Stacking Functions Garden


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The perfect is the enemy of the good

This phrase has been in my mind lately — I read it in reference to farming several times over the past few months. It makes sense: there are many really great family farmers out there who may not be certified organic but are still doing right by their animals and their land. Many of them can’t afford the lengthy and expensive process to become certified organic.

In my own life, it has become painfully obvious that I have really overstretched myself lately.  The Master Gardener program + starting a new job + trying to get my own garden efforts for 2010 underway + parenting two two-year-olds is really taking a toll.  I have been really short-tempered lately and my heart is just not in everything I’m doing (at least, not as much as I’d like it to be).

I usually try to be as positive as possible on the blog, but on the other hand I don’t want you all to think it’s constant sunshine and lollipops around here, either.  Here are two recent big FAILS and the silver lining in the second one:

Firstly, this pizza.  What a disaster.  We had some bread dough in the refrigerator that needed to be used up.  Adam was not around and I tried to make pizza with the same method I’ve seen him use: assembling the pizza on the wooden peel and then sliding it onto the hot pizza stone into the oven.  Well, it stuck to the peel and the only way I could slide it off was to fold it up and turn it into this horrible-looking calzone.  Which I then baked and served anyway, even though it was super doughy in the middle.  Nice to know I can be relied upon for a simple meal when Dad’s not at home, eh?

Next up on my walk of shame:

Last fall, when I pruned out all my dead raspberry canes, I must have been completely brain dead afterwards because it seems I put the entire giant pile of them into my compost pile.  Many of them were very thick and woody — these things do not break down quickly or well.

So after the entire winter, this part of the compost bin, which should have been completely full by now of beautiful, dark, rich, compost… was full of… soggy sticks.  However, when I pulled out all the sticks and put them somewhere else, I did manage to find a little bit of good stuff:

I’m going to try and plant the garden this week!  We’re having such an early spring, there’s no reason not to get a jump-start on some of cold-tolerant veggies like peas, cabbage, and radishes.

My goal for this week (aside from getting my garden in) is to be kind to myself.  Silly that this must be a conscious goal, yes?


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A killer frost

The inner city’s first frost and our first snow both occurred the same night, Friday night.  (For non-Minnesotans:  that’s a little early for snow, and a little late for first frost.)  Here was the situation in my garden at 7 a.m. Saturday:

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The snow had all melted by noon or so.  The tomatoes, banana peppers, beans, and zucchini are dead.  The parsnips can now be harvested, and the ‘late-season’ kale that I planted in mid-July is still very small, but looks healthy and I’ll probably harvest it relatively soon.  The brussels sprouts are all unfazed by light freezing, but we ripped them out today anyway because it was time to acknowledge that it’s just not going to happen.

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Here’s the sad state of affairs as it looks right now.  I pulled out the soaker hoses and put them away, too.  I’m leaving the beans in place to see if the green ones that are still on there might think about drying up now that the plants are pretty much dead.

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We started an additional “starter” area to the left of the compost bin, so now we are officially acknowledging that we have a 3-stage compost bin.  We create so much material for the bin that 2 side-by-side bins are not enough.  There used to be a pine tree directly to the left of the bin, but now that it’s gone we can use that area more easily.