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Starting the Garden

garden_barn-site1

This is the third summer Alene and Bobby have put in a garden on this 1/4 acre back of the shop building, a little stretch of grass that borders the creek as the road starts up the hill.  They hadn’t gardened for several years, said it was too much work for what they got out of it; but for some reason they decided to pick it up again.  Bobby loves potatoes and onions and tomatoes, and his family always grew subsistence gardens in his childhood years.  I also think my constant mention of gardening in San Diego got them thinking it wasn’t such a bad idea for a couple of old retired folks, to tend to a garden and knock a little off their grocery bill.

The first summer, 2007, was a very dry one, and they went overboard with how much they planted, so they ended up pouring a couple of swimming pools worth of water into it – the water company actually called to ask if they had installed a pool, their useage had jumped so high!  But they got lots of Blue Lake green beans, corn, potatoes and tomatoes out it, freezing the beans, storing the potatoes in the shop and eating the tomatoes fresh.  Swore they weren’t going to garden anymore, though, with the watering being so costly, but you know how gardens are.  Like birthing babies, the pain and effort fades eventually and all that’s left is a hankering to do it again.

Last summer they planted some potatoes, tomatoes, squash and beans, keeping it down to a couple of rows.  I think they finally discovered a “right size” approach that gave them some fresh food without being too much of a hassle.  So, this year they’ve got potatoes, onions, mustard and turnips in again, with some tomatoes growing in pots up by the house, and surely some summer vegetables will make their way in sometime this month.  I’m very happy they’re gardening again, and enjoying it.  

Alene wrote just this morning that the potatoes and onions are up and looking good, despite the cool weather and rain.  She’s measured 18″ of rain so far this year.  Granted, it’s the rainy season, but that’s still quite a lot of rain for four months.  The garden site is well-drained though and gets good sun throughout the day, so it shouldn’t set anything back too far.

I’ll put my kitchen garden somewhere else when I get there in 2011, as this scrap of relatively flat land is destined to have a small barn built on it and paddocks fenced for the horses, so they’ll be close at night while I’m living down near the road in the little house, working and building the barn up on the hill.  It’s a fair stretch of road to the top, and I don’t like the idea of my critters being up there at night so far away from the watchful ears and nose of the farm dog.

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