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There are two things I’m currently taking care of, a newborn and a vegetable garden. Both are totally new to me and both are lots of fun and very satisfying to spend time with, even if they have some occasional fussiness I have to figure out how to deal with. Today’s post is about the garden! The vegetable garden is pretty well established now, about six weeks after the seeds going in which I wrote about here. Look at those bean teepees at the ends of the bed!
Many of the plants are doing splendidly. Both varieties of pole beans are thriving and having a grand time climbing the bamboo canes. We’ve already harvested several radishes from the first round of seeds and the second planting is coming along too. The cucumber looks tough and awesome, and the muskmelon (like a canteloupe) finally sprouted under the hop vines.
The melon will grow sideways and the hops will grow up. At least that’s the idea.
Not everything sprang to life so easily. A couple weeks ago I finally had to admit that some of my seeds weren’t going to come up – my tomatoes, my jalapenos, my chard, basil, and most of my carrots. That was about half of what I’d planted so it was a bummer. I re-seeded and now I have a few more carrots and some chard seedlings, but it looks like the jalepenos are a no-show this year. I have two tiny, tiny basil seedlings where the leaves are the size of lentils.
I have no faith that they will last much longer so I bought a nice bushy basil plant from the hardware store. Ha! I WILL have fresh pesto this year.
As I mentioned, none of my tomatoes came up the first time. I re-seeded and all three varieties of tomato seedlings came up (at which point I became pretty sure I pulled them up as weeds the first time… oops!) but after a week or so, all the seedlings except one were munched away by bugs overnight. The lone survivor is for a purple-and-red striped tomato, and I hope it makes it to maturity! It’s about three inches tall right now.
For insurance, I bought three tomato plants from the hardware store and planted them where the other ones didn’t come up. I didn’t take pictures of them because they’re not really my kids, you know?
We probably won’t recoup our costs this first year of gardening. I’d say the bed preparations cost about $40, the seeds were $42, and the mature tomatoes and basil were about $15. Next year I’ll still have plenty of seeds left over and will be able to start the tomatoes early indoors, so there won’t be much cost for additional seeds or for potted seedlings. The Chief hopes to till another bed next spring and double our planting area! That’s great because I do have a few sprawling types of vegetables I wasn’t able to plant this year due to space constraints – watermelon, zucchini, etc.
What are you growing in your neck of the woods? My midwife already has zucchini overload but she started her garden much earlier than I. Do you have vegetables? A few urns of decorative annuals on the front stoop? An acre of corn? A philodendron in the living room? Or is a garden something you also have been dreaming about for a while?
Well, we did it. The little girl is three and a half weeks old and we have managed to keep her alive and happy. I have to say she’s our biggest DIY project yet… har har har.
I thought today I’d share what the Chief did on his paternity leave.
First thing was to put a sign on the door. Somewhere in the middle of labor (we did a home birth) I suddenly turned to the Chief and said, “Oh my gosh, can you put a sign on the door so nobody tries to drop in?” It was early Sunday morning and friends routinely show up unannounced to visit on the weekends. So he made this sign for me, with his friendliest roundy capital letters and a smiley face:
As an introvert as well as a new mom, I just didn’t want to see or talk to anybody for a long time, so that sign stayed up for more than two weeks. It was awesome. It even kept some Jehovah’s Witnesses from knocking.
Secondly, he installed air conditioning in the house. I’m not totally sure of the details because I was mere days out from giving birth, but there was an old cruddy nonfunctional system up in the attic which got replaced in an epic four-day (I think) work project. We’d never had working AC apart from a small unit in the back window, and that window had been replaced several months ago with the French doors – effectively leaving us with no air conditioning and summer on the way. The Chief had been collecting the components to install whole-house AC for a while, but when our thermostat indoors was suddenly reading 84 degrees he realized he needed to put it in Right Now while he had time off!
Uninstalling the old system showed that it was worse than we’d thought. He ended up ripping out all the ducting, resulting in some impressive piles of trash.
The poor man was covered in 40 year old insulation from crawling around the attic and dragging that stuff out.
Now we have a brand new, sanitary, high powered AC system that can keep the house up to 30 degrees below the outside temps – an excellent thing when summer highs routinely go over 100 degrees and we always get a day or three over 110. Babe, if you’re reading this, can I just say THANK YOU again?
And last but not least, I was able to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother this year for the very first time! The little girl got here with great timing, and to top it off, my mom was in town from Michigan over the holiday too. What the Chief did was to made us a succulent Mother’s Day feast on the grill. We had lobster tails (so much better grilled than steamed!), steamed Dungeness crab, grilled asparagus, and a big spring mix salad. Oh, and lots of melted butter with garlic. In fact, between the asparagus broiling in a shallow pan of butter, the butter stuffed into the lobster tails while they cooked, and the butter used to dip the seafood in, we went through about two and a half sticks of butter on this meal. A lot of it fell into the grill though so that’s not the actual amount consumed… quite… YEAH BUTTER!
So that’s what went on during paternity leave. Sounds awesome, huh?