Still too wet and cold for me to be planting my veggies out. This is a good thing, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. First, ask yourself: ever been surprised in your garden? I mean really, truly surprised. This was an experience I had to savor, like drinking orange juice after brushing my teeth, in the garden this week.
Yes, James, there was a tarp involved. My first thought upon glancing at the apocalypse in my garden (in the shape of shovels, trenches, gravel heaps, caulking, and foam board insulation) was “curses on the Y chromosome” as my teeth were being ground down to powder. Mostly, I was just frozen into place, part of me not wanting to believe what I was seeing. But I blinked and the carnage was still there. It has been mentioned briefly, everyday, for the last three months, to everyone under our roof, that we have a garden tour this summer. People are paying to look at our yard and a certain responsibility (and perhaps a touch of anxiety) goes with that. I want everything to look dynamite: gravel heaps and tarps are not dynamite, not even in Alaska.
My zombie-like demeanor (the raging, lightning quick reflexes zombie, not the slow, dull-witted, and knee-less zombie) must have tipped off the offender as to my state of mind, for their was a hurried explanation all while backing slowly away from me. The few words that penetrated my consciousness included something about the home energy rebate program, which we have been working on for our home. Basically, depending on how much more energy efficient you make your home, you can be reimbursed for your costs up to a certain amount. So we’ve been insulating, replacing old appliances, installing a new garage door, furnace, etc. The last thing to be done was to “slip” some rigid foam board insulation under the fireplace chase, accessed from outside the house. Apparently “slipping” the three-inch board under the fireplace frame involves massive earth moving. And even worse things, for a gardener….
Yes, take a deep breath or avert your eyes if you need to: you are looking at a fresh footprint in a garden bed, one of many. I have decided not to show the pictures of the crushed crocuses et al: too graphic. Mister Energy, as we shall hereafter refer to him, had the gall to stomp through the garden while I was watching. Shocking! I treated him to my best soil lecture, complete with references to the convenient rocks placed throughout the bed for any access needs. Mister Energy struggled with the reasons for hopping from rock to rock. I started in on pore spaces, oxygen, soil structure, compression of wet and silty spring soils, etc. Watching a 6’4” man leaping about the garden from rock to rock like Mikhail Baryshnikov was almost worth the previously caused damage. My only regret, no video camera. Any YouTube ballet dreams shall remain unfulfilled for now.
So moving on to alternate reasons for having a veggie garden. “Are those green things weeds, or what?” Some ornamental onions were growing (happily) in the gravel and had to be moved during the big dig. But where to move them? Most of the garden is still frozen any deeper than about three inches down. Enter the raised bed in the form of an empty vegetable garden.
As if there were another option. My holding bed for example, designed for those impulse purchases, has been filled for two years now. At this juncture, keeping a small corner of the veggie garden free for any other “emergencies” sounds like sensible insurance. The insulation was installed, the dirt was replaced (well most of it, Mister Energy forgot the three laundry soap buckets full of “bad” dirt in the wheelbarrow…you don’t want to know what he did with them), and the gravel re-laid. Project accomplished.
Then he hits me with: “do you think we need to repaint the house? We’ll have to put a ladder in the middle of this garden bed.”
Any surprises in your garden?