We made a decision. It was not without some serious consideration, though. In fact, Tim was ready to jump and I made him keep his feet on the ground for a few days while I mulled it over. I had to be sure that it was the right choice.
We dug a hole. In our backyard. We notified the community garden coordinators that we would not be participating this year and we dug a hole. When you dig a hole--in your backyard--it's semi-permanent. You can plant grass seed there, but it will take a long while for it blend in, and until that happens there will be a reminder that you dug a hole.
As I said, this was all Tim's idea. A very good idea, I admit. He knows that I truly enjoy gardening and fussing over our plants so he suggested that instead of commuting back and forth to the community garden, why don't we just plant here? I didn't have any major objections except natural hesitation about digging up the healthy grass. The purpose, it seems, of many community gardens is a place to plant for those who don't have the space to do it at home. And while we completely appreciate the opportunity Mason was offering us, I couldn't deny that it would be easier to care for and water our plants at home.
I attempted to assist as Tim assembled the cedar box, but I'm not much help when it comes to power tools. The dogs seemed to think we were building a playground for them, jumping in and out of the boxes and sniffing the perimeter.
The really hard work was digging the hole--which, thankfully, Tim handled. I brought him iced tea, distracted the dogs (somewhat unsuccessfully), and cheered him on from the patio. After the hole was complete, we filled it with really great soil. We mixed together humus and top soil to create the ideal garden bed for our plants.
Because our garden was facing east-to-west, we needed to arrange taller plants (like tomatoes) towards the northwestern side of the boxes and the shorter plants (like cabbage) to the south-eastern side of the boxes. Next we laid down a recycled fabric that will will prevent weeds from being able to grow around the plants. Then we mulched around the plants to maximize the moisture retention of the soil and reinforce the weed prevention.
We ended up planting a handful of tomatoes, a few different types of peppers, two eggplants, two cucumbers (at Melissa's request), a butternut squash, a watermelon, a broccoli, a red cabbage, and a pumpkin (that already has big blossoms). Yes, it's ambitious, but I'm excited.
I have a good feeling about the garden this year. I can't think of what we else we could have done to set ourselves up for a better harvest, and I'm proud of us for trying again after a disappointing experience last summer. Overall, I'm optimistic that we are going to have a great summer filled with canning, freezing, drying, and consuming what we grow.