Don't Bother Me! I'm Gardening!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Test Bed: Bird Back 40
I dread the month of May. I really do. I shouldn't. This is my "can't miss" gardening month. I should love it to death. But, instead I dread what the change in seasons brings. Now I know how full-time farmers must feel. I must fight for my time in the great outdoors that is the Bird Back 40.

May is the month when the offers for my gardening time come rolling in. The big brother emails: "Let's spend the entire Saturday hiking up a trail and go fishing!" The sister-in-law says: "Don't forget -- It's First Communion Services this Saturday." This doesn't include the offers to attend various all day parties, weddings, birthdays and other "must attend" events.

This also doesn't include the renters who haven't paid rent for two months and then suddenly decide to move. And, of course, they leave the place in a fine mess.

Bird Tomato Garden in May-Off to a Good Start!
Don't these people garden? Don't they understand that May is the month when gardens are installed? Miss a month and you don't get it back. You can't plant green onion or carrot seeds in mid-June, people. It's too hot. Germination rates are low. Trust me on this, I've tried.

Things get so busy during the month of May that I don't even get the time to blog about it. Check the list people! It's been two weeks! That's an eternity for bloggers. Yeah, there's lots to write about! But when am I going to find the time? 

Cucumbers planted? CHECK!
When you garden as extensively as the wife that is Venus and I do, it takes more than a "day or two" to install a full summer garden. Most people don't understand this. To them, it's plant and forget. And then they wonder why the tomato plants aren't producing in August. If you desire a productive and healthy summer vegetable garden, you've got to put in the time. And that can mean hours of prep before the first tomato plant is even planted.

The latest project came just this weekend with the preparation and planting of the Bird Test Bed located in a side yard. Thanks to our recent spate of hot weather with little in the way of rainfall, the hardened clay yielded to the Mantis Rototiller as easy as hardened concrete. Guess what happens when a spinning Mantis hits concrete? If you're guessing it jumps -- good guess. But, if you're serious about this business, you've got to bear down and provide a little more muscle. Otherwise, no corn crop for those outdoor summer dinners!

Six kinds of Basil? Really? Pesto Party!
A summer dinner without corn on the cob is a crime.

The test bed located above right, by the way, may look bare now. But, trust me with this people, it's been loaded with seed. I put in the corn. Venus put in the pumpkins, squash and some spare tomato plant leftovers and a few flowers to beautify the spot as well. This is AFTER I'd spent the better part of a Sunday morning churning up the dirt, adding compost and other items that summer vegetables crave, and churning it up once more again. Then it's time to make rows -- and finally -- install drip irrigation.

Then and only then -- is it time to plant.

Flowering Potato Plants in May-Bird Back 40
Think there's any time for all-day fishing trips with a chore like this? Taking a five hour break for First Communion Services? Cleaning out a rental? Attending this event or that event? I sometimes wonder how full-time farmers drown out the noise and concentrate on the job that has to be done. Then again -- full-time growers get to dig in the dirt all week. They're lucky. I'm lucky if I get a day.

Despite the non-gardening demands on my weekend time -- things are going fairly well. While I'd like to say the job is done -- that would be a bit of a lie. There's that spring garden bed to tear out, especially since spring came and went in the space of 30-seconds this year. You know summer is serious when it doesn't give lettuce plants a chance to bolt. When those tender-crisp leaves turn brown, whither and die in the course of 48 hours? Summer's here and it's here to stay.

Eggplant-Bush Beans and Carrots! Oh My!
Not to worry, right? Because I can finish off the gardening project next weekend, right? Nope! I won't be gardening. Why not? Don't ask!

But, so far, Memorial Day Weekend is wide open!


Greg Damitz said...

I hear you on the time. I've had 80 percent of a garden for a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

you need to charge higher rent on that house to get a better renter, Bill. Less hassle. I presume you're not using a rental manager? I recommend one. Best wishes for a sound resolution to that. Glad to hear about the blackberries too - I'll remember for my future garden plans. Cheers! Laura P.

Chad B said...

You're speaking my language. Even when I try to squeeze in some gardening time during the longer evenings I find that other things are still competing for my time and attention. I can't help but wonder if that's part of the draw for me though. As if my brain cries out "finally" when I do, eventually, get to spend some time in the dirt.