Thursday, March 5, 2009

Poised for spring...

As the New Year of 1977 came and went, several things happened.

First, we built a pen by putting up a chickenwire fence in one section of our spacious basement, under two windows that let in some sunlight. We filled it with straw and shavings and looked forward to the birth of the first babies, in early March.

Second, we planned our garden. Our property was somewhat narrow and quite deep. We wanted the garden near the house, but we also wanted to leave plenty of room to play frisbee and baseball. We needed to figure out the area we needed, and after much discussion decided to have 3 gardens. (Why would we want to start small? Had we ever started small?)

The First Garden, as we called it, was for the regular things that would be used in the kitchen every day: spinach, peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, all the regular vegetables. It was perhaps 12x20. It was to be dug in near the side of the property, about 3 feet in from the property line.

The Second Garden was for perennials, because we wouldn't want to have to plow there in the future and disturb them. These foods included jerusalem artichokes and asparagus, to begin with. The size was huge, maybe 16x30. It was behind the first garden with plenty of space between them for wheelbarrows and walking.

The Third Garden was for big long-season plants, like watermelon, corn, and squash. This one was about 40x40. It was down behind the goat pens, nearly out of sight.

That seemed like enough.

We had read about organic gardening techniques, but not about any intensive methods. What we knew was from childhood, and consisted of:

planting in rows
spraying with a hose

So that was the plan.

Then we thought with all that plowing to do we needed a rototiller, and after much discussion spent a great deal of money on a Troy-Built.

We bought the seeds and they arrived before the ground could be worked.

The does were all bred and growing fat and the milk supply was drastically diminished.

The snow was beginning to melt. Buds were appearing on trees and crocuses and daffodils appeared. Everything was filled with promise.

The arrow was drawn back. The days grew subtly warmer. Ready, set....

No comments: