Thursday, January 14, 2016

Making A New Garden: Baby Steps

As qualities go, patience is not one I possess. I try. I really do. This whole moving thing has put me to the test. I want the process well under way, not a big chaotic mess riddled with delays. It is therefore a nearly spiritual practice to stop, breathe, wait, and tell myself "one day at a time, one project at a time, one box at a time." 

The garden has been something on hold for several months and I believe it's taken a toll. I knew that gardening is healthy in many ways, but I took it for granted that it was always there. Now it's not. I have to recreate it, and I haven't started at all. That's stressful.

Then I decided to simply do what I can. There in plain sight was the garden shed in a terrible state of chaos...a project that would at least get me outside on the few rare dry hours we've had this month.


This was the state of the shed after I took out the many many boxes moved and shoved into it a couple of weeks ago. It was worse than it looks.


 Here's a before shot with moving boxes mostly removed.


Trying to create a clean slate at least on the floor.


Four hours later. Sweet sweet organization. Deep breath.


Another after shot. Oh yeah...and I can fit both wheel barrows into that nice large empty space.

Everything has its place. See? That's Mason Bee Corner on the top right.


OK, so that was one baby step towards sanity. The next was getting the many hastily dug up plants from the old garden into a safer situation. They sat like this, chunks of soil thrown into pots for a couple of weeks during which it froze several times, and there was freezing rain and snow. Unprotected from the deer, too...simply covered up with a tarp during the coldest of the cold spell.


The green wheel barrow had plants thrown in as I ran out of pots at one point. They sat like that, potless, through freezing weather for longer than they should have.


So on a gloriously sunny January day this week I took another deep breath and found myself digging in the soil once again. Even though it is a temporary situation, it's a baby step towards the larger goal and it felt great. I got all of the above pictured plants into the raised beds of the former owner's veggie garden, home of what I affectionately call my plant prison. This is also where the many dozen never-been-planted nursery plants waiting to find their permanent homes at Chickadee Gardens live.



 There are six raised beds in all. I eventually cleared them of dead veggies and planted every square inch with my treasures . And yes, that's snow on the ground. It eventually melted, as did the semi-frozen soil. I had to wait for that to happen, too. Patience, patience...it's killing me.


 Oh, it felt so so good to see my familiar friends safely snug. Although temporary, these raised beds provide better protection than they had.


Not only was every square inch in the raised beds filled with plants from the old garden, as I ran out of room there, I also planted a few larger perennials out in the open fields beyond the protection of the plant prison. How daring!


For some perspective: Every one of these pots had at least one plant in them that I planted this day. Some had several. No wonder I'm gulping down the ibuprofen, those are five-gallon pots on the far left for scale. As David says, I'd better get my farm muscles going on.


While tidying up around the shed I did a bit of sweeping up and discovered a brick annex to its porch under about 6" of oak leaves. Score!


The next baby step this week. The reason for my nonchalant attitude towards planting out in the open fields was this: I knew that Fence Day was coming the very next day. Check out those posts on the trailer!


Oh boy! Ron from Statewide Fencing and his nephew showed up Monday morning. They had two big trucks and this beast. They are not only building the fence but clearing the way to do so.

David Note: As much as I like being known as a beast, Tamara is talking about the orange tractor behind me! 


Super nice guys who are very hard-working. Here's Travis working on removing the old gate post.


Here's our new gate!


While these strong men work tirelessly on our fence in the pouring rain, I feel a sense of relief coming one push at a time. The land was cleared Monday, the posts went in Tuesday and they will continue with the posts and fencing the remainder of the week. Once the fence is up I feel freer to start getting to the Big Girl steps of designing my dream garden and digging in the dirt.

 The bittersweet ending to this post is that two deer have come daily to visit us, a pair that are less and less afraid of me with every encounter. Remember the old pumpkins I brought out from the old house? I left them in the fields for the deer and they enjoyed a pumpkin feast every day. Yes, it's true, I've become quite fond of the deer, the very thing this fence is designed to keep out. Well. Perhaps I can feed them through the fence someday. I hope they don't take it personally, for gardens must go on.

That's it for this week's post from Chickadee Gardens at Blue Jay Lane. Thank you for reading and until next time, happy gardening (in whatever form works for you this time of year)!

18 comments :

  1. You've got many, many happy discoveries ahead of you I hope! What are the shed dimensions? It looks bigger on the inside. :)

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    1. I hope so too, Alan. The shed dimensions? I have to go measure, but it's easily twice as large as Casa Azul at the old house. I'm happy about that!

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  2. Lots to do but exciting times really :) congrats and good luck with the new garden!

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    1. Thanks you two! I hope you are getting in some gardening this season!

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  3. Can imagine you are so unpatient to start, but keep calm, you can work on it your whole future life, very exciting and fun.

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    1. Thank you Janneke, yes I must have patience :) You said it perfectly, I can work on it my whole life!

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  4. I understand your impatience but you've made great progress despite the weather! I love your shed. It has windows and a skylight! I'm so envious.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Kris. Yes, skylights, how about that? I love it!

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  5. Great start....enjoy the journey!

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  6. I have no patience as well, it's a curse! Outside looking in I can see how much you've already done, really! And as much as I'm not able to fully embrace these words....it's a journey, enjoy it! After all it's your forever home and you've got another 50 years to make it everything you want it to be!

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    1. Gosh, do you really think so? I mean progress? Journey, yes...I know. It's more than an 80's rock band. I have to keep telling myself I have another 50 years but you never know. I came into home ownership and all that late in the game so feel I have a lot of catching up to do quickly.

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  7. Wow, you've done so much already! So, forgive me if you've already gone over this, but how is the soil on your land? Is it pretty good? Thanks again for the updates, T!

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  8. SO exciting! And I TOTALLY understand the patience thing as you already know! I've been waiting 4 years to get started on my property. Getting closer though-- hopefully this spring. But just getting into the house is priority over the garden for now. Boo-hoo! So glad you got to do some planting even if it is just temporary. Can't wait to see it all eventually. Definitely enjoy every minute as you go along!

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  9. I've been in exactly the same situation you are in, chomping at the bit to start a new garden in the middle of winter, 6 years ago when we first moved here. So I know how you feel. You've definitely made some good progress!

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  10. The shed looks great! What a nice space to store things and work in. I hope your plants didn't take too much damage during the freeze and come back strong in spring. I can understand your frustration. I look around my parents' garden and think of all the projects and feel so impatient. But it's good that you're taking those small steps. You'll get there eventually. Hope your muscles get a chance to rest after putting all those plants in the ground!

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  11. Doesn't it feel good to get something done so that you feel like you're making progress? Baby steps are still steps. :o) Love the storage space in the shed. Lucky you. :o)

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  12. In 2014 the number of home gardens in the USA was at an all time high. Around the world there are more and more people gardening. My grandmother taught me how to garden, and that makes it such a wonderful experience for me. When I go into my garden to weed or check on my growth, I feel like I am spending time with her again.

    Kristina Cobb @ Dennys Lawn

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