Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing (2)

I once participated in a survey that asked me to describe how I'd feel if I were in a position where I could not feed my family. When I tried to imagine this, the number one feeling I identified was shame. This was not something I wanted to imagine. It hurts my heart to think that could ever happen, and yet it does happen, of course, to far too many children and Canadian families every day.

Kim has invited all the kinderGARDENers to purposely grow some extra vegetables to donate this year. She's going to keep a tally. I think this is a fantastic idea. In fact, part of the reason PB and I decided to plant half our community plot in potatoes was to give the bulk of those taters to our local food bank. We'll also likely have extra zucchini (don't we all?) and beans and peas and carrots. We don't have much (any) cold storage in our house, so we must immed-o-eat, can, or freeze everything we grow. Or give it away :) We're also planning to put up a little sign that says part of our garden is grown for the food bank, to hopefully encourage some of the other members in the garden to do the same. (Although, there is a rule in the Community Garden rulebook that says we can't post signs, but I'm sure there won't be any objection to this.)


PB's parents visited us on their way to and from a road trip to the States to see Bob Seger in concert. Whenever they visit, we have The UberProductivity, getting things done around the house and yard. It's basically the most awesome thing ever, The UberProductivity. I wish I could bottle the way PB is suddenly inspired to actually do the things he thinks about doing, so I could secretly put it in his water. (Not to give the impression that PB doesn't do anything, because he is, after all, a SAHD, and hence does A LOT. It is only the bigger projects that are frequently put on the backburner. We both do it. Somehow, the Internet always seems like a better way to pass the time lol.) Much of the benefit of having parents around is simply the extra hands, to hold a Sprout or wrangle a Bean.
Witness said Bean-wrangling, which is especially important around power tools. The men are building a box to house our lawnmower, so it doesn't have to take up a bunch of room in the garage, but also isn't subject to the weather. It's a mighty nice box. Recycled the wood from the way-too-expensive box we had built for our piano when we moved here. Said wood was also used to build a house for our air conditioner to wear during the winter.
Here he is helping Grandma pull grass out of a flower bed along the back of our house. The previous owners had built a lovely box around this bed, which we deconstructed, to pilfer the dirt from the bed into our veggie garden box. At the time, we really wanted the veggie box but couldn't afford a delivery of soil. I thought we would either gravel or grass over this bed, but instead we put our compost bins down and planted stuff. Weird. Without the box, the grass encroached. So PB took the old walls apart, and used the pieces to build several box-like structures, including essentially reconstructing the box that was originally here. Did you follow that? The compost bins are being moved further from the house (they attracted mice near the house/garage, and a bunny nested beside them last year) and we're putting down a small patio for our BBQ. The bed contains rhubarb, lambs' ear, irises, a random sage-like plant that I think may be a weed, a clematis that might be dead this year, and some columbine and pansies. And grass that I now need to extricate. Those plastic veggie spinnies are going in our big garden plot - aren't they cute?
As predicted in last week's kG post, Sprout was kept trundled up and napping in the nice sun and breeze. No bugs yet! During the power tool time, she was moved to a less noisy location :) Incidentally, we are getting a load of dirt this year, to fill the veggie box, the bed along the house, and a new box under our spruce up front, where I will plant snow-on-the-mountain, ferns, maybe some pansies, maybe some phlox. (Don't worry, she didn't stay there all afternoon, she didn't overheat, she didn't have too much sun exposure, she wasn't cold, etc. etc.)

This is a coleus variety called Dog-Be-Gone (coleus canina) that smells like skunk, presumably from the sticky-oily stuff that gets on your fingers when you touch the leaves. Humans don't really smell it unless the plant is disturbed (e.g. when watering, in windy conditions) but apparently it keeps animals (#$%@# RABBITS) out of garden beds. I would need a lot of plants to keep them out of my yard completely, but it roots where it touches the ground, so I can put transplants in the two beds I'm really concerned about protecting. If it works even a little bit (i.e. I can grow carrots) it will be worth the $4.
Ferns don't grow very well in Cowtown, but they grow like weeds in the Prairie Valley City, because it's much wetter here. We not-very-surreptitiously stole these ferns from a back alley and transplanted them last year. They did not thrive as far as I could tell - I thought maybe the soil wasn't good quality, or I didn't water properly, who knows? The leaves withered. But here are the fiddleheads pushing bravely up again! I did a little dance :)

The community plot has not yet conducted the survey marking out the plots, so we haven't planted anything. It will be weeks, because we have some initial weed control to do, then we'll get it tilled, and finally planted. Our growing season seems ridiculously short compared to all the American bloggers I follow, some of whom are already harvesting things (!) but rest assured, we will get food! :) Happy kinderGARDENing for another week! Check out Kim's blog if you want to join the fun (it's never too late!!)
Posted by Picasa


  1. First of all and completely off the gardening little one's hair rocks! Seriously how cute is that???

    I'm so glad you are joining in to help feed the hungry...most of us are so very blessed and it really makes us appreciate our blessing when we share them!

    Can't wait to follow along with your garden adventures this season! Kim

  2. Oh my goodness...your little sprout is BEA-U-tee-FUL!!!! Love all that hair. Can't wait to watch your garden grow!

  3. I've never heard of Dog-Be-Gone coleus. I can't decide it I love it or if the smell would be a problem. Looks like it was a great week outside! :)

  4. i hope your stinky coleus does the trick! maybe we'll have to try it with the barn cats. hmmm... :)

  5. Are you in Canada? Our growing season here in ND seems awfully short too, you're not alone!

    Grass is my enemy here too. We have our garden in an old cattle corral so digging grass roots is an eternal process.

    YAY for the little fiddleheads! I'm doing a very undignified little happy dance for you too! :)

  6. I have never been able to harvest beans or peas - due to rabbits. I am fencing my raised garden beds with chicken wire this year. Last year I used plastic covered wire and they chewed right through it.

  7. Have never heard of the coleus, but I'm going to try and find it. I think the bunnies have started nibbling on my strawberry plants.

    Your two little ones are adorable. :)