carl gave me a hoe for valentine's day. i can't think of a more romantic gift.
i've been itching to garden for so many years now. my grandmother was a great organic gardener in illinois, and my mother learned a few things from her, and passed them on to me. i will never forget the way the soil in my grandma's garden felt in my fingers. it was black, sandy, loamy, lightweight--rich. i loved to be in her garden as a child-- picking strawberries, tomatoes, pulling up carrots and potatoes--and i'd rip my fingers to shreds in her raspberry brambles in the summertime, for the tangy sweetness of those little red jewels.
i tended a garden with some other women in oregon back in the early 1990's. our garden was lush and fruitful, and i learned so many things from that master gardener from cornwall. but this is the first chance i've had on my own to plant more than a couple of flowers or potted plants.
we have a really small garden plot in the yard of the place we are renting. the soil doesn't seem great, but it looks like a pretty good location on the property. we piled all our autumn leaves on top of it, and they have been sitting there all winter, sinking in. of course, they haven't had a chance to compost or anything, so, most likely we will rake them off into a pile, and use them for mulch once we get things planted. we are looking into simple ways to enrich the soil, but don't plan to get too precise for our first go of it. i don't think we will test the soil or anything. our next door neighbor jack suggested working in some peat moss, and alfalfa pellets. i am also considering chicken manure, but what do i know? just guessing here. our compost bin is still too young to use, but we plan to start another one so we can let that one "cook."
i have a garden notebook, but i thought a blog might be a nice way to chronicle my early experiments with gardening. we are getting inklings of spring here in southern indiana, and i have garden fever. i can't stop thinking about it, and there just isn't enough to do yet. perhaps writing will help me manage all the excess energy.
last night i planted some tomato seeds in an egg carton. i can't decide if i should have them covered by clear plastic, to retain moisture, or if they should be open, for maximum air flow. the egg cartons i'm using have a built in cover, and right now, i have it propped up with a toothpick, at carl's suggestion. a sort of compromise i guess. i find myself touching the soil every couple of hours, to make sure it is moist enough. micro managing.
i have 6-13 days to wait still, before i'll see the first sprouts.