Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gardening on a Budget

So, I've been absent from the blogosphere for a while for various reasons. I'll fill you in on the biggest holdup later, but today's post is all about the generosity I've experienced in terms of our garden.

I should preface this with saying that I teach a gardening exploratory once a week at school for a handful of middle schoolers. As a result of my pleas to faculty and staff (and parents) for their perennials and donations, there are several folks in the community who know that I have a passion for gardening and sharing what grows well up here. Benny's also shared my love of gardening with regular customers, so there are a few painters who will bring him seeds and root cuttings of various things. Over the past few weeks, I've had friends and coworkers bring me hosta plants, dahlia bulbs, chives, burning bushes, raspberry bushes, and some grapevine cuttings. Since these are all things that need to be split and pruned on a regular basis, it was no inconvenience to anyone and ended up helping us out a lot.

We've created a small area for a veggie garden, which we hope to expand, where we'll plant the heirloom tomato plants I purchased at Earthfare on Monday. (They were in peat pots and if they produce what the tags say, will be fantastic this summer!) We also plan to plant some peppers, squash, zucchini, and some lettuces. We made the raised bed out of a damaged door frame that came from our back door, so it was totally "free" and was a great way to repurpose something. The small group community garden I mentioned earlier won't come to pass this summer, since several folks have become overwhelmed with building a home and/or moving. Maybe next summer on that...

The raspberry bushes and grapevine will be planted along the fence line in our side yard so that they have plenty of room to grow and climb. I'll need to construct an arbor of some sort for the grapevine, so if you have great ideas, let me know. We picked up our blueberry bushes from the 4H program a few weeks ago and I started them in pots, since the area we want to plant them is getting a major overhaul next weekend thanks to the McFalls clan and a retaining wall being constructed. So, our edible landscape is coming along nicely.

The hostas, irises, yarrow, various ground covers, and other plants from friends last year have come up beautifully this spring. It's an exciting thing to start to see your gardens take shape, especially when you start with just construction dirt, like we did! All of the garden areas have received a generous helping of mulch, thanks to the free stuff from the landfill. Hopefully the new garden areas will get some mulch once we can borrow a truck to haul it in.

So, what about you? How do you garden on a budget, share the wealth with family and friends, and find the joy in spring? Here's to living and saving green in the garden this season!

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