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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Gardening!

I don't know where I get my passion for growing things.  Dad had a few gardens when I was growing up but was usually too busy to entertain such endeavors.  His ex-wife, which was a step mother to me and my brother for 18  years, loved to plant flowers but I was never a part of that.

I remember them having a garden one year when we lived out to Uncle Danny's house. I think Jr. and I got in trouble and our punishment was to weed the garden.  It's funny how most of my childhood memories are absent but I remember that garden and the way the weeds sprouted from every available square inch of soil.  I should have acquired a distaste for gardening back then.

Perhaps my many years spent in the professional landscape industry lent a hand to my botanical love affair. One would think it would have the opposite effect.  A plumber's house has leaky pipes and a roofer's house always needs new shingles.  Well my house should have always needed plants and mulch but it never worked out that way.  Maybe it was times I spent with pops pushing a wheelbarrow around while he raked the lawn or helping him put in the occasional flower bed.  There must be a synapse in my brain that triggers a shot of dopamine when I pick up a shovel or rake.  It relates to most childhood memories of time spent with my pops.  Luckily that weed ravaged garden doesn't trigger any chemical induced psychotic episodes in my brain (or does it).

Whatever it is, why it is that way and what good is it for doesn't really mean much to me.  All I care is that I like it.  I love sitting back with a cold beer, after having my hands in the dirt all day, and enjoying my handiwork!

Which brings me to this post.  Yesterday was the best outdoor day of the year so far.  After publishing the previous post I headed to the landscape yard for some supplies.  Of course, just my luck, they do not carry the supplies that I need.  The same stuff I bought there last year.  Dang!  This place is only a few miles from my house too.  So off to another yard which is 20 minutes away.  Oh well.  They have better stuff anyways.

I had them load me up with a truck full of finished compost.  Very rich and very black.  Some of the best stuff I've seen around.  At $18 a truck full I consider it a bargain.  This is the real deal stuff though.  You don't want to plant in this alone.  It needs to be turned into the existing soil first.  Otherwise it will "burn" the plants.  It is just too rich all by itself.

When I returned home it was around noon and I wanted to get the lawn cut before I got into the garden.  I knew once I was in the garden I wasn't coming out. (and I didn't until 8:30 pm)
I trimmed out the lawn first with my weed whacker AKA string trimmer and was on my second outline pass with the mower when my bee keeper friends showed up.  I stopped the mower and went to check the hives with them.  I am fascinated by these little creatures.  In one weeks time these little bees have freed their queen from her little prison and she is now laying eggs and building her forces, they have begun filling the combs with honey and building new combs.  The new combs they build are scraped off by the beekeeper.  Apparently they are supposed to work on the combs in between the frames, not connect them together.  So he carefully cut away the excess comb, which was starting to fill with honey.  After careful inspection to make sure their were no honey bee eggs in it he handed it to me and I jammed the sticky morsel into my watering mouth and experienced one of the highlights of the day.  Fresh honey right from the comb.  It does not get any fresher than that.  Just moments before it had bees crawling all over it!

In this pic you can see the excess comb on the side of the frame.  This is what he cut off.

See the honey filled cells?

Once the bee business was taken care of it was back to the mower.
When the mowing was finished I headed for the garden.
Last season I had added topsoil to each planting box, covered it with weed fabric and planted the vegetable plant through the weed fabric and then covered with mulch.  It worked great.  No weeding and the mulch really held the moisture in the soil.
Here is a pic of last years tomatoes.

It worked great but this year I want to try something new.  Companion planting.  See all that space under the plant?  I'm going to fill it with different vegetables and flowers.  I will grow carrots, lettuce, chives, basil, cilantro and such under the tomatoes.  Some boxes I will fill with annuals like marigolds, borage and sunflowers which are considered beneficials in the garden.  

In order to do this I have to remove the mulch from the box and also the weed fabric.
So I used a flat shovel to scrape the mulch off the fabric, removed the fabric and moved aside the irrigation line.  Then I took my shovel and dug deep and turned the soil over, sprinkled with a 12-12-12 granular fertilizer and then added a generous portion of the black gold (compost) from my truck.  Then I turned the soil over again and raked smooth.  I did this for every box.  It took awhile but it will be worth it.

If you're wondering about the weeds this year?  Yes there will be weeds but I hope to plant enough of the right plants in all the boxes to sufficiently "drown" out the weeds.  There will be some picking here and there especially until the plants are established but in the end it should be well worth it and beautiful.

The open area you see here is my corn patch.  I have turned that over and raked somewhat smooth.  I hope to plant corn seed today.

This is year two for my asparagus.  It needs to be left alone for one more season.  Next year I will harvest and eat it.  Of course this year I have snapped off a few spears and eaten them right there on the spot.  So tasty!

I capped off the night with a little campfire, a cigar and a few cold beers.  I didn't last too long as I was kinda tired.  By 10 pm I was showered and sleeping.  I even slept in this morning until almost 7!

Until next time,
Happy Gardening


  1. Hi Bushman, I loved this post - so full of amazing energy and happiness. Those bees are amazing - so are you for getting in there and partaking in the process, and the eating! I'm a fan of raw, unpasteurized honey but I've never eaten honey straight from the hive.

    Your garden is shaping up beautifully - I can hardly wait to see how the boxes shape up this year with your new layout. I imagine the ones with flowers will be quite the sight. Hopefully the weeds no better than rearing their heads amongst your plants! :) :)

    As for that little campfire, cigar and those cold beers - good on you! I hope you enjoyed your post gardening reward - much deserved I'm sure.

    As always - a great post - beautifully written and full of life. Cheers, Jenny

    1. That would be… Hopefully the weeds "know" better… ah, that's what one gets when typing past one's bedtime… I know no one cares! hahahah - but me about silly typos!

  2. This is fantastic, from bees to beers. My good friend keeps bees, and the honey they produce is amazing. You can't beat fresh. And my garden is ready to go, but it snowed last week, so I'm still iffy on transporting them outside yet. Damn unpredictable weather.

  3. I won't lie to you... I'd have a straight up panic attack with all those bees around me!




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