May 23 – Making the bed(s)

So, by now you know I don’t like fall clean up. Can you guess that I would rather do ALL my cleaning chores outside?
 
Surprisingly, I am very organized and my house is ALWAYS neat at the end of the day. I can’t really sit down to "me time" until the newspapers are recycled; the ball caps are headed to their owner’s room; pots, pans, cutting board are done drying and back in their places. I grew up with the "a place for everything and everything is its place’ mantra – I don’t lose keys because they simply do not go to a place belonging to something else.
 
But, I hate to clean the house until it is time for a party. I can close a door on an unmade bed as long as my room of retreat is in order.
 
So, when I do get around to making the beds – it will be for the benefit of my future veggies!
 
Here is what I decided on; Big Garden is, well, big (34′ x 40′), divided by many paths, symmetrically containing;
  • 4′ x 4′ raised beds for individual plants
  • 4′ x 9′ beds for grouped plants (cutting flowers, greens, multiples of a single variety like okra)
  • 9′ x 9′ beds (or close depending on the symmetry…) for crops like corn, pumpkins, melons  – things that need room
  • a central, decorative herb garden of diagonal, triangular beds surroundig a bird bath for that French Potager feeling that I longed for

The beds are 4′ x 4′ for the most part so that all tending can be done without stepping on the fine soil I have been striving to build all these years.

The 4′ x 9′ beds still allow this protection while allowing a more sprawling plant its needed space.

The 9′ x 9’+ beds do get walked on, but not frequently since it is hard to get through corn stalks and pumpkin vines, and there is little need until it is time to harvest – at which point the soil is dry and less susceptible to damage. The clay we have here in southern Ohio is far more damaged in spring when wet – this is the time to stay OFF.

With that in mind, I still haven’t tilled, sewn seeds, or planted, and I just know it will be next weekend or the following until I do get in. I just can’t seem to beat this schedule. But, by then, the soil will be warm, and the tomatoes, if they had gone in earlier, with the recent cool nights and sogging rains, would still have to play catch up.

To tolerate this late start, I do grow herbs I can’t wait for – ANY LONGER – in pots on my deck, and I will also sneak off to support the local farmer’s markets too. 

Visit www.localharvest.org if you need to do the same!

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