This is me on my recent, unexpected camping rendezvous to Big Basin State Park.
It was raining, and my friends and I were skeptical about the comfort that would befall us for the evening. Mama Megan, the driver of the crew, however, had prepared everything from tent to food to warmth for the underprepared, and nothing was going to stop us from camping.
That’s kind of how life feels most of the time. Much uncertainty surrounds our next adventure, or even the adventure directly under our feet, but it comes at an unrelenting speed nonetheless.
On the other hand, some things happen very slowly, even when you are anxious as all get out to complete the task, because many things depend on it.
The latter is the case of our greenhouse.
The construction is taking quite a bit longer than I had in mind when I declared one morning that the garden needed one. There are lots of little parts to create, 130, in fact, and each one is requiring much loving tenderness and care.
The frame of the hoop house is erected using 3/4 inch PVC piping. To secure the plastic on over the frame, we are cutting 1 inch PVC pipes into clamps. The pipe, cut a little less than halfway through, will clamp over a 3/4 pipe.
Each of these little clamps, all 130 of them, require sanding of the corners so they do not pierce and tear the plastic once clamped on.
So for now my task is to sand down 520 little corners. I have already completed 160!
Compost has become a little bit of a hassle. When you don’t keep up with the piles every day, turning them to expedite the break-down process, you end up with 5 piles of not the most efficient compost. I’m not going to lie here, 5 piles becomes a lot to manage for one person. It takes a lot of energy! With the continuous influx of kitchen scraps, I realized I couldn’t just keep digging more pits and creating more piles, as nice as that would be.
My research revealed a very simple, relatively hands-off composting method. As it turns out, you can literally dig a hole, or a trench at least 12 inches deep, dump the scraps in, and cover it back up again! The benefits of this method are 1) Bury it and forget about it, 2) As it breaks down, the scraps will fertilize the entire ground area for future planting, 3) There is no smell, ever.
Now we have a well fertilized location option for row planting in the future. I haven’t yet dug out the space to see how long it takes to turn in to beautiful soil.
This little lettuce obviously didn’t need any fertilizer. Just goes to show how great the soil is in this plot! The lighter green leaves are the lettuce plant that must have come up from seed spilled when we were planting back in winter with the youth. All the rain has been very nourishing for all types of grasses and weeds in the corral.
These little sprouts ARE supposed to be growing, and it’s such a pleasure to watch them.
I felt despair and guilt when I accidentally snapped off the top of one of the Kale plants. I couldn’t bring myself to uproot the hardy stem and plant something new, so I kept putting it off. Thank goodness I did! I don’t know why I’m surprised that it came back like a champion! It’s such a relief to realize I’m not as powerful as I thought upon nature.
On the other hand, lots of plants in the garden have been going to seed. The kale, for example. While it’s a pretty picture, it’s not quite what we want. I’ve been pinching off at the base of the stem that’s gone to seed.
You might remember the green bean plants I started in my room, grown from the hardened pods of previously planted beans. After producing a small handful of beans, the leaves all turned yellow and fell, and the plant looked overall sickly and done for. I didn’t do anything with the two remaining stems for a while, just like the kale. Boy, my procrastination seems to be paying off with this gardening stuff! Here’s why.
One night when Antonia was visiting, I was explaining that I thought they had such a short lifespan because the two plants had choked each other out, living in such a small pot. In that moment I dug my hand under the root system to see if the two plants had indeed intertwined. They had, as I thought, and I left the supposedly dead plants to sit.
I am led to believe I somehow rejuvenated the root system, for a few weeks later I noticed some green growth coming out from the abandoned stems. I couldn’t believe it! I took my scissors and snipped off the limbs that were for sure dead, and proceeded to water the pot regularly. Sure enough, beautiful green leaves began to emerge, and just the other morning I saw the first green bean!
This is so thrilling. I am a little worried to separate the two plants, for fear of breaking up the root system enough to kill them, so perhaps I’ll move them as a unit to a bigger pot overall. I’ll call it, the Phoenix Beans 😀
Ah, and Happy Valley had the pleasure of presenting all we have to offer at the Business Fair at the boardwalk. Tess and Tim represented our flourishing business with free cookies.
When we first set up, however, we realized a small mishap. We had been placed right by another camp in the redwoods. Business Fair 101 says, Don’t Put Competitors Side-By-Side. Don’t worry, we requested a switch-a-roo, so the whole night wasn’t spend distinguishing between the two!