In a full squat with my butt to my heels and sweat dripping from my face, I hug my arms around a roll of sod, drive up through my heels and hoist it into our wheelbarrow. This is one of several sod rolls removed from a square-ish patch in the backyard, making way for a second garden. Today -- a warm, cloud-covered day, hovering around 80° and humid -- was a good day to break a sweat; break some Earth; and do some country-living on our city lot.
The first garden, closest to the house, was installed last week. Given the dirt around here is sandy, doesn't hold water, and isn't particularly good to plant in, we bought a yard of "super-loam" at a nearby nursery, tossed it along with some dirt from the other side of the barn and created a mound-like garden. Mixing the super-loam and dirt from the yard seemed like a reasonable idea. The first-week results, however, aren't too promising. The first garden seems a bit lackluster.
So what, exactly, got planted? Well, the current under-performers are tomatoes (Best Boy and Roma), basil, zucchini, peppers (bell and jalapeno), rhubarb (a total mistake), and marigolds (I read they may attract insects that prey on bugs harmful to the garden). As this is my absolute first-ever garden, I'm rolling the dice with a couple of my decisions; such as, by cramming more plants into a given area than is recommended, I've created some unnecessary challenges.
By mostly installing plants, as opposed to starting from seed, I've also eliminated at least one large challenge. Unfortunately, by installing plants I feel like I'm cheating. Being late in the season to sow seeds (as I understand it) and without gardening experience, plants seemed a better bet. Now to be clear, I also rolled the dice on some seeds. Turns out, I thought the rhubarb I planted was Swiss chard. Even after reading the package and staring at the picture of the plant on the front, I still thought I was planting chard. Instead, it's a row of rhubarb in the first garden that's crammed up too close against the marigolds.
The second garden went in easily enough. After removing the sod this time, a full yard of super-loam was dumped in and spread around without mixing in dirt from the yard. The second garden, therefore, sits a bit lower than the first and seems to hold water much better (it also just looks healthier, too). The roll of the dice on the second garden are pea-plant seeds, sown one inch down and four inches apart. For some unknown reason, the peas excite me.
Finally, here are some bits unearthed from the back yard. Burying trash right on their property was a thing people did for a long time. Digging on both sides of the barn has turned up some nifty items, though, and being a sucker for old stuff, these little treasures make me smile as do these acts of unearthing old things to make way for new things -- sowing seeds that bring me closer to the earth and God.