Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tug Of War

For the past few years we've been putting most of our time, energy and extra cash into getting the garden and fruit trees up and running. 

Dealing with a concrete backyard created the need for everything to be purchased and brought in manually.  Creating all this has been a larger investment than I think even we realize but since this home is likely our last home, it has been an investment that we've been happy to make. 

Why? 

Because we're young and working and making money and one of these days we won't be.  One of our realities is that old age is coming sooner than we care to admit and with it a limited income.  Anything I can produce in my own backyard means less dependence on future inflated food prices at the grocery.

Because it takes time to learn what works and what doesn't.  Now we can absorb a bad decision, twist it and change things up to make it work. 

None of this happens overnight.

If you're new to all this and anyone tells you that home food production is an easy thing to do...Well, they're an idiot.  

Flat out, this has been one of the bigger commitments SM and I have made and we don't even do the animal husbandry thing that so many of you do. 

Taking care of the garden is right up there with home ownership.   It's a responsibility.

Your house has to be maintained if you've lived in it for any length of time.  Oh, sure...Some folks buy a brand new house, live in it for a few years, roll it over and do it all again.  They don't have to deal with failing appliances, weird smells, creaky floors, stained carpeting.  Gosh the list is endless!

But the same logic applies to growing food.  Constant attention.  Constant maintenance.

And that's the tug of war I've been dealing with lately.  I told SM that I'm not sure why it is but this year I'm less invested in the garden but I'm all tied up and twisted about home improvements. 

This is the "Year of the House" for me.  I want/need to make updates and repairs on this tired old house.  We haven't done very much to the interior of the house over the past 15 years we've lived here and it's really starting to show. 

So when we DO make some little bitty improvement, it suddenly shows us how crappy the rest of the house is.

I am grateful that the garden has gotten to the point where it can kind of take care of itself.  For the basics at least.  I'm still invested in it but I'm also distracted from it.  I want it easy in the garden this year so I can dedicate my time and attention to the house.  Easier said than done.

Example? 

Our newest reclaimed bed. 




Last year, this was lawn.  We double dug it, tilled it, weeded and amended it.  We put the tomatoes in here last year and they hated it.  Extremely poor production.  This year, SM and I have weeded this entire bed no less than 4 times in the past month alone.  It is obviously fighting back.

I had planned on planting beans and winter squash here but I'm so frustrated dealing with the weeds!  Just a waste of time and effort. 

And then I look over my shoulder and what do I see? 




Another area that we're trying to create garden space out of.  Only this bed is the bed we're trying the lasagna method on.  It's been smothered with cardboard and decomposing straw for the past 4 months.  No tilling, no digging. 

Not many weeds showing is there?

So I told SM that I'm done fighting this year.  The weedy bed is going to get the smother treatment.  I'm going to toss double cardboard and straw on it and let it sit this year out.  Maybe next year it will be good enough to plant.

Maybe.

So we're in the process of hauling in compost and tossing it on the lasagna bed. 




I must admit I'm very curious to see how things shape up with this bed.  This is the only area that we've tried lasagna on.  I've got raised beds, tilled beds and double dug beds. 

Not much we haven't tried is there?

If only home repairs were this simple.

8 comments:

  1. Good experiment - reckon your problem bed will be sorted soon :)

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  2. Quess you didn't learn from you Mom & Dad. When the house needs work sell it and buy a new one. Used to paint etc before we moved in it. Much easier. Kept up grading until we were able to sell and hit the road using the proceeds from the houses.

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  3. Don't count on knowing it all by the time you get old. I'm still learning, after fifty-plus years of gardening! I've always bundled our newspapers and dropped them off at the recycler. Just a couple of days ago it dawned on me that I should be using them to suppress the grass and weeds that are growing in my squash patch. A "DUH!" moment. The only drawback to that is I will now have to use the push mower instead of letting my husband use the rider, because I need to catch the clippings to cover the newspaper! One thing always leads to another.

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  4. Whether it's the garden and outside landscaping or the house itself (inside and out), it's all infrastructure and a super-important part of being as set up as we can. Sadly (!), the process never seems to end.

    As far as your different planting areas in the garden, there is a saying that goes something like, "In gardening, there are no failures. Only experiments." And darned if we don't keep experimenting until we get it to work!

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  5. There's always something to keep you busy. It keeps the dementia at bay. ;0) Looking forward to seeing what you will grow in your new lasagna bed.

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  6. I have been fighting couch grass and I think I have finally won...I have recently just posted about it on my blog of your interested.. I am using recycled black plastic..if it can kill couch it it can kill anything..maybe you might like to cover over your garden spot for a few months while you get on with the reno's?

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  7. Gardening is full-out war. Too bad you're not closer - I'd 'gift' you some awesome llama beans.

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