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The Diary of a Novice Gardener: Making Progress

Old Man Winter has been reluctant to leave. The minute I think we are heading into mild weather, bitter cold and shrill winds rip through causing me to re-think packing up the winter clothing. Last year, Old Man Winter toyed with us clear into June. Anyone remember it snowing in Idaho in June? I am definitely not complaining. The 115 degree heat of the valley is nothing I look forward to. However, I am anxious to get my garden planted.

Mason’s preschool class learned about gardening last week. It was part of the topic “growing”. All week, they witnessed caterpillars creating chrysalis. I am as excited as the kids to see the appearance of butterflies soon. The sandbox was turned into a garden. They planted marigolds, some herbs, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. I signed up to bring tomato plants and marigolds. While at the nursery, I took the opportunity to purchase a few plants for myself.

I was in the process of building the raised beds when I realized the biggest enemy to my garden at present are the kids. Adelin loves flowers so much I had to stand guard over the fruit trees when they were in bloom. Last year, they dug up the potted orange tree I planted so they could use the dirt. I decided last minute to move the plants to the front yard incorporating the them into the landscape. I took three half barrels and planted tomatoes, cilantro, marigolds and green peppers then set them on the front porch. I lined the walkway with strawberry plants then dug a bed for future planting. The tree in the front yard was finally saved from the encroaching grass.

I am still working on setting the stage in the backyard. The kids finally managed to demolish the wooden boat sandbox. As I was taking it apart, I saw the makings of a trellis for the raspberries and the perfect box for the kids garden. We took the egg cartons I was saving to make flowers with and used them to plant vegetable seeds in. I have even seen the use of cotton balls and peat moss to start seeds. The leftover seeds belong to the kids to plant in their garden.

The next step is to figure out how to keep the bugs away from the growing strawberries, wait for the seedlings to grow and the larger plants to produce.