Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting the garden going early.

The good wife and I were cruising the Home Depot one evening, having a nice date out on the town, and we came across a kit for a grow light that was made by one of the employees named Kevin.  He had set up a cart showing all the parts that would be needed, and had sheets printed out showing how to build it and what to do to start your garden indoors.  Kevin was there this night and was more than happy and willing to help out some naive transplants, I mean customers.  We picked his brain for about an hour about what we should be doing with our yard, what we should do with our shrubs, our trees, what grows here and when.  He even told us about his blog about his gardening called KevInTheGarden.  But the big discussion was about the garden. Since we moved here in June last year, we were a little late getting started, but we were still able to get a few raised beds made and got a few items planted.

First year raised beds.

But this year was going to be different.  We got another volunteer neighbor of ours to come and rototill a small portion of our yard next to the raised beds for an in-ground garden.  Then we went to another neighbors house just down the road for some composted horse manure.  She puts all the horse manure from her horses into small piles just inside the woods next to her barn.  When we told her we were working on a garden, she offered all the manure we could want.  We got our buckets and shovels and headed over to her piles.  It was amazing!  Push the shovel into a pile covered with leaves and a nice dark rich compost comes up, light and fluffy, just what our garden needs.  We added a couple bags of lime to help break up the clay, and then one more tilling of the soil by our volunteer neighbor to blend it all together.  Our garden was ready to go!

The section of our yard that we call "The Garden."

But the weather wasn't.  We were still a bit early.  So off I went to the Home Depot to buy the grow light kit.  Basically a two bulb shop light and some PVC pipe.  It was a really simple assembly and we were off and growing in our basement.

The grow light in action, helping the seedlings reach to the sky in the basement.

Our volunteer neighbor's wife is an avid gardener, so she pointed us towards a local seed company called Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  The package came the next week and the seeds were planted.  It only took a couple days to get the seeds germinating and the seedlings were on their way.

It has continued to be cold here in Goochland, VA the last week or two.  The good wife was able to get the peas planted outside in the garden since they are more cold hardy and will tolerate a good frost.

First row of peas planted and ready to grow.

It's been a long, long time since I have had home grown peas.  My mouth is watering thinking how they will taste like little bits of candy.  (Can't we all hear our parents saying that their vegetables taste "as sweet as candy" from when we were kids?  Now I know what they meant!)

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