Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Green Thumb for a Green City

Looking around the last few weeks in my neighborhood (literally looking around - since everyone has chain link fences so you can see in their backyards!), Grant and I realized we are falling behind on the hip Denver springtime activity. Over the last two weeks, I have noticed every one of our neighbors have been out planting their gardens, toiling away in their yards. So to keep up with the status quo of Berkeley Highlands, we tried out our newest and probably most challenging adventure yet....we planted a vegetable garden of our own! The house we are renting has the perfect set up. A 15 x 18 fenced in garden area complete with a watering system and compost pile. So when it comes to gardening we have no idea what we are doing, but I figure I can't fail too badly thanks to google,, and our lovely landlords' sprinklers system so I don't have to remember to hydrate my plants!

What did I learn from our two day planting excursion?

1. Gardening is hard work! I had to pull up all the dead plants and weeds from last year's "harvest" out world! I am now a pro with a shovel.

2. Yard sticks are good for something. I never knew their purpose in grade school, but to plant teeny seeds they are nice to have for adequate spacing in the dirt. Did you know that cucumber seeds must be planted exactly three feet apart? And carrots, 1 inch apart?

3. Miracle grow and plant fertilizer are very different things. At Lowes, when we asked where the miracle grow was to put over our veggie plants, the guy about fell over laughing. Apparently, miracle grow is only for flowers. But there is veggie and fruit fertilizer. It's organic, healthy for people to have on their plants, and expensive!

4. Dogs like expensive vegetable fertilizer. We left Sage in the backyard for a few hours while we went to church on Sunday. When we got home, she had pulled the entire bag of veggie fertilizer down, opened it, and eaten the entire thing! Thank God she isn't sick!

5. Dogs like compost piles. Sage has also figured out how to open the gate to our newly planted garden (we have to put a lock on it to keep her out!) and she constantly gets into the big bin of compost, eating the nasty left overs she digs through to find. Sick.

6. Compost piles are NASTY. They stink, steam, and are composed of several things that I would never think helps my veggies grow. Some of which are - food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, coffee grinds, coffee filters, newspaper, lint, and my poop. We have opted to skip out on the dog poop. Hopefully our veggies won't mind. All this makes me wonder what commercial farmers put on the things we buy in the grocery store!

7. I like gardening. :) It's therapeutic.

Hopefully in the somewhat near future, I'll have lots of veggie stories to share as they grow to be more than a pile of nicely groomed dirt. For now, here's some pics of what our garden looks like now. As it's hard to tell from the pile of dirt, know that there are carrots, onions, cucumbers, beets, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and jalapenos! Tomatoes soon to come as well. According to our well established veggie planting neighbors, it's too early to plant those, so they are living in our mud room at the moment. Come visit this summer and (hopefully) we'll have lots of home grown food to share!

Yes I made the sign. Some might find it cheesy, but I happen to find it clever. :)

Before we began. Lots of weeds and dead plants from the previous gardeners.

Digging. And more digging. And more digging.

A very guilty pup found with the empty bag of veggie food.

Grant working on our nasty yet very "green" new way of life. Composting!

Finished results! Can't wait until I can show some actual plants!

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