Saturday, July 23, 2011

Better Late Than Never: A Vegetable Garden

I sowed our peas and beans a few days ago. I know. You’re probably sputtering, “But it’s the middle of July.” I have wanted a vegetable garden since we first bought our home five years ago. We had lots of plans for the yard including landscaping, a vegetable garden, and building a couple of small walls. But our first two summers here, most of our effort in the yard was spent, unexpectedly, on digging up trash. We unearthed seemingly endless quantities of old lawn mower parts, rusty nails, and shards of glass from broken windows, as well as a seat, burlap sacks, and a gasoline tank. Our house, formerly a church, had been abandoned for nearly forty years and was for many, many years the town’s trash dump. Fortunately we didn’t do the major clean up and restoration – we wouldn’t have known where to start with the latter – but cleaning up the yard has taken some time. 

We started landscaping with perennials three years ago, beginning mostly with cuttings from family and friends. Two years ago we started digging out a small bed for our vegetable garden only to discover bedrock at a depth of 12 inches. Sigh, I guess that is why Stinesville is the "birthplace of the limestone industry." We planted our garden anyways, but discovered the location received too little direct sun. Needless to say, our garden failed to thrive. We had resisted building a raised bed largely because it wouldn’t be cheap to purchase building materials and soil, but because we continued to find small amounts of scrap metal, glass and other items immediately under the topsoil in the best area for growing vegetables (based on sunlight and grade), we finally decided this year to go with a raised bed. With a little help we were able to do it for free.

Garry reused limestone leftover from repairs to our home’s foundation to construct a raised bed, Garry’s sister and brother-in-law, co-owners and installers of Sandstone Creek, LLC, donated some dirt salvaged from a job, and we had the beginnings of a vegetable garden in mid-June. In early July I planted a couple tomatoes, a basil plant, and sowed some basil seeds. I finally was able to install a trellis Monday evening and sow the beans and peas. Tomorrow I’m planning to sow chard and I still have plenty of space to plant broccoli, cabbage, beets, lettuce and greens for a fall harvest. We won’t have our own produce until August or September at the earliest, but I love our garden!

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