Reclaiming the Land

Here be kale, romaine lettuce, and wildflowers.

Reclaiming the Land

This will be our third summer in our current residence. We have plenty of room for a garden. We’ve had good intentions to plant one. But two years ago we didn’t plan properly and then I tore a tendon in my ankle anyway. We were not up to the task of gardening. Last year we had a baby. There was no time to think about planting anything. So the weeds grew and grew and grew. And I cut them down but never seemed to keep up. This year I am reclaiming the land.

Taming the Wilds

I wish I could say I have fully subdued the land by now. I haven’t made as much progress as I had hoped. But I’m still on track. I need to get several things planted over the next week before I start falling behind the prime planting time.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:

I planted morning glory seeds along our front porch. There are two varieties: Crimson Rambler and Clarke’s Heavenly Blue. Of course, I want to call that Dick Clark’s Heavenly Blue. Most of the seeds sprouted and it looks like they are going to do well.

I planted two yellow rose bushes by our back patio. These are the New Day variety. Or as I think of them, the New Doris Day variety. One bush has lots of new branches and leaves already. But I’m concerned about the other one. No leaves yet.

I planted a raspberry bush. I would hardly call it a “bush” right now. It’s more like a stick. When I took it out of the package, half the stem fell off. But a few inches remained and the roots looked good. Every day I coax it along: “Come on, little stick. You can do it. If you have the faith of a mustard seed you can grow into a giant raspberry bush and fill the whole yard… And then I wouldn’t have to cut the grass anymore and we can cook raspberry pie all day and sell pies to everyone and they would be happy and I would get rich. Come on, little stick!”

I cleared out a corner of our back yard that has been nothing but jungle of weeds previously (see photo above). I hoed and raked and picked out stones. Then I planted kale and romaine lettuce with a row of wildflowers along the fence. Only I ran out of wildflower seed and couldn’t cover the whole length of the fence. I’ll have to get more seeds and remedy that. We’ve had some good rain lately and those seeds have begun to sprout. We will have plenty of greens for our Paleo endeavors.

Enter the Beasts

Lest I give to rosy of a picture, I will tell you that there is trouble in paradise. This trouble is in the form of groundhogs. There is no mention of groundhogs in the Garden of Eden before the fall of Adam and Eve. But I would bet my whole crop of kale that those critters became a thorn in Adam’s side real soon after things went to hell. These beasts love to eat gardens.

Last year I did plant sunflowers. I started them indoors and then planted them outside when they were a few inches tall and the weather was warm enough. The next day every single sunflower plant was eaten. Soon thereafter I saw a groundhog lazily eating weeds in my yard. Damn that beast!

I don’t feel real great about this, but I used a pellet gun to get rid of that groundhog last year. This year there has been no activity around the hole where he was living. However, there’s another hole at the back of our property this year. Again, not feeling real good about it, I put an end to a groundhog out back. I filled in his hole. But two days later another hole was opened near the same spot. So the battle continues and I continue to feel rotten about killing these critters. But I also don’t want my garden eaten.

Plans for the Land

I have two additional sections of the backyard which I intend to prepare for planting. I’m planning on planting corn, green beans, butternut squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, thyme, oregano, basil, and some flowers. These need to be done within the next several days.

In June I will be planting a good sized section of sunflowers at the back of our property. As well, there is another area near the back where I intend to plant pumpkins. It will be a great pumpkin patch and we will await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It will be wonderful.

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