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Yes, I have Bipolar II, and it is (mostly) well controlled. And anxiety, which is sometimes controlled. This blog is to document my successes and failures as I attempt to maintain a garden despite the above. Here's the pattern:

Spring: "Yea! I planted lots of vegetables that will grow big and yummy! I'm weeding! I'm watering!

Midsummer: I should weed. I should water. I should pick those before they're too big. (Insert anxiety here.)

Late summer: Weeds have eaten my garden, everything is overripe, and I let the stuff rot before I cooked/canned/froze it. I'm a terrible gardener. :( (Insert depression here.)

Despite my challenges, I manage to get a few good tomatoes, zucchini, and yes, pumpkins every year. Why do I torture myself like this? Because for me, this is profound therapy. Feeling earth in my hands, watching things sprout, digging, moving rock, and bathing in the early-morning sun nourish me. Nothing tastes better than a tomato, zucchini, or strawberry that grew despite all my bumbling attempts to kill it. If I can laugh through it, make others laugh, and inspire others, healthy or otherwise, to get out there and grow, then all the better.

Helpful: encouragement, support, shared stories of success or failure, and any and all gardening advice.

Not helpful: medication advice (I have great medical support); "try this great herbal stuff!" (I have a wonderful naturopathic doctor); or "quit complaining and just get over it!" (Believe me, I would if I could.)

Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Muscles are Bad at Math

I spent four hours today digging up the clay and adding compost to the bed so I can plant what I bought yesterday. The garden now looks very plantable. There's nothing like hearing every muscle in your body scream in agony to help you Feel the Therapy. Here's how it went:

After I dropped the kidlets off at school, I came home to a beautiful morning, a large desert, er, garden bed, a pitchfork, and a truckload of compost (still in the truck.) It rained last night, so the bed was pretty easy to turn up. This year looks much better than last; instead of solid, wet clay, I have solid, wet clay full of worms. Worms are a good sign! After I turned up the first two rows, Hubby came along happily and dumped on and raked in three inches of compost. A word about Hubby: he claims to hate gardening, except when I am either: a) doing most of the work; or b) doing it horribly wrong; then he will gladly step in and help. In this case the answer was a) I was doing most of the work, so he didn't feel put out by helping. So, as he raked compost into Section I, I turned over Section II. Which, by "turning over", I mean Digging Up Bindweed for two hours.

Bindweed is the Chuck Norris of weeds--you don't pull it; it pulls you. Along with a root, it has "Rhizomes", which is a fancy science word for "roots that grow sideways." I think mine has rhizomes that reach to Alaska, and create a network rivalled by The Matrix. On top of that, the roots go down Very Far. I tried to dig down to the beginning of one root, out of curiosity, so I dug, and dug, and about the time I heard somebody call out that dinner was on the barbie, I got impatient and snapped it. I picture it coming out the other side of the planet somewhere, like an alien tentacle waving through the ozone.

So I turned a pitchforkful of dirt, bent down, sifted out the bindweed roots and rhizomes, and repeated about 500 times until I was satisfied I had completely pulled up all of them, or the 10 % that I could see, anyway. You never really get rid of bindweed; it's like that one high school boyfriend that never goes away and keeps popping up at inappropriate times. Last year I put everything in the compost, because "if it gets hot enough, the compost will burn up all the roots and seeds and make beautiful plant food." Right. The weeds thought of my compost as a Spa Getaway. Since my compost gets about as hot as an old lady in March, this year all the weeds went in the trash can.

After digging for two hours, I ate lunch, napped (I'm a big proponent of napping), and Hauled Compost (the kind you buy) for another hour. We have a wheelbarrow, but since our garden has a little fence (that you have to step over) with no gate, the wheelbarrow was useless. (Some day I will have a Pretty Fence with a Gate, but right now I have a Fence that Keeps the Dog Out.) Instead, we filled five-gallon buckets with compost and hauled them two at a time from the front yard to the back, climbed over Dog Fence With No Gate, and dumped them on top of the wormy-clay-with-no-visible-bindweed. Think the veggies will like it?

Hubby planted the tomatoes for me since they are his favorite, and then it rained. Tomorrow I will plant: red pepper, little pumpkin (for soup and pies), big pumpkin (for carving), delicata squash, zucchini, watermelon (Daughter's pick) and green beans, beets, and carrots. In pots I will plant cilantro and basil. The herb garden will enjoy the addition of chamomile, thyme, lemon balm, and lavender. (It better enjoy them; they're perennials, and so are buying space, not renting.)

After Digging for ten hours and Hauling 80-lb buckets of compost (shhh....my muscles aren't good at math), I'm probably couch-bound tomorrow. I may have to plant remotely. Son has some great robots--I wonder...? Anyway--look for photos, but not too soon.

1 comment:

  1. I would love a picture of these plants that have roots to alaska! I wonder if I have the same ones!

    You are so good in the garden!