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What’s Happening in My Garden – February

GardeningBooks

I’m pretty excited that, despite what’s going on in the rest of country weather-wise, spring is already in the air in the NW and I can think about my garden. We are in a new house this year with a little over an acre to start filling with color and nummy edibles.

It’s hard not to be overwhelmed … this property is pretty much a blank canvas and there are SO MANY blackberry bushes to contend with! Basically the previous owner sculpted out a lawn (thank you very much on that part at least), but did very little in the way of thinning out the perimeter bushes and brambles or planting anything with color.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks pouring over gardening books, making plans, thinking about what plants and flowers I want, where to put the veggies, where to put the roses, etc. That’s a great way to pass the final grey, rainy, dreary days of NW winter and hurry on the arrival of spring. But the past several days of sunny weather (hooray!) have enabled me to get out there and get my hands dirty and really start figuring out what I want to do. My regular daily work often tends to be kind of cerebral and I’m behind a computer a lot, so gardening is my therapy … it gets me into the fresh air, working with my hands, and thinking about color and flower and plants instead of words and ideas and books. I really need that.

I think if I create a series of small gardens instead of thinking about the whole yard at once, it will be less overwhelming. So at this point I’m going to focus on three areas and go from there. Below is a BEFORE pic of the one I’m starting on first; it will be exciting to see how it looks come summer!

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Oh, and here’s something cool (at least I thought it was). I just learned you can test your soil ph with a simple home test.  Scoop out soil from several spots around the yard and put a few tablespoons of it in bowls (test one section at a time because you may have different ph levels in different parts of your yard). To one bowl of dirt, add 1/2 cup of vinegar.  If it foams, your soil is alkaline. If nothing happens, add a little water to the second bowl, then add 1/2 cup of baking soda.  If it foams, your soil is acidic.  If nothing happens to either, your soil is neutral!  Of course this doesn’t give you a specific number, but for my purposes this was good enough to tell me what I need to add to the soil or what plants will do well in that spot (or not).

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Here’s the promise of things to come … really looking forward to spring. I am thankful the previous owners at least planted one daffodil and some pink hyacinths to greet me this month! 🙂

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Garden’s In: My Fresh Perspective on Rain

Funny how quickly I can turn from an I-hate-rain attitude to an Oh-joy-it’s-raining attitude. Maybe I garden just to save my sanity here in the rather waterlogged Pacific Northwest. Nonetheless, waking up to raindrops is a whole lot less depressing when I know it’s going to good use … and that the thirsty little seeds I planted last week are getting a Big Gulp this morning.

Good thing they don’t live in New York.  (Oh wait, that’s a ban on big gulps of pop, not water.)

I’m really excited about this year’s garden. I planted a little differently, creating a grid with a combination of square foot sections and conventional rows, and way more flowers than last year.


A crown of blessings to my husband who dashed home between appointments one day just to till the garden for me because he knew how anxious I was to start planting. He screeched into the driveway, jumped out of his car, ran over to the garden, got behind the rototiller and tilled the garden IN HIS WORK CLOTHES, ran into the house, cleaned up a bit, and ran off to his next appointment.

Now THAT’S love. xo

Marking the grid was a little tedious but I think it will pay off in terms of tidiness. Plus it made it easy to create a “map” of my garden that I can use for future reference. I’ve always meant to keep a journal from year to year of what I grew in which part of the garden and how well each variety of plant did there. This will help.

I marked off one-foot sections, used a drill to insert screws every 12 inches, and marked off the square-foot sections and foot-wide rows with heavy twine.

Then I planted this year’s line up:

Vegetables: beans (2 kinds), peppers (green and red), tomatoes (3 varieties), lettuce, carrots, chives, onions, zucchini, parsley, and cucumber.

Flowers: A border all the way around the garden of dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers, snap dragons, nasturtium, and poppies.

Gardening is one of those things that’s kind of evolved for me over the years. Growing up on the prairies in Canada, pretty much everyone had gardens. (I still kind of think that Prairie people grow the best gardens but I’m probably somewhat biased on that.) When my kids were younger and I had less time I found it hard to keep up with the weeding and there were a lot of summers my garden got overgrown and Doug rolled his eyes at me that I even tried.  But I persevered and, over the years, got more organized and systematic and disciplined.

(Now that I think of it, that goes for most things in my life.  The organized and systematic part had to grow on me. )

There are lots of life lessons in gardening, of which God constantly reminds me throughout the growing season. I’m sure I’ll get a few of those this summer, too. Anyway, now my garden is planted and I’m looking forward to watching it sprout life and color and food for our table. And today’s gardening life lesson? We all need a little rain sometimes. 🙂

Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime;
    it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people,
    and plants of the field to everyone.

Zechariah 10:1