Monday, October 25, 2010

Soil Diggers - Episode 2: Demeter & Ceres

In Greek mythology, the goddess Demeter was the most generous of the great Olympian goddesses. Demeter was beloved for her service to mankind in giving them the gift of the harvest, the reward for cultivation of the soil. She was also known as Ceres (to the Romans), because she had a bit of a split personality... And a temper. Word on the street is that she opened a can of whoop-ass on Earth in the winter killing everything in sight.

So, since we want a bountiful harvest, what better way to pay tribute to Demeter/Ceres than to name our gardens after her/them. That's right, gardens. With an s. Because look at how much soil we have:

That's one big pile of soil

By the way, it's amazing how dirty you can get from soil. I guess what they say is true: You can take the soil out of the dirt, but you can't take the dirt out of the soil. or something.

And while we were at it, we decided to get that third compost bin we've had our eyes on.
Newest addition to the family

The stork (aka the nice folks at the City of Chandler) dropped it off on our door step. For Free! Yep, we went all out on our garden. Only the best. Now we'll have plenty of compost to feed our young garden.

And just so our new garden would look all naked once we finished the build, we had a few transplants to kick start the process. Meet the Sproutlings:


Apparently some produce does better when started inside and transplanted into the garden, though I suspect they just wanted to wait until baseball season was over. Additionally, we had some basil that was contemplating some tough career choices, but in the end decided to take our offer and move into the spacious plot near Nathan's garden. We also picked up two tomato plants since we were a bit late to the tomato game.

Demeter, our first

Adopted twins

Then, after assessing the first garden and allocating space to Nathan, we felt that we wouldn't have enough room for all the bounty Demeter was about to bestow upon us that we needed a second garden to hold it all. We were also kind of afraid of the whole split personality thing and didn't want to get on her/her bad side. And so, Ceres was born.

Ceres, the baby

If you are wondering what happened to the step by step photos I was planning, I apparently didn't stop to take more pictures during the final build. Thus the stand-ins above, just imagine less greenery and soil. Plus a few more I hate gravel comments.

Next week, on Soil Diggers:
Tragedy strikes the garden! How will our garden cope? Plus some uninvited guests pop up - Is there evil lurking about?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soil Diggers - Episode 1: The Canvas

Let's build a garden! What a better way to spend a few hours in the dirt. Sorry soil. It didn't spend four years in gardening school to be call dirt. And we spent good money on it so we better not soil its good name with the D word. Especially if we're going to be putting it's bounty on our plates and eating it. Imagine, eating something that came from dirt, ugh, how pedestrian.

So why a garden? Well, it'll save a trip to the farmer's market. Plus, organic veggies are expensive. And we have some extra space just lying around the house. Also, it's fun, or so say those other gardeners, though I don't recall them saying the building part of it was all that and a bag of chips.

So let's see what we have to work with...

The Canvas

So we decided on a nice little 3.5 ft by 15 ft. garden. You know, nothing too fancy and showy. We had two spots to choose from, each on the sides of the house, but opted for the side our compost is on since we'll be adding it to the garden frequently. The only issue may be the sun exposure but after talking with a few others, it sounds like we'll have enough.

Notice anything different...Shovel?

So we first had to clear away the gravel. I hate gravel.

Little workers

I really hate gravel. I mean really. It sucks. No offense, well, unless you are gravel.

This is how you do it

And to make it even better, I had some help along the way. Nice spot Sonoma, way to lay right where I'm working.

My little buddies helping out

And we're clear. Temporarily anyway. We decided to expand later which required more moving of the gravel.


Nathan actually turned around and said "cheese" when he heard the camera going.

So here we are at the end of part one. Will the garden be finished in time to plant for the winter? What will be planted? Will there be enough food to feed the family? Will the gravel regroup and attack at night? Who will survive? Did Professor Plum kill the carrots with the rake in the garden?

All that and more, next on...Soil Diggers.