Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Garden Update!

Day One. Let's hear it for 12 hours of blood and sweat (no tears, though!). Although I was 0 for 3 on helpers that said they'd stop by, I was still able to get everything in...with a few caveats and thoughts for next year.

Before shots:

[East side of the Penthouse; wild chives have been there for years]

[Looking toward the river and west side of the Penthouse]

[Looking towards the east side of the Penthouse and Boston]

[What a box looked like when I started]

[Another box; this one was full of weeds and old dirt]

[My trusty bucket and cup used for watering...I filled it up in the kitchen and then individually watered each planter. That white thing is one of the five bales of dirt I ordered from the Endicott House. Soil is deceptively heavy, that's all I gotta say]


[See that knife-looking thing on the upper left? This particular implement has been named the "OJ Special" by the guy I borrowed the tools from. And let me tell you, I was a little scared of using him, but holy cow. What a brilliant tool.]

[Now we get to the slight problem I mentioned earlier. (PS that's my arm covered in dirt. Sunscreen + really aerosolized dirt = Bridget man-arms ---the latter was responsible for the dirt coming out of my ears and nose and eyes. I still feel like I can't really see that well). Back to the problem---if you look at the holey thing, it's about eight inches below the top of the planter boxes. If you give the plants the three inches of head space at the top for windbreak, you have only five inches of dirt to play with, which is non optimal. So---I used the trusty OJ Special and my fingers minus about 8 layers of skin to help me pry it out.]

[Here's what I found---bits of dirt and rock! Plus some cement blocks. And here comes the engineering! Ha. Right.]

[I flipped over the cement blocks and put them in opposite corners...they didn't quite both fit on each side, so the other two went in the middle.]

[Now, I can put the drainage separator back on and voila! More space!]

[In progress...the foreground planter has the lowered drainage separator and is ready for gravel. The background planter has the gravel and old dirt on the bottom layer. Given the condition of the dirt already in most of the planters, I used this dirt as the base layer and then added the fancy-peat-moss-on-steroids from Endicott House.]

[Phew! Progress (looking toward Cambridgeport). Time for lunch.]

[Happy me right before lunch! Look at that hair, wow. Thanks wind!]

I came back from lunch having thought through the whole lowering the drainage separator thing, which, well genius, has a few issues:

--More space for dirt means you need more dirt. After doing the first eight boxes this way, I realized there was absolutely no way I'd have enough dirt if I continued with the current plan.

--It takes a lot of time. And knuckle skin. I tend to hate using gloves due to the loss in tactile sensation...but the numbness that comes with picking up #7-#34 grade sharp pea gravel makes up for it, I suppose. I only cut myself once, but my hands are so dry they feel like paper! Anyways, some of these planters aren't in the best of shape...if I had the money, I would have rebuilt some of them that are completely off-kilter, fixed the entire system by which they're built, and cleaned out all the gravel from each of them prior to use, found the right size of concrete blocks to use, had the same amount of pea gravel in each one, etc... But let's be serious...that would have A, taken forever and B, gone far beyond the skill/brawn/workmanship I currently have. And honestly---while I can say that I think the plants in the more dirt planters will do better, I don't really know. Maybe they won't. But now I have a control set with which to compare my garden as it grows for next year. I still have an entire half of the Penthouse planters which are empty, and maybe it'll be something where I go for the whole shebang next year. I don't know yet. But for now, I cut my losses and went forward with planting.


[The corner that looks towards Boston]

[A powerpoint map! And I figure I can make a new copied slide each week to report on the happenings of the garden to plan for next year]



[Chocolate Mint]









Also---I've never been so excited to see a bumblebee on a flower before. It came to visit my flowers while I was working! I could hardly contain myself...if someone would have seen me, oy.

[Looking toward the west side]

[Looking towards Fenway...the bright white things on the left side of the picture across the river are the lights that are on for night games]

[Sunset looking towards Cambridgeport]



gatoblog said...

Wow! What a project! Didn't know you had such nice digs with a view.
Looks like you are planning a great deal of herb pesto!

Heidi and Grant

Rachel M. Slough said...

So cool!!

Alyssa said...

I am impressed! Keep us updated!

Debbie said...

Amazing work Bridget! ;)

Anonymous said...

That's so cool. I'm actually moving out of the house that I currently live in into an apartment. I've been looking at Ebay to find vendors for herbs and veggies. I want perilla, upland cress, and nasturtium in addition to the usual ones.


Sprite said...

It looks wonderful! You should be so proud. I'm sure that everything will grow up big and strong and make for many delicious meals. What a gorgeous space! Well done!

Bridget said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm really excited to see my garden grow, and then to excite my students with lots of fun recipes in the fall...I have a great mint chocolate tart I'd like to make with my $135.34 in tart pans, as well as lots of different kinds of pesto. One of my favorite kinds of pesto is uses ground walnuts, honey, mint, and a bit of cocoa delicious!

Sara said...

that's AWESOME Bridget! I'm so proud of you for doing all of that! I can't wait to see pictures of the first thing you make with all your fresh homegrown herbs! :)