Thursday, July 9, 2009

Anybody need some squash?

So at the top of our giant hill is a small flat spot. This summer I decided to turn it into a garden, or at least try to. My gardening skills are based on walking by other people's gardens and trying to guess what they have done- not very professional. I have done some reading too, but not too sure I gleaned anything from that method. These are my steps for making your own garden:

1. find a spot that gets lots of sun and that you can water

2. turn the soil- this means pulling up all the stuff that grows there, and then, with a shovel, literally scoop up the dirt and turn it over. The weed-pulling is a sizable bit of work, but it does give a nice sense of accomplishment when all those useless weeds are conquered. At this moment I like to imagine the lush green, ridiculously productive garden that will be there in just a few short weeks. Then I pick up my shovel and start turning and cursing, regretting my plan for a 20' x 5' plot instead of a 2' x 3' plot. You can add a bit of supplement to your dirt at this point if you want- something in the powder form that you get at a garden place- but add sparingly, you can actually poison the soil by putting down too much. If you don't have supplement, don't worry about. The turning process aerates the soil and gets it ready for seeds or seedlings

3. mound the soil into a few rows- visualize a cartoon field with mounds, that is exactly what you are shooting for.

4. Plant your seeds! I buy seeds at the fancy garden store, at home depot, at the 99 cent store-- basically everywhere. Some grow, some don't and it doesn't matter where they came from. I follow the directions on the package for seed depth, but that's about it. I plant a gazillion seeds in a small space and figure I can thin them out later. You can plant seedlings in your rows, but give them space to get big because they probably won't die. For tomato seedlings always put a tomato cage around the seedling about the time you plant it- that way you won't harm any root systems.

5. Put the empty seed packets over little sticks at the end of each row- this way you remember what's planted where, and it makes the naked dirt look a bit cuter.

6. At this point I laid a soaker hose down my rows, and watered for about 10 minutes. If you're using a wateringcan, then just give the new seeds a good dose and cross you fingers.

7. In LA I water about 2-3 times a week, trying to do it in the early morning.

8. Sit back and watch your garden grow! Remove weeds- which is easier said than done because I often don't know what my seedlings will look like, therefor I error on the side of caution.

9. Figure out that something is eating all your seedlings and ask significant other to build a fence.

10. Harvest yummy veggies, and then two days later realize you're sick of squash and need to find a home for the twenty more pounds that are coming your way!

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