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Garden Planting: It Ain't Over Till the Fat Guy Tills

A photo of Drew OdomAfter a long week at work I was ready to get out and join Pan Saturday morning for some garden work. The weather looked to be promising and we had days ago decided to give up on the old adage about waiting till after Good Friday to plant or whatever that colloquialism is.

We started out with a trip to the Plant Emporium in Griffin, Georgia. Not too much there as they haven't fully recovered from the winter and prepared for the spring. Further down the road though we fell into the arms of our bittersweet lover, Lowe's. While we aren't a huge fan of box stores or giving our money to large, corporate entities who hire folks poorly versed in horticulture and gardening, we were growing desperate watching the sun beat down on our Buggy Town.

A little over $100 later we emerged with seed packets galore (based on our garden plot, of course) including crookneck squash, butter beans, pole beans, lettuce, beets, and onions, 8 tomato sprouts, 6 different herbs as well as herb seeds (for a nice, thick, rotating harvest), some organic plant food, a little topsoil for the herb garden and an odd or end or two.

After arriving home we realized it was almost 12pm and we hadn't done much of anything. Pan quickly made a plan of attack and we headed for the herb boxes. Now, I am a huge fan of Black Kow so we emptied our two bags of the soil into the newest bed and arranged our newly purchased herbs into what we knew would become a staple of our dinner planning routine.

Black Kow and gloves

Pan laid out the thyme, greek oregano, parsley, lavender, basil and other assorted tinctures. We dug our holes, put them in, salted them down with plant food, and stood back for a second to admire the box.

We then moved on to our raised beds where we took stock of the onions that were already growing rapidly. At almost 4 inches tall each they had certainly become a reminder of what we enjoyed so much last year and were anticipating this year.

Onions growing about 4 inches tall

I had bought a few annuals earlier in the morning as well so I could build a sort of "garden gate" for any deer or dogs that may want to take a turn at our onions and peppers. After I fished them each out of their little square packaging and laid them in I have to admit they looked rather pitiful, and I began to doubt they would do little more than blossom and die. I guess I now kind of view them as the meteors of our garden – pretty to see but quick to burn out. Oh well. At 94 cents for a 6-pack I hadn't lost much on my $4 investment.

By 3 pm the temp had risen to a warm 71 degrees and we weren’t even half done. We had 10 empty 5-gallon buckets and as many tomato plants staring at us from across the yard. Although we are cultivating some tomato seeds we did decided to get 3 plants each of varying stages (and an odd one) so we would have a better rotating harvest. We'll see how that works out

One thing I am a stickler of is our reuse of materials. I hate buying things when we have objects around the house/yard that can be used. For a few weeks now we have been scavenging and cleaning/sanitizing 5-gallon buckets for use as planters. I knew I wanted to try planting all the tomatoes in planters this year rather than a bed. To achieve our desired effect we filled the bucket with our sifted soil and drilled four drainage holes in the 'four corners' of each bucket about two inches from the bottom. No sense in rotting the roots of perfectly good plants. We then dug our holes, plugged them with beautiful tomato trunks and strengthened them with stakes made from bamboo harvested off the side of Highway 36. (It's our tax dollars, right?) They came out quite nice.

Tomatoes in recycled containers

It was at this point that I asked Pan if we could take a break. We had already missed lunch, and with my neck turning even more red than it was naturally (by heritage, of course) I had to enjoy a cool one. Afterall, it was Saturday!

(…stay tuned for our 3rd part to this seemingly endless Saturday. We still have the main garden to go!)