Archive for December, 2008

Gardening in the Snow

Our garden and shedWe had our first little snowstorm today.  Well, it didn’t stick so I don’t know if it counts but Kelly (our foster dog) sure was bewildered.  Okay, only for about thirty seconds and then she started eating it in the shadowy places where it kinda stuck.  I spent part of the morning reading a book on companion gardening and watching the snow out the window.  It’s a bit frustrating to get excited about gardening on a blustery day.

Luckily, the weather was fair this weekend so we found time to clean our gutters and rake up leaves.  We piled a bunch of leaves on the garden plot to become mulch for next season.  It doesn’t look that impressive in the picture but our garden plot is probably 10′ x 12′ and has about a foot of leaves piled up.  It’s no mini-farm but I’m a little overwhelmed thinking about what to plant and how to manage it all.

Overwhelmed and excited!  I want to have a beautiful garden bursting with tasty food and this place is going to be great for growing.  My only concern is that we’re dealing with heavy clay soils, a common feature of Monroe County.  The garden plot soil needs a lot of TLC and by TLC I mean organic matter.  The leaves are a great start but they have a pretty high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio.  I need to find a good source of nitrogen.  Composted horse manure would be awesome but the only sources I can find are haul-it-yourself, which doesn’t seem feasible in a Mazda Protege.   Food scraps tend to have a lot of nitrogen but I’m pretty sure putting them out on my garden plot would invite an impressive assortment of wild and feral animals to come strew bits all over the neighborhood.

I’m thinking maybe coffee grinds.  We don’t drink coffee but there are about a gazillion coffee shops in Bloomington and I hear coffee grinds are pretty easy to come by and full of nutrition.  I suspect they might encourage hyperactive plants but I guess maybe that’s a good thing?  I’m still debating the ethics of accepting coffee grounds from Starbucks; can I feel good about collecting waste from someplace that I don’t shop?  I had the same internal dilemma about whether or not to collect used vegetable oil from McDonalds for my greasecar but I think in the end, recycling anybody’s waste is a net boon to the world.

Next up: plant selection.  Garden catalogs, here I come!

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