27 May 2010
Today I spent the day with Dad. He died in 2003.
I'm comforted by his presence, all these years later.
I've always enjoyed putting out a garden. There's just nothing like fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, and green beans ripened, picked, and served up from your own garden.
In 1972 I saw an ad in a magazine for a rear-tine tiller similar to the one shown above, asked for information on it, had the information sent home, and told Dad that information was on the way.
He liked what he saw and bought the machine. We used it for years in the large garden we put out every summer at the property where I grew up. When Mom and Dad moved from that property, Dad sold me the machine.
I used it for a couple years, then thought I was too busy to put out a garden. I put the tiller in the shed and it sat there until last year when I decided again to plant, got it out, tinkered with it and got it running.
You may remember my complaints last year-
I tilled the soil, planted corn, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Then it turned cold. Not cold enough to kill the plants, but cold enough to make them wonder if they were in Alaska. It slowed their growth.
Then the deer came and munched. I can understand them eating the beans and the corn, but the peppers?! I never thought they'd eat peppers. (Deer eat peppers!)
The garden was almost a total bust. It was too cold for the corn to produce. The deer devoured the beans when they were 6-inch tasty morsels.
The cukes? Bugs got 'em.
We DID get a few tomatoes, but our neighbor's were bigger and tastier and they shared, thank God.
I tilled the garden today. It was 90 degrees and partly cloudy. I took off my shirt to get a little sun. Ten minutes into the task I was soaked in sweat. Unlike many, I like that feeling.
Dad was with me as I made last year's garden plot half-again as big, tilling to a depth of about 8 inches. The Troy-Built turns the soil to almost the consistency of cake flour, and once the sod is broken up you can almost turn the tiller loose, then walk to the other end to meet it as it finishes the row. It's a wonderful tool.
The soil is almost black. It smells wonderful. It feels wonderful beneath your feet. I realize I'm getting a late start, but I'm hoping the fact that I'm using "Miracle-Gro" on seeds with soil that is toasty-warm will help my late starters get a good foothold.
Today I planted one bell pepper and one cucumber plant.
I sowed a row of Illini Super Sweet corn and a row of "Royal Burgundy" green beans, 20 seeds in each. We've had good luck with both of these in years past and they are both tasty and wonderful. I'll go out next week and plant another row of each, then do that again the next week. That should fill my garden plot and the schedule should spread out my harvest. I have three different varieties of tomatoes in "Topsy-Turvy" planters hanging in the sun from our clothes line. So that's corn, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. That pretty much covers what I really love, fresh from the garden.
An hour after I finished planting and putting the equipment away the sky opened up. I'm sure it rained at least an inch on those seeds in that warm, fertile soil.
Now, I just have to figure out how to keep Bambi and his Mother (they're not innocent at all, ya know!) away from my sprouts.
I'm devising a system as I type this and will tell ya about it later.
Home early this morning, I went out to survey how much rain we got and what it had done to my work. Guess what I see?!!
I'm tellin' ya, this year we're goin' to war!