My Pajamas Are Dirty

So, I have been gardening!
Went outside early in the morning last week to see how the earth was feeling. As it turns out, she is feeling like making food for my family.
I couldn’t help it so I played in the dirt awhile, turning it over and seeing where the moisture is from the night before.
Rushed inside once I realized it was almost 7 a.m., and made my plan for where things will go. I did a little research on CSU Extension- this is worth checking out if you are going to garden. Certain to save you some time and headache trying to figure out where to put what.

My biggest task was getting the kids excited to garden together.
We went outside and my daughter helped sow some seeds. The other one wanted to play with her babies so that was fine too. Now I can’t help but have dreams about those first little tender plants poking out of the ground!

Here is what we planted: Sweet corn, spinach, buttercrunch lettuce, yellow italian squash, dark green zuccini squash, black bush beans, green bush beans, and sweet peas.
Still have to plant sage, and butternut squash seeds.
Will also purchase tomatoes and peppers as it is too late to start seeds outdoors in CO for these.

I love to play in the dirt.

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Raised Garden Beds, yay!

This last weekend the first half of my dream came true! The hubby was finally convinced that building me raised garden beds would make our life much better, and I promise, it will.
The planning and research has been taking place since we purchased our home, and I knew I wanted my beds located with full afternoon sun. I found the area of our yard that isn’t shaded by a fence and instructed a landscape company to install the sod and irrigation uncentered so I would have plenty of room. He was a little surprised and it took some explaining on why our yard is over there rather than in the middle, but I think he is fine with it now.
I shopped lumber and found Redwood in 2″x10″x8′ and also 12′ at Lowe’s for a reasonable price. Had them cut the 12′ in half since I can only reach in 3′ or so -halfway from each edge meets in the middle. We joined the edges, and leveled the tops and outside corners so there is less risk for abrasions while I am leaning and working. The wood is slightly warped and each board is within 1/4″ of advertised size so there was a little leveling and balancing to make it neat and perfect. So for under $200 after tax we have two 6’x8′ raised beds. The unexpected cost was the hardware, at a whopping $5 per bracket, and two on each corner, we spent almost half on just securing the beds. I really wanted to used reclaimed wood but he wouldn’t go for it, and these are the kinds of things we compromise on. I get the garden I want, he gets to build it with the materials he wants.
We made sure to space them far enough apart so I could fit a wheelbarrow between, as well as kneel comfortably. I can access the beds from all sides as well, important since they are pretty large.
The next step is fill dirt (since we don’t have extra), topsoil, compost, and peat moss. I need to turn the existing soil beneath the beds and then mix in the above materials, plant some seed and maybe some indoor starts I will buy from either craigslist or a farmer nearby… I am so excited!
I will be planting things that I have had luck with in my mother’s garden growing up, we are the same- temperate zone 5. From seed I will start squashes, cucumbers, beans, greens, onions, chives, oregano, maybe more. I will plant tomatoes, peppers, and basil from indoor starts. I will also try to plant things between rows that attract bees for pollination (just found this gem- http://www.organicgardening.com/tags/honey-bee-menu-for-pollen-and-nectar) and ward off other pests who might be interested in consuming my harvest before it’s time. This is the learning curve, let’s see what I come up with. I am reading magazines checked out from my local library to help me with this process; Country Woman, and HGTV had the most attractive articles this time around.
So, wish me luck and if you have any tips… do share!

2013 Drought Burden

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U.S. Drought Monitor March 12, 2013

Water is a major topic in Colorado. We are a headwater state, meaning water originates here and flows downward. Western states rely on compacts and treaties with CO entitling them to a reasonable portion of all waters flowing naturally through their states. States to the east of Colorado also rely on water from all rivers flowing towards the Mississippi. Let’s not forget the groundwater systems relied upon by midwestern agriculture are recharged by seepage and flow from rivers originating in Colorado, too.
Colorado has a responsibility to the rest of our country to be good environmental stewards as water pollution, consumption and usage affect the entire country. The way we chose to treat the environment as it relates to water flowing from Colorado impacts the nations food supply, fuel production, and human health.

What happens when there just isn’t enough to go around? I was born and raised in Colorado, you better believe we were taught from the outset not to waste. Every year around this time, the snowpack reports begin to create anxiousness and nervousness for Colorado residents, which is a growing population. What are going to be the drought restrictions this year? Will my grass die ( even though we probably shouldn’t have grass but it is a free country)? etc. It seems as though every year is a drought, should we begin worrying about the apocolypse?

One thing to think about is just how wasteful is wasting water? For example, if you leave the faucet on while you brush your teeth (big no-no), does the water just disappear down the drain? No. It doesn’t just disappear. It goes back to the same source it originated from, the water treatment plant (WTP). They got it from your local source (we should all know the source of our local water supply but most don’t), and the water is treated again because it is effluent- dirty. It will end back up in the water system as it is discharged from the plant. Every drop either evaporates or makes its happy little way downstream, eventually recharging water supplies, and used again by someone else for something else. So this makes me wonder, is it really wasted? Not in the sense that the water is gone. But it is wasteful in the sense that the WTP must consume energy to filter and clean the water coming through your drains.

Which brings up another topic. The most wasteful user of natural resources is “industry”. Highest energy consumers, water demanders, and produce the most pollution. We will shelve this one for another article, or 5.

Ask yourself this- Would it be wasting water if we polluted a LOT of it with a LOT of very harmful chemicals, and then dug deep holes in the ground, and then buried storage tanks with this polluted water? And they say natural gas is the answer, drill baby drill.

Back to what we can do for ourselves… are there ways for households to use their water wisely? Absolutely. Vegetable gardening is a great way to use your water supply to reduce the nations food supply burden, and recharge those groundwater systems the local agriculture economy is relying on. There is of course, no reason to over use this precious resource, but if we use it wisely we won’t need as much. I mean, after all, the fountains in Las Vegas wouldn’t be so pretty if all grew our own vegetables… Which reminds me, it’s time to start seeds!

What are you going to do this year to relieve the nation’s drought burden?