Saturday, September 6, 2008
LET'S GET READY TO G A R D E N!!!
I ran into Annie in Austin today at the Natural Gardener and realized that I wasn't the only one Austin gardener gearing up for the fall season. We can't plant just yet but the moment that window to plant appears, we'll be ready.
The plants have been selected and purchased. (If I ever make a list of essential gardening tools, a wading pool will be one of them. It's great for soaking wine bottles and keeping potted plants watered during the summer from heck. Oops, looks like I forgot one wine bottle.)
The seeds have been purchased. The seed starting tray has been assembled. The grow lights (really just one warm and one cold fluorescent bulb hung in a work light on a chain) have been taken out of the shed.
I've filled my staging area (aka my driveway) with two kinds of mulch: the standard Texas native hardwood mulch in bags and the special cedar mulch that survived a recent spontaneous combustion. (I helped chip the cedar branches about a year and a half ago. My friend still hopes to plant grapevines on the cleared quarter acre.)
The fire started inside the pile and burned out from the bottom, incinerating the cedar logs my friend had saved for fence posts but sparing much of eight-feet tall mulch piles. The fire department didn't want the mulch hanging around any more, and now that my friend and neighbor as well as gardening buddy has a truck, I have mulch. You can see small pieces of charred mulch if you look closely. The combined aroma of cedar and fire make my driveway smell like a fall campout. I go outside and inhale and immediately feel 10 degrees cooler.
Behind the mulch is the revitalizer compost we (my neighbor, his truck, and me) picked up at the Natural Gardener. Have I mentioned how handy it is have to have a friend and neighbor with a truck?
The blue bottles that Pam passed on to me when I was collecting wine bottles are waiting to be turned into a bottle tree.
The new bed is well, not exactly ready to go. I successfully solarized the area but found it hard as a rock when I started digging. I reasoned that the baking sun had hardened the area as it killed the weeds so I watered the area thoroughly for several days. I started digging again yesterday and found that the the area wasn't just hard as rock--it was rock. Lots and lots of rock. The worst area I have ever tried to turn into a garden bed.
I sharpened my tools, which didn't help.
Getting nowhere fast I tried harnessing the natural tendencies of my garden helper.
Tossing a few dog treats in the area didn't hurt. But as it turned out, she had the attention span of well, a dog. A bird, a cricket, a shadow on the ground, and a stick distracted her, and she was off running in the yard.
Maybe I should get her a harness?
Normally I'm not a stickler for advance preparation but I know that once that glorious moment of fall hits it will be a headlong rush into winter--installing new gardens for Green Corn Project, refurbishing the garden at Lady Bird Lake, attending a week-long entolomology training, taking a plant photography class, surviving the heat at ACL fest, vetting a friend's new boyfriend for his husband potential, buying more plants the Wildflower Center sale, celebrating a marriage, celebrating a birthday, and celebrating GCP's 10 years for feeding Austin, one garden at a time at the end of October.
Whew. No wonder I'm getting READY TO G A R D E N!