It was Mother’s Day and I was in for a real treat. I didn’t know it when I got up. Several months ago, I’d emailed my neighbor and said I wanted to hire her to build me some more Square Foot boxes. When she got home from her extended construction job, she told me she’d do it. Over time, we talked some more and settled on materials, dimensions, etc. I knew she was super busy so I wasn’t surprised she didn’t get started right away. I was prepared to wait because I knew she’d do an excellent job. Friday before Mother’s Day, she told me she’d have her husband pick up the lumber on Sunday.
Off and on, I’d look outside and the weather cleared enough I could get out and sun awhile. Then it clouded up again and was misty. I figured that would put the boxes off for a few more days but I was wrong. Midafternoon, I peeked out the door and my, my! There was a lot of activity.
The male part of the equation was operating the saw and drill and already had a good start. His wife, the contractor, was assisting. I went out to watch. Then it hit me—I needed to document the proceedings. When I said I was going inside to get my camera, she objected saying she hadn’t gotten cleaned up from work yet. I told her it only proved she was a hardworking woman and not lazy like some people we know (i.e. me).
After I deleted enough pictures from the memory card, I went back out and there was already more progress:
The boards are beautiful. They are rough cut cedar but they feel smooth. Not sanded and finished smooth but smooth.
Neighbor lady was in the garage sorting through screws.
Then she went back out and took over some of the drilling duties. That can give you a hand cramp if you don’t watch it.
I had thought they’d just nail everything together but they were doing it right.
Then she took her turn sawing.
One box almost completed! His comment? “It’s big enough for a coffin for two people!” They had built it upside down.
Flipped over, it didn’t sit level until a trench was dug and the space on the other side filled in. The five gallon bucket beside the house was turned over so the mosquitos couldn’t reproduce.
She used the level (near the top of the picture on the ground) to make sure the bubble was centered just like it was supposed to be.
The rest of the stakes were positioned and fastened to the boards with more screws.
I quit my supervising job and went in the house to make my evening tomato/mango soup. It was a happy and successful Mother’s Day.
On my way to the car the next morning, I admired their handiwork again. They’d added the weed barrier to the box.
I had suggested they wait until another day to make the second box but I wasn’t prepared for what greeted me when I got home.
My neighbor lady had called me at work to tell me how much the mushroom dirt and vermiculite/peat moss would be and I gave her the go-ahead to get them. I had no idea they were this far along.
As soon as I could change clothes and pay my bill, I got the plants I had bought in anticipation and set them out. I took a spoon along to dig and my neighbor brought me a trowel but the mix was so loose I could use my hands.
One box wouldn’t hold all the plants even though I can plant them closer in this type of gardening. There were four pepper plants that wouldn’t fit into my one 32 sq. ft. box so they spilled over into the other one.
The tomato plant I got at The Pig was not only blooming, it had a little tomato. I know you’re supposed to pinch such things off but I didn’t have the heart.
I have three varieties of heirloom tomatoes—Marglobe, Homestead and Pink German Queen. My one hybrid is a Better Bush (the one from The Pig). It’s supposed to have a central stem that doesn’t require staking and will produce large (up to 4″ across) tomatoes with an “old-fashioned” flavor. We’ll see about that. Then I have bell peppers that will turn red when ripe. I know there are ones out there that are red to begin with but are they ripe? Anyway, my planting was completed by four sweet basil plants interspersing the toms.
This is how much space was left to fill.
I went to two different places yesterday to get watermelon and cucumber plants. I didn’t find either one the first place but I did find arugula so I got these four little ones. Plus I got some seed packets. The next place, I got Black Diamond watermelon plants. I wanted Crimson Sweet but the last plants they had were only too sad. One of the women here has been talking about how good they are but I’ll just have to imagine unless the seed I got produces.
And now, this is how it looks. All planted and ready to grow. This is the first time I’ve ever not planted watermelon in hills. It’s supposed to rain. I’ve watered everything with rain water but it does better with a good, natural soaking.
It was so dark before 6:30 that the flash was triggered. It makes the mix look very light, which it isn’t, but the ones I took without the flash were blurry.
I checked on my poor little munched down romaine and it’s coming back! Yea!!
Much later—it did rain. I had told my neighbor it sounded so far away I didn’t think it would get here. I left voice mail that now I know what it’s like to be wrong. This was the first good soaking the plants have gotten since I put out the first ones.
Until next time, happy gardening!