Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 1 Gardening: Survivors and Casualties

The kids and I began our week of gardening yesterday.  We combined the two raised beds that I had and began weeding.  Autumn was more persistent than Sami.  Eli only wanted to dig into the dirt and throw it out of the bed.  My parsley that had survived the winter was one of his first casualties.  I also got the area mowed.  My friend Jenny came over to talk to me about our garden.  We talked about a lot of things, but the first big one was that I need to map the sun--which I need to run and begin right now.  

One of the main ideas from a book I'm reading, Dirt Cheap Green Thumb by Rhonda Massingham Hart, is to pick the right plants for the right areas.  One of the first things the book recommends is mapping the area of your garden as full sun/partial sun/shade.  It doesn't say to make a map hour by hour as my friend advised me.  She has taken that one step farther--after all how do you figure out if it's full sun unless you observe it and write down your observations?  I was glad to already have the idea in my head from the book and then have her reinforce to me how much it matters.  The point of mapping the sun is that if you don't put plants where they like to be, it will be a waste of time, energy, and money.  Put them where they want to be and you'll be happier--and so will they! 

I learned this last year when I put some hostas in a spot that they did not like!  They quickly withered and faded. Lesson learned.

So, that is my task today:  to map the hours of sun in different areas of my garden.
My other tasks are to weed my existing beds in front of the deck and make another trip to Lowe's for supplies to build my raspberry bed and the raised beds for the kids.  

I was surprised at how I was tired after 2 1/2 hours yesterday of hard work in the garden.  Wow!  What a wimp I am! I can't imagine how strong farmers from days of old must have been (and how strong their children must have been).

Book Note...we did open up the book I mentioned yesterday Kids Garden! and I learned why the tasks are so simply planned.  The kids listened to the circular poem I read them, looked at the page with the tools and their descriptions, and read with me what weeds are (my older daughter knew exactly what the definition was from her science!).  Then my older daughter began weeding and my middle daughter used the kids shovel I bought at Lowe's (a great investment for $4--not plastic) to help me move the raised beds closer together and combine them.  My 3 year old son wandered around and eventually settled into his sand box (after killing my parsley).  

Post Script...
I just looked out the window and realized that it is overcast.  I won't be able to map the sun today!  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for it.  I guess that is going to need to be delayed. But, it is supposed to rain and Dirt Cheap Green Thumb notes in the first chapter that you need to test how well the water drains in your garden (with an easy test) and I will likely be able to do that after today!


  1. Also, don't forget that your plants will create shadows on your other plants :) Have fun gardening.

  2. Yup! Planning on the short ones in front of the tall ones :)