Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Still Hoeing

It’s October, and I’m still wielding the hoe. I’m planting at a frenzied pace only comparable to last spring. The plants and bulbs I ordered during the summer months began arriving in mid-September and the last package (fragrant lilies!) showed up on Saturday. I was also seduced by a few late season sales at the local nurseries. Finally, two of my coworkers have delighted me with sacks full of plants from their gardens. I am digging almost every day.

Planting takes me a very long time because I am still developing my beds from cheesy clay to friable, compost-rich soil. Nearly every week, I go to buy more “bags of poop” (i.e. composted manure). Mike finds it absolutely hilarious that my Subaru is perpetually filled with sacks of shit. I go through my supply quickly because every hole I dig requires that I chop up the clay with a hoe and work in humus, manure, and/or peat moss. This constant soil working keeps my planting rate at about 20 minutes per plant. After arriving home from work, I can only get about 5 plants in the ground before it is simply too dark to see.

I’ll admit it; I’m exhausted! Our weather is staying unseasonably mild, so the planting season has been extended. I’m almost praying for a frost to end things. Just when I think I have nothing but a few bulbs left, Margie brings me a bounty of green growing things (including my first peony!) and I’m out digging again.


Blogger Jenn said...

Boy, you must be in great shape!
All that work!

I love peonies.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Oh, and I love the angle of the first photo. Very dramatic!

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

In that first picture, you look like you can take on the world!

We have areas of clay soil here too and it took some time to get it turned around, but now the garden areas are fantastic. My mom used to fill the wagon with boxes of chicken manure. That stuff is pretty ripe and the car would stink for two weeks.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I love gardening, especially flower gardening. I have a box of bulbs that I ordered just waiting for me to put them in the ground. I was holding off until it got a bit cooler though.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

Kudos for doing the HARD work of improving your soil. Sometimes I enjoy rich people who can pay to have it done for them, and sometimes not. Susan

3:28 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Those are great pictures. Peony take so long to establish, but it looks like you got a nice mature clump!

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho Ho HO. Merry planting.

12:23 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

I don't know if it's good news or bad news, but you can continue to plant bulbs right up until the ground freezes. I've even heard of people who didn't get their bulbs in on time and went out during the January thaw, planted them and they came up fine in the spring! Happy planting! You'll be so glad you did when everything is blooming next year.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Scott in Washington said...

You should come stay with us for a few weeks. We have plenty of clay and mounds and mounds of poop. I'll buy th e bulbs.

7:29 PM  

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