May 26, 2008

What are You Up to on Memorial Day?


We have enjoyed a lazy morning around here, but our day is about to get really busy. The cat may be the only one who has a "relaxing" holiday. The yard won't be the same after we are finished with it today. Daddy is going to dig up the sod for us to put in a large flower bed, a raised garden, and a gravel pathway along the driveway out front. I read through the "Square Foot Gardening" book at Half Price Books this past week and we decided to go with a raised garden. It may not be the cheapest way to start out, but if you do the work yourself and get creative, it isn't that expensive. We already have quite a few plants started from seed, and are excited to do more. This will be our first garden experience with the kids (besides at friend's houses, family's houses, and field trips).

I'd love to hear more about your garden tips, success stories, and maybe just some sympathy for us starting out on a new quest. I'm one of those "black thumb" people that can manage to kill perfectly healthy house-plants. I already feel sorry for my plants (not just because of my lack of talent with horticulture and agriculture, but because our soil is about 98% rock). We are having to truck in 8 yards of garden and flower bed soil (properly aerated with sand and compost) to fill our cedar-boarded garden and the flower bed beside it. The vegetable garden will be about 8 inches high (big enough to grow a few carrots and sweet potatoes above ground) and surrounded by a gravel path to keep weeds at bay.

I'll probably post some before and after pictures if I have any energy left later. My mother-in-law and I dug a hole for a rose bush this weekend back there and went through solid rock. It took nearly an hour for one small rose pot and I got about 20 good landscaping rocks out of the ground UNDER the spot the rose is sitting now. I am not sure how these oaks grow out here in the Texas Hill Country. It certainly gives you a new respect of any of the native plants that make this area their home. Hardy would be an understatement when describing the flora around here.

So, here's our yard plan for Memorial Day Weekend:

Dig up the soil with a sod cutter
Lay landscape fabric (5 year warranty - cheapest stuff) inside garden boxes
Build Cedar garden boxes with brackets and untreated cedar lumber (2x6x8 & 2x4x8)
Lay landscape fabric on pathways to garden, between both 8x4 garden boxes
Lay landscape fabric along driveway path
Return sod cutter
Tomorrow - buy dirt, crushed granite, mulch and lay over pathways, garden, flower beds
Plant already growing veggies and flowers in beds and garden
Clean up messes
Buy and plant seeds, herbs, veggies this week

I better get going so I can go down and help when Kev gets back from the lawn and garden store. Be sure to leave your tips in the comment section if you have some ideas I haven't thought of. Have a safe and fun Memorial Day and don't forget to pray for our military and the families who have lost loved ones in war.

Let us know what you are up to. I'd love to know how you spend your Memorial Day!

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Miss Jocelyn said...

Yep - that sounds about right. We finished putting up goat-fencing yesterday and dad and Eric are outside workin'. The ladies are finishing up GGM articles!!


Julo said...

So did you decide to do a square foot garden? This is my second year doing it and it was a LOT easier than the traditional row gardening, esp. since our soil is terrible, too. I only square foot garden my veggies, though. I have 6 boxes for that.

I put in a huge flower bed last year and I have one regret: I planted tons of unfamiliar perennials and when stuff was coming back up again this year, I didn't even know what was what: weeds or plants! So I'd suggest diagramming your flower bed for future reference and saving those little labels.

My favorite new annual to grow from seeds are morning glories. Just nick the seeds and soak them in water the night before you plant them. They grew up our sunflowers last year, but this year I'm training them up the shed. So pretty!

Best wishes! There's something so satisfying about digging in the dirt. And it's great for your kids, too.

carrie said...

gardening is a great activity since you can get as involved as you want.

Anne said...

We are doing interior decorating here... sort of. All six of our kids were sharing a bedroom. (We live in a small house.) We have three bedrooms and we put the kids in one, us in a smaller one, and my office in the third. Well, we've decided the boys really do need their own spot, so my desk is now out in the dining room. I thought it would be too cluttered, but I love it so far! It's been a busy day of taking bunk beds apart and putting them together again, hanging up wall decorations, and cleaning up the amazing amount of junk that accumulates under beds and in corners. It looks good, though!

michellenotdawn said...

SFG is awesome. I built two 3x3 boxes in March and planted mostly seedlings - cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, squash. I've had around a dozen wonderful strawberries, three cukes (with another 2 to ripen this week), and my tomatoes are getting bigger each day. I should have squash soon. I planted some spinach, leaf lettuce, carrots and onions from seed, and they have sprouted and are growing beautifully! My son loves seeing the vegetables grow, and I think he'll eat them more because he's seen where they started! Keep it up, SFG is awesome once you get past the initial cost/building phase.

Sprittibee said...

Jocelyn - I bet you got a lot done with little Eric doing the work! He's a big help!

Julo - Yes mam! We are so pumped up about getting the veggies in the garden! The yucky part is all we've done today - digging out the grass, hauling it off, covering the ground with landscape fabric, and building the cedar boxes to line the garden... I have a colossal headache from dehydration and the sun.

Thanks for your tip about writing down what we plant and where. That's a great tip. I'll even do that for the veggie garden since we are so new to this. I have a home landscape computer program that Kev got me a long time ago that I'm going to see about using. I don't even know if it will work with XP.

We already have a couple of sunflowers planted... and I do love Morning Glories. There's a wild purple kind that grows out here, too.

Carrie - Yeah, we are already seeing that this will be fun once we get past the building and scraping phase! ;)

Anne - Decorating is fun, too. I just needed to do the more practical of the two first. I figure my painted walls aren't going to grow me any free veggies... and trips to the store are getting more and more expensive with gas so crazy. My next practical assignment is to convert my vehicle to natural gas (lng). No money for that at the moment. No money for this, either - but that is besides the point.

My desk is in my bedroom, btw. I don't mind it, but it drives hubby crazy. The squeaking keyboard doesn't help. Have fun painting! That will be on my list eventually, too.

Michelle - I'm glad to hear about your success with SFG! I'm soooo excited about it. I can't wait to eat our first harvest from the garden!!! Right now we just need prayers to get through the "cost/building phase" as you put it. I just took two Tylenol and we are eating cereal for supper... with yet another glass of water or Gatorade.

Tomorrow I probably won't be able to move once I wake up. I'm hurting in places I didn't know I had on my body.

The Excellent Adventure is.... said...

We had relatives over after a memorial service and they left right after lunch. So we lounged and ate all the leftovers all day long. A good "being a slug" day is good for the soul every once in a while, (especially after cleaning the house for a week before they got here!) The kids even got to drink their own can of soda as a reward for helping with the "late-spring, guest are coming" clean up. We love our SFG too! Still in the early stages. Oh, and we spent time watching our little chickens scratching in the dirt.

Sheila said...

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day! Us Canadians celebrate it in November, when it's cold and you can't get out in the garden. Kind of stupid, eh?

Anyway, I tagged you sprittibee! Hope you don't mind tags. You can go here to see the details!

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