29 March 2011

Previewing the Uncorporated Garden 2011

I will never again take for granted having a piece of land in which to grow food. Discussions of health, convenience, and food security aside, it's just plain fun to go out and dig in the dirt. And if I'm going to dig in the dirt (sorry - the soil), I might as well get something productive out of it beyond just pretty flowers.

As a family, we have lived in four places over the last six years. When my wife and I started out, we had a "garden apartment", which allowed us a small garden on the north (!) side of our unit. We got lots of shade from the surrounding buildings and the garage, but I think we managed to eke out some flowers. I remember specifically having some spectacular (for us, anyway) sunflowers that were the result of some forgotten birdseed.

Just before Isaac was born, we moved closer to my workplace at the time. We had a second-floor apartment with no garden space of our own. It did have a balcony, though, that overlooked an ecologically-poor stream (but it was so nice to have the sound of water outside). We had a couple of container gardens out on the balcony (north-facing, again!) in which we grew flowers and a family of ducks.

During our 18-month housesitting adventure, we finally had a decent plot of land (just shy of an acre), but it wasn't ours, so instead of ripping up the acre of golf-course grass and planting veggies, I got the privilege of mowing and mowing and mowing and mowing and mowing. For the record, grass is (mostly) evil. Just sayin'.

If only he was really cutting the grass!

I stuck a few spring bulbs in the flower beds, and had a container of chives, but beyond that the gardens were fairly ornamental. I suppose I could have done some significant container gardening, but my work schedule never permitted me the time to get it organized.

Here in Saline, we have garden space on both sides (south and north) of the townhouse, and even a raised bed that a previous resident constructed. It had rhubarb and ornamentals when we moved in; the back garden bed had hostas, century plants, and others. I like rhubarb, but I'm the only one, so in the larger interest of starting fresh, we cleaned out the beds and did our own thing.

Someday, I'll have enough space (and construction capital) to build an herb spiral, but that will have to wait a few years.

Herb Spiral illustration from The Saturday Evening Post

Next time: Last year's efforts and this year's plans


We are ostensibly homeschooling our two kids (ages 2 and almost-5), although it's been rather informal so far. We are however seizing opportunities as they arise to reinforce reading, math, and other basic skills, with the hope of laying a solid foundation for when we ramp up a formal curriculum.

This garden update is part of The Homeschool Village's Garden Challenge - we will continue updating through the growing season.

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