Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Long time no see...

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything. Like a lot of things that go on in my life, I end up getting behind on lots of stuff. For one, I'm training for another 1/2 Marathon in Vancouver, May 1.  That consumes my weekend, as it slams me to the bed after the run, thus, getting nothing done. And anyone with kids knows that week day nights are worthless for anything extracurricular.  So, my admitted laziness has allowed me to procrastinate, and now I'm miserably behind.  So far behind, that I'm really not very happy with myself.

However, with that said, I do have much progress to show all at once.  Let me make this clear...I'm not anywhere close to where I wanted to be.  You garden people (the real garden people) will get it once you see my progress.

The first thing I did do right was to get my soil tested by the KSU Extension Office. They are the local non-profit garden authority, and they got me good results back in about a week.  And only $17!  What did I do with the results?  Mostly looked at them for about 3 weeks!

So, if you know me at all, you know that I can tend to work in spurts. Meaning, I can be lazy for 3 weeks and then magically do 10 days worth of work in 6 hours. That is what I did.  It all began by waking up one day and calling 2 places around town that sold compost. When the first claimed they couldn't deliver same day, I called #2.  It just so happend the owner was off to Vegas that afternoon, so heck yea, his calendar was clear!  He had 12 tons of 3-year old compost covering my driveway in 55 minutes from the time he got off the phone. And that included the time it took for him to finish his donut and coffee at the local shop in Rose Hill, KS.

After I got off the phone w/the dirt guy, I made a call to Stu-found him on Craigslist.  He moves dirt for $45 and hour. I figured that 12 tons was more than I could handle in a week, and a guy with a tractor...a small tractor...could do it a lot quicker than me.  Stu showed up an hour after the dirt was delivered.  And yes, he had a nice little tractor that amazingly made it through my small gate that I had fashioned for this exact purpose...to allow a larger piece of machinery through.  Paid off, because an hour and a half later, Stu had successfully tossed over all 12 tons of dirt into my garden area.  First, he filled up my newly made beds in the West end of my garden, and the rest over the fence.  Best part about Stu besides his price:  Santa Claus was ridin' a tractor through my backyard.  Katie was looking out the window over the kitchen sink, and saw him ride by. She was freaking out...this guy looked just like Santa. Best of all, he actually plays Santa each year for those photo shoots at Town West Mall.  You bet your ass my photo-taking wife is all over that. A Santa w/out a contract is a hot commodity.  We have already laid out some details, so keep your holiday calendars open for shots with your kids and families.  We're looking for a few locations to do photos during the holidays.  I may be calling you to make it happen!

Before Stu arrived, I thought it may be good to fire up the old Roto Tiller.  Good thing I did. It didn't work.  Jumped back on Craigslist and found a guy that ended up driving over and taking my roto tiller back to his shop.  Re-delivered it by 1pm.  What a deal. $50 too!

So, now I got 12 tons of compost and a working tiller.  I went to town on the old soil I never tilled last year.  I began incorporating the compost into it, and within half an hour I was basically done.  I moved a bit more around, and called it done.  I then took remnant pieces of my old fence I tore down to build my greenhouse tables.  I makred off my paths, and built somewhat of a raised bed.  Really, it is for the walk ways. The dirt is 6 or more inches deep with the tilled earth and the 3 or 4 inches of compost on top. It really just gives me a visual of where to plant.
Dad and Weston marveling over the new space!

Me and the boy...
 So, you're probably wondering why I've written about the outdoor garden, but haven't mentioned the indoor starter garden I said I was going to begin...well, that actually came late.  Thanks to my wonderful wife, we finally got organized.  I can't even begin to explain how overwhelmed I got when realized how big my little garden was getting.  Coupled with the fact that I have a baby to raise, how was I ever going to get that going. Well, with a little extra caffene and some baby-nap time, we were able to organize the seeds and get out the heriloom tomato samplers Katie's mom was so kind to make for us.  We ended up planting 46 tomato plants, which represents 20 different unique heriloom varieties.  If this works, we'll more darned tomatoes that we could ever want. We'll keep what we want, and give a few away. But these are amazing tomato plants, so we'll only give them to people we love. We'll sell the rest to pay for Weston's college. We were also able to plant red, green and yellow bell peppers and some jalapenos.  Again, way more than we need. But we feel inclined to give away a few.

Filling the starter soil.

Adding the seeds.

Lots of Tomatoes. 46 planted, 20 varieties of herilooms.

Now I'm ready to get my other in-ground goodies going. I have Kale, Swiss Chard, Leafy lettuce and Romain to plant, along with two varieties of beets and carrots. We'll also plant brussel sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash and lots of herbs. 

The boy and his toy...

Finshed tomato planter

Watered down tomato patch

One thing we won't be planting again are snake gords.  Anybody want one?...or 10?
Don't plant these. Snake gourds suck. They don't grow all painted and pretty like the package said!

Lastly, my wonderful wife fed my baby boy his first vegetable.  Butternut Squash.  And he loved it.  This is what it is all about.  Giving my son the best choices is how I plan to hopefully influence his decision making to want to become a healthy eater, but also a foodie like me.  You see, food is more than fuel to me.  While I have been known to make poor decisions for eating, I am changing how I think about food and where it comes from.  I want to teach my son the importance of being aware of where food comes from, and why it is important to know about it.  We'll see how it goes!
Until next time....not sure where we'll be. Maybe some sprouts to share.

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