Thursday, February 12, 2009


Gardening time is here!

Yesterday Dad, my brothers Justin and Curtis, and I were out together in the garden, working. That wasn't the first time Dad's been in the garden this year, but it was my first time getting out there. It felt soooo good!

60-degree weather, coat, ...the scent of moist dirt, ...the sound of shovel load after shovel load of dirt being turned, ...the sight of dozens of fat worms wriggling as they are exposed to the air, ...discussions about where to plant what, ...I love all of it.

Yesterday I was turning under the green manure that's been growing all winter in the beds. Then I helped Justin move the compost pile. It's coming along nicely! We haven't turned it very often all winter, but there's a layer of rich black earth on the bottom. ....Well, it's all churned up now, so it's not on the bottom any more.

We hope to get some alpaca manure to put in our garden soon. Did you know that alpacas are some of the most efficient digesters there are? Their manure doesn't even need to compost - you can put it right in the soil. And it's rich in nutrients, too. If you are blessed, like we are, to have an alpaca farm in town, go beg some manure from them! ...If you have a garden, that is. :)

I can't explain the way gardening thrills my soul. I delight in being surrounded by growing things. I love being independent, growing our own life-sustaining food. I like the competition; always trying to do better than last year. I love cooking with fresh foods.

I only ever completely relax when I'm outdoors. I often think that if I ever have to talk with someone about anything really important, I'd best do it outside, because it's there that I think clearly and calmly. Being outdoors does something for my spirit. And one of my favorite outdoor places is our garden.

Depending on where you live, you may think it's a little early to be talking about gardening. I'm so glad to be living in Virginia! ...Yet even here some folks think this is way too early.

Not Dad. He's always planning how we can start earlier and earlier every year, and grow longer, too. He and I start drooling over seed catalogs right after Christmas. :)

Actually, we're a little late this year. I looked back on my gardening journal and found out that last year my first day in the garden was Feb. 8th, not 11th. *grin*

Today I planted 20 broccoli seeds, and 72 marigolds. The broccoli is downstairs on our gardening hot plate, and the marigolds are out in the greenhouse we built for Dad this Christmas.

If any of you remember my marigold plants from last year, you might be interested to know that - for the first time in my life - I saved seeds from a plant I grew, and planted them! Yup, the seeds I planted today were my own!

I keep track of these dates and such in my gardening notebook. I love this thing:

Contained in this notebook are layout plans, notes from gardening books I've read, my garden journal, and recipes for preserving the harvest. I started my gardening notebook this year, and it's already come in handy.

Are any of the rest of you starting on your gardening plans for this year? Want to share details? I'd love to hear!


Leah said...

Amber, I certainly share your love of the garden.. but...February? That is unheard of up here! I looked at your post and said, gardening time?!
Wow! What a blessing to be gardening so early in the year. It's not even time for me to plant in-doors yet and I like to grow them under lights for twelve weeks! Virginia sounds extra-specially nice right now!
I am thankful for the ability to garden though and I am looking forward to June. :)

Have fun!

Amber said...

Oh Leah; you made me laugh! Sorry. I didn't realize your area doesn't plant until June. Poor you. I don't think I could wait that long! I get feverish waiting for mid. February.

Don't worry, though; right now we're just talking peas and broccoli, not tomatoes and squash. :)