok. I stained the wood lightly so that the garden would look better (my neighbor's idea), then started turning over the existing dirt and removing rocks and pine needles. That's when I found all the cat poo. I tried not to be grossed out, but I was really not happy with that finding. A trip to the local hardware store to look at vege seeds and flowers took my mind off the horror of the situation. A helpful clerk there and I chatted about plants and I broached the subject of cat poo in the garden. She looked at me like I had just fallen out of a tree and hit my head. Her kind reminder about cow, elk, deer, squirrel, and birds having access to the fallow garden did sort of bring me to reality. She said just clean it up, add good soil, mulch, fertilizer, and get going. She added that I need to protect my growing garden from critters as I go along with the project. I'm looking at asparagus, chard, and some flowers. I wish the raised bed was higher off the ground. Still back-breaking as it is, but maybe next year.....I planted one tomato plant, grape size, in a tall pot by my porch, because it seemed right to do that!
We had a few days of cold and wind, so I didn't work on my garden, but this past weekend, I was back at it. There are 8 sections and I am taking each section separately and prepping it by adding all my daily coffee grounds and egg shells to each section, along with new rich soil and mixing well.
Then I planted asparagus plants in 2 of the sections. The label on the package had directions, which I followed exactly.
The asparagus plants came in a mesh package and looked like dried shrimp with long legs or beige spiders. Much different than I thought they would look. After all, asparagus is so lushly green and plump. They sure start out ugly.
A friend loaned me a Garden Tips book and it said to cover the planted area with ground cloth to keep weeds down around the plants, so the picture will show the cloth, a slit cut into where the asparagus was planted in a trench, and then twine back and forth from little brads that hopefully will deter the local feral cat. It's now been a few days since I began the process and I'm more hopeful that this will actually produce edibles.
Gotta get more bags of soil, so I cleaned out 3 more sections of all debris and undesirable matter, then covered the sections that await new soil with black plastic bags held down by short sections of 2X4's. The hot sun will heat the soil and kill some weeds, hopefully, as well as keep critters out for a few days. Maybe running out of soil is a good thing, since it might stagger the growth pattern of the asparagus plants. There are 2 more to plant this week. But I have no clue if staggering their growth is a good thing or not. It's just the way it is!