Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden time!

So the forces of Socialist Fascism took quite and ass-whuppin' today at Natog's Sekret Bunker. I finally got my garden in the ground! HA! Take that you narcissistic asshats!

For those of you new to the blog, I'm doing Square Foot Gardening. In the book Mel says it's super easy, no work, just need a trowel, a pencil, and a finger for your tools. I'm calling bullshit on all of that! At least he didn't say it was cheap, because it sure isn't that. It's $10 a cubic foot of vermiculite!

It was a lot of work. Not only finding all the ingredients, but mixing them and building the box and all that hooey. My back will be killing me tonight for sure. His idea that little old ladies can do it is horse shit. Nana was pretty spry when she was still with us, but there is no way she could sling around 40# bags of cow poop compost.

I have a 4' by 8' garden to start, which needs 16 cubic feet of Mel's Mix - That's the SFG secret garden soil. It's 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. The compost has to be from 5 different kinds. I think finding the Holy Grail would have been easier than the damn coarse vermiculite! I tried six shops and even the internet with no luck. Then I find it in a garden shop that has a cafe in it! Bleh.

Then there is the compost... I found two kinds. That's it. I was going to scream blue bloody murder until the garden guy pointed out that the garden soils they sell these days are 90+% compost. So I got cow poop compost and seaweed & shrimp compost to start. Then I found open bags of all kinds of garden soil and looked at the open bags to see what it looked like it was composted from. I got a leafy one and a grassy-poopy one. I grabbed a twiggy one and that was it. No one has chicken poop or worm casings, I mean isn't that stuff like garden gold?

So today I built the frame out of 2 by 6 lumber. A quick aside on that.

I'm an bad man. I stole. I returned a few lag bolts and stuff to Lowe's probably $3 worth of crap. They gave me an in-store credit for a LOT more than that. Like I'm up to $45 on the little gift card they give you so far. I'm afraid to look how much I got left, actually. Now if this was a person or a small business I would have pointed it out, but since it's a corporate mega giant, I will relish it as I wrap my dick in coarse sandpaper and fuck them over for every mom and pop hardware store they put out of business! Ha ha!

So cutting one 2'x6'x8' in half I nailed it all together and attached weed control cloth on the bottom. then I figured and measured and tried to read some tea leaves to see where to put the damn garden. After wasting all the time I just put it where I built it and was done with it.

So let me be blunt about the cow poop compost. It was the texture of cured cement. Took me over an hour to break up half a bag. Then I had to mix it with all the other ingredients and get it into the box. Slinging around 40# bags of stuff I managed to pull my back out of whack. Just what I need. So semi-crippled, I shoveled the mix into the box. I must have spilled a cubic foot of the stuff in the process. Ugh.

I had a couple of food grade buckets so I drilled some holes in the bottom and put in some bricks and scrap masonry, bricks and rocks so they had 8" of room left, then filled them the rest of the way with the mix. These are for the two tomato plants. I was going to get pretty planters but my neighbors hate me so they can look at ugly buckets all summer. Ha! Next time you'll wave back instead of just staring at me fucker!

After filling all that I had some left so I put it in a lawn bag for later. It's all dry so I'm not worried about it rotting. I have enough for a small herb garden out front so I'm going to do that.

Now I went in for a beverage and some Tylenol and tried to get the kink out by leaning backwards over a chair. After that I planted my garlic. I know I should have had it in the ground already, but I got it in November and I didn't have a garden then... oh well we shall see how it goes.

We now need to have a moment of silence, my two cabbage seedlings got knocked over and trampled by the dogs. One has passed, the other is in seedling intensive care. The onions had a high birth mortality, 7 out of 16 wouldn't germinate, so with some quick transplants I have 13 onion seedlings doing well.

I was a complete dumbass last week and forgot to plant my peppers, so they are a week late. Oh well. As Mum would say "Build a bridge." I want two peppers so I'll plant 3 seed starters with 3 seeds each. I want two tomato plants, so I'll plant 4 starters with 3 seeds each. I really, really want tomatoes so I'm taking no chances. I'm also starting two kinds of lettuce.

So when Mel from SFG says "it's not a lot of work." He is lying out his ass. I am beat. This is work, so it better be worth it!


hotdogjam said...

Man - slow down. Take it easy.

For safety's sake - vermiculite is poison. Make sure you wear a mask. The dust can kill you. Also, if you drink booze/beer/wine you should never take Tylenol. It will fry your liver. Read the warnings on the label.

Now for gardening. You live in Mass. like I do.

There are warm season crops and cool weather crops. This is the time for cool weather crops. You should be planting lettuce, spinach, mesclun mix, other leafy greens, peas, radish and broccoli.

It's way too early for any warm weather stuff - tomatoes, beans, peppers, summer squash, eggplants.

Onions can take two seasons if you do it from seed. One year you plant the seed and you get little onions (sets) and the next year you plant the sets. The easy way is to buy onion sets. They're little onions. That's the way I've done it in the past.

All of my leafy greens I'll plant right out in the soil.

If you don't have a ton of sun and great conditions to start seeds you may want to think about buying plants. I buy broccoli plants in six packs. Ditto for tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.

Squash, cukes, melons and other big seeds you can start in the garden yourself or a few weeks early if you want to transplant them into the garden once they get started.

Cabbage & potatoes I don't grow because the stuff is so cheap anyways.

Because I have a small garden I concentrate on things that have high value - tomatoes, peppers sweet and hot, squashes, fresh greens, beans, peas, lots of herbs. Hot peppers are great to grow. They're prolific, dry easy and store a long time. Plus they're expensive to buy.

You gotta start composting yesterday. Just put a bag on your counter and put all of your veggie scraps, coffee grounds, shrimp shells and that sort of stuff into the bag then every day or two pile it up outside. Cover it with some leaves, lawn clippings and soil and you will be cooking up your own compost.

Also, don't waste your money on a bunch of crap. Join the Northeast Organic Farmers Association. This past weekend was bulk order pickup day. The whole association goes in to buy a big order of fertilizers, composts, bug killers, other supplements. Because we all order together we get a better deal.

My plan - last fall I spread my composts, added azomite and spread wood ashes over the winter. This weekend I put down black plastic to warm the soil. Next weekend I'll direct sow into the ground all of my leafy greens and peas. Then for the next couple of weeks I'll sow a couple more successive plantings of greens and peas.

Come the middle of May (we can gets frosts right through Memorial Day. Memorial day is our frost free day.) I'll buy my six packs of plants and put em in the ground. Toward August when things start cooling off again I'll plants more leafy greens and peas.

I don't have ideal seed starting conditions so I buy a lot of my plants because they are much healthier and will yield heavier than crappy, little, stretched, leggy plants that I start.


Mayberry said...

Nothing worth doing is easy.... Ain't it a bit cool yet for a garden up there? Anyhoo, good luck with it.