Archives for the month of: May, 2014

Better yet, it is: Design. Garden. Start with a plan.
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I’m happy to say my dream has become a reality.
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This vegetable garden (six steel beds!) took a lot of muscle and it took a lot of love and a good deal of patience. That would be love and patience on the part of my husband who knows how to deal with the creative dictator he is married to. When I say “Make it so,” he makes it happen. That man is full of talent and can build anything, I tell you.

And then there is all the physical logistics and brute strength it takes to get the materials over here on the island in the first place. By boat or Humpback Hauler, there were trips and trips of lumber, steel, concrete, fencing, soil, compost, peat moss. There was the excavator to level the area (thank you Chris and Anders) the concrete mixer, a jackhammer to get through rock to get the posts in (thank you Antonio and Juan) … It was an orchestrated symphony of stuff and more stuff.

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With the steel all laid out and ready to assemble, it was a fun little origami project for Anders to weld it together. Well, yes, before the welding all this steel had to be ordered and cut and picked up in Everett and barged over and unloaded. But then it was fun.

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All the fences are up and the gates are latched to keep out the deer, the beds are all planted with a little bit of this and that and I’ve started the compost heap. Looks like everything is growing and happy, even if I did push the calendar on a couple of things like the tomatoes and basil. Even the seeds I planted have started sprouting and will probably need to be thinned out soon, thanks to the sun we’ve had all week long. It’s such a nice thing to be puttering around in this garden pen and fussing and learning. Although I have made gardens before, this one is designed on a bigger scale and planted with a bigger variety of vegetables. I haven’t tried growing some of these before and it’s kind of sweet, this feeling of ignorance. We will wait and see.

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Who knew I would get so into foraging? Last spring I went after the nettles popping up all over the place and made an excellent soup. This spring, it was a nettle pesto. It’s a rewarding feeling to make something tasty out of these prickly weeds. I suppose most of the adventure is in the suiting up for the hunt: long rubber gloves, long sleeves, pants and boots. Hmmm, not that I don’t choose this very same outfit almost every day. A few weeks ago, I picked the tender leaves for a nettle pesto, but yesterday I was on damage control, pulling up the stalks and hoping to get at them before they flowered. It is a fine line I walk between the gathering (foraging) and the hunting (yanking them up before they take over). The nettles have a network of roots that go on forever so I am only pretending that I have some control here. But I bagged up quite a few, along with some even pricklier thistles and I feel it was a good effort. Today, I feel more like a gatherer so I’m off to find the younger plants that seem to sprout up overnight. I’ll pick the nettle tops (about the top four leaves) from nettles that are less than knee-high, discard the stalks and then plunge them into a pot of boiling water. Not sure if I’ll make nettle soup or something new …

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