We finally got a weekend with very little on the calendar. Most people see those blank squares and think: relax! We see those blank squares and think: farm/garden work!
We are perenially, perpetually behind, and we can really appreciate the help that a hired hand or two might lend. Our oldest two are getting strong and responsible enough to fit the bill, and what happens? Other people want them to work as well. Unfortunately for us, the competing offers come with cash payment. Guess who wins. Primo actually had two job offers yesterday: help his grandparents with their garden, or stack hay for a local farmer. The depressed job market doesn't seem to be affecting the teenage manual labor segment at all. He and his brother elected to help with the garden -- and were compensated handsomely for their time -- but are not too enthusiatic about helping us do the same job today, for no pay. (Room and board are not considered adequate payment in their eyes.)
Luckily for me, however, one boy was left at home. He didn't seem to miss his brothers at all. In fact, I think he is just happy to get 100% of our attention for a change.
We went to the garden market to get potting plants and the rest of our vegetables. He declared his wish to plant his own garden, so here's his recipe for beautiful pots:
Start with an empty pot, and add some organic matter to the bottom. (Hint: this organic matter came from the sheep shed and contained quite a bit of, in the master gardener's words, "poop." He was fascinated that plants like it. We spent quite a bit of time during dinner yesterday -- in the middle of Pizzeria Uno -- discussing the fact that "plants eat poop.")
Scoop in some potting soil and wet it down.
Add another layer of organic matter; in addition to providing fertilizer, the organic matter will help to hold water in the soil. (We have plenty here for anyone who wants to come haul it away!) Top with more potting soil.
Wet and mix well. For all his aptitude for getting dirty at the drop of a hat, this was the master gardener's least favorite part of the task.
Now you're ready to plant! It helps to have someone choosing the plant combinations for you. He was carrying on a running commentary to explain how to free the plants from the pots. I couldn't get my video to work, but you can see he's talking in the pictures. The commentary went something like this: "Now you just squeeze the bottom and pull the top to get the plant out. Hmm... dat's not working. OK, squeeze a little harder. HARDER... and pull. Phew! dere it is."
His garden, once we finished:
It is so beautiful that we sat this morning, sipped coffee and I spun while my LSH read a magazine. I'm not sure there's any better way to start the day.
ps Yesterday was my first blogiversary. Thanks to all of you who visit!