Today was planting day at Casa Kathy.
I bought annuals and vegetable plants last week, but the ground was too wet and cold to plant them. It's supposed to start raining again tomorrow, so I grabbed the window of opportunity and dug in the dirt today.
When I planned my expanded garden a couple of months ago, I just turned over the sod in the area, so the first step today was to till the soil and add compost to counteract the clay I knew would be there. I wasn't counting on hitting rock! The area is several feet away from the patio. When they poured the concrete they must have dumped all the extra gravel right where I was now trying to set up the garden. I could only go down six inches before my shovel wouldn't go any further, so I switched over to a compost fork, which slid (somewhat) easily through the rocks. I didn't try to remove all of the gravel today; if I did I'd still be working on the job next month, but I filled one flowerpot with gravel pieces, and took carrots off my list of vegetables to grow in this area.
After digging in some gypsum, two wheelbarrows of compost, and a bag of manure from the hardware store, I was ready to plant. Being careful not to disturb the already-growing lettuce and snow peas, I dug holes for three tomatoes (slicing, grape, and a heirloom purple), four peppers (green, yellow, pepperoncini, and a heirloom medium-hot red), one zucchini, and two broccoli plants (which I bought as an experiment; I've never grown it before). The front row was reserved for the marigolds I always plant to keep away the bugs.
I usually mulch with newspaper and grass clippings, but I forgot to use the bag when I cut the lawn yesterday. Fortunately, it won't take too long for the grass to grow long enough to cut again, then I can do the mulching and call the job finished. When everything was planted in the garden, I inserted a stake next to each small tomato plant and affixed a plastic chicken wire fence to some poles around the perimeter of the area. Looking at my work, I felt like quite the Earth mother.
But I wasn't done planting yet. I brought out the canna bulbs I dug up in the fall and set them out. I stopped to talk to my neighbors who were also doing yard work, traded some cannas for a hydrangea sprout, and planted it. Finally, I took care of three six-packs of annuals, putting some of them in the front yard and some in the back.
I had to haul the hose out from the basement and hook it up. Everything got a good watering, then I put all my equipment away and collapsed in the family room.
I hope all my hard work pays off down the line..