I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another season in the garden

It seems that last weekend was probably my final opportunity to finish up all of my planting projects for the year. As soon as spring allows, I start mentally preparing the vegetable, fruit and herb layout of our small garden. And as I get the okay from Gregory to tear up yet another portion of our yard, I am outside pulling out grass and salivating over new broccoli seedlings or tulip bulbs. I treat these plants like children - and while they are rooting, I stand defensively guarding them from my real children as they play. I love being outside in the dirt, digging and seeing the instant gratification when every morning, all my little green friends have grown - even if it's just one new leaf. So I'm sad as the cold finally sets in, that I'll have to wait until spring to plant, and then pick, fresh foods from my backyard.

We've lived in this house for three summers now. Our home improvements are well-timed with the seasons. In winter, we focus on painting or building shelves or moving our couches yet again to find the best arrangement. During the warmer parts of the year (and I can't say spring or summer because Pittsburgh is so ridiculously unpredictable), we abandon the inside and focus on the ongoing outdoor beautification project.

The first summer was my first experience with my own garden - I totally overcrowded the space, had vegetables nearly strangling each other for sunshine, but I felt so damn proud the first time I spotted a zucchini! I also transplanted some hostas and my favorite lily-of-the-valley from my mother's house.
We also planted a tree for Ayla - shortly after her first birthday. I was relieved in spring when it bloomed and we knew it had survived the winter!
A mystery garden helper, who could it be?

The second year I got a little bit smarter and sprouted seeds indoors before planting outside. However, I certainly over-planted again. No one needs more than one or two zucchini plants. I obsessed over painting the lower brick (see above picture for it's previous ugliness) wall a more appealing blue. I hovered over the garden 8 months pregnant- trying to get everything planted before Jackson was born. I did a pretty good job, especially since the little boy waited until the day before his due date to arrive. His frequent newborn naps were also helpful in giving me time to weed and harvest!

I would post pictures of the garden with Ayla - but she's butt-naked in all of them!

And this past year, I finally started to benefit from the perennial growth of rosemary, chives, parsley, tomatoes, strawberries, clematis, etc. We added a hydrangea in the front yard and many, many bulbs that we'll hopefully see next year. (Thanks to Gregory for tackling that project with both children running around). I learned to put birdwire over the strawberries - and we finally got to eat some of them. Every time I had found a berry last year, I would turn it over to find it half-eaten.

I planted new herbs in the garden (duh, plant them in the ground so they grow back instead of in pots every year!) - it took me three years to figure that one out. Erin hooked me up with her ridiculous supply of mint from her yard. And our friend Amy was always dropping off excess plants from her job - thank you!!! We now have a handsome fir ornamenting the corner of the herb garden and many, many pretty plants that I can't remember the names of!

In May, when it looks like I've properly spaced...

And in July, when it's so obvious that I have not...

And finally, I had grand plans to plant another tree in honor of Jackson's first birthday... but that never happened. Gregory set up trellises (is that the plural?) along our neighbor's ugly fence to hide their ugly house, and planted grapevines. We ate just a handful this year, but I've decided that we'll dedicate the vines to Jackson instead of a tree.

Until next year, it's inside gardening projects for me.

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