Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cancer Survivor’s Garden – Adaptations

            My flower farm means a great deal to me because I love fresh flowers in the house.  In addition to flowers for myself, I want to share the joy and spirituality of a bouquet of fresh flowers on the dining room table.  However, I am concerned about what is on those fresh flowers.  The little white spiders and occasional baby slug don’t bother me much.  On the other hand, have those flowers been sprayed with a fungicide that is likely to rub off on your hands or simply evaporate into the air you breathe?  Mine haven’t.  It is important to me that my customers be able to purchase a healthy, locally grown product.

            For three years, I was unable to do much gardening, but I still wanted my flowers.  How could I manage?  Thank heavens for containers!  I bought some large, cheap, plastic storage tubs at the hardware and asked my hubby to drill holes in the bottom.  I planted hundreds of bulbs in my tubs.  I intended to empty the tubs into the gardens after the first season so the bulbs could naturalize.  They are still in the tubs.  The daffodils are coming up thick and the anemones are showing signs of being ready to bloom.

            When the plastic swimming pool we used for the ducks got a crack in the bottom, I pulled it into a sunny spot in the yard, filled it with dirt and planted it to annuals.  It is now the home of my Rudbeckia Prairie Sun. 

            Any large pot I could find became home to flowers for cutting.  Large pots seem to be a fad lately.  I’ve found many lovely pots for a very reasonable price.  I usually plant bulbs in them.  They put on a long season show of daffodils to lilies.  I might tuck a Canna in each pot this year.

            In addition to my found objects for planting beds, I managed to hire workers from our local garden store to build a deep, raised, brick bed for me.  It is amazing how much I can grow in a ten by four foot bed when it is raised up with two feet of good soil inside. 

            I discovered that crab grass and dandelions easily took over my eight-inch high raised beds in the garden.  The deeper twenty-four to thirty inch beds are easier to keep weeded.  They have not been attacked by the crab grass.  It is easy to get all of the dandelion root out of the light soil in the deeper bed. 

            We have another container bed of sorts.  I planted a large garden in the middle of our cul-de-sac.  It is surrounded by driveway.  Nothing creeps in from the outside because the outside is compacted gravel.  The native soil in that spot was decent.  I build it up with layers of straw and imported soil.  This bed holds water well.  I’ve planted the bed with bulbs and tall grasses.  It has year-round interest and produces another thousand or so daffodils in the spring.

            My plan for the future is to build more deep raised beds.  I may even abandon some of the eight-inch tall raised beds.  The taller beds are easier on my back for weeding.  They grow healthy plants because the things I want to grow are not competing for root room with invaders from outside.  I will continue to use containers.  I need to devise some method of trimming the grass around my raised beds.  Perhaps I should get a sheep.




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