Friday, September 17, 2010

The Spring Garden




     The seed was planted just before Valentines Day. This year John and I decided that the best gift we could give each other was a vegetable garden. We have been working so hard to make intelligent decisions about our food choices and have been encouraged by the results. The natural progression of that effort is to know where our food comes from and to make sure that we eat as cleanly as possible. We have been spending some time learning about how food gets to our table and the information has been disturbing to say the least. In a perfect storm of health consciousness, consumer awareness and Valentines Day we were inspired to plant each other a garden. We wanted to forgo the candy hearts in favor of nurturing our physical hearts.

     We decided to construct the beds of cedar, which is a far more durable material than pine. We set about building our prototype. After the initial wood purchase I calculated just how much these beds would cost and I knew there was more I could do to make this project greener and more economical too. After several calls to scrap wood businesses I was given a great lead on some used cedar. I called a local fence company and excitedly related my garden plan to the friendly and patient voice on the other end of the phone. I asked if there was any leftover, older wood that could be had at a bargain price. She must have liked my idea because within the day she called me back. She said yes, I could for a fraction of the retail price come down and load up as many boards as I required. Not only did this save us money but, I felt good about using the unwanted wood and giving it a purpose in my project.

     Last weekend in the spirit of an Amish barn raising we had our friend Jim over and he helped John create our Vegetable beds. John and Jim brew beer as a hobby and we wound up with enough extra wood to create six small planting boxes for their hops, a small planting box for my mint crop as well as a four foot square garden for Jim to take home. It was great to know that Jim to would be planting a garden for he and his daughter to enjoy all season long.

    It was now time to think about filling the vegetable beds .Our yard is comprised of thick clay where soil should be. This clay sprouts the weeds that fight the grass for dominance in our yard. I did some research at our local nursery and as luck would have it the manager had a real expert knowledge of vegetable gardening. John who is also quite an experienced gardener spoke with him about our options and which choices would be best for this project. We discussed and settled upon what we would and would not need for the optimal mix. The staff was able to recommend a local supplier for vegetable bedding mix that was located just down the road from our home. I was overjoyed that this process was moving right along as I in my excitement had already planted a garden of seedlings that would soon need a permanent home.

     As we planned to contact the soil company we were asked by our neighbors to include them in the plan. They were also preparing a spring garden and suggested we share the delivery fee and get the soil at the same time. We were glad to include them and I was pleased that this little project of ours had yet again been a benefit not just to us.

     I love it when two hobbies collide and both are made more enjoyable by the collision. For sometime I have been embracing twitter, the popular social media phenomenon. I find it a way to connect with people who share my common interests. I have developed several twitter friends who also garden and have given me more helpful hints than I could ever have wished for. I will always be especially indebted to Lisa and Jan for all the kind advice and camaraderie they have shown me. Many of these twitter friends have been gardening for years and have embraced this newcomer to the soil with kindness and friendship.I love that my garden project has put me in touch with such a great group of friends.

     The weekend had come and it was time to fill the beds with our newly acquired soil. We woke up excited and energized only to find five inches of snow blanketing the yard. We laughed at the irony of a snowstorm on the first day of spring. As the day passed it warmed up enough to fill at least two of the beds before dinner. I sit here at the end of the day with my garden project off to a wonderful start. I’m reflecting on how many people have been a part of this new project of ours and as the garden continues to grow I think about all the good it will do for our health our hearts and our souls. It has done so much for us already before the first seed had been planted.

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