tomato transplants

COMPLETED GARDEN AWESOMENESS

WARNING: LENGTHY POST OF LENGTHY VICTORY

So here’s some badassery that two people with chronic illnesses managed. I’m so proud of us. We just did what we could do, step by step, and now we have a lot of amazingness.

And you get a long post about it.

First Gabe found a book called Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, which makes incremental gardening really accessible. We’ve wanted to have a vegetable garden for ages and have only had a little experience with them. So it was kind of intimidating to approach. This book sort of cracked the code for us.

Then, Gabe made one raised bed box.

Then honestly we got tired and busy for like… a year. But hey, one step done and waiting for us when we were ready. And all that time spent thinking just sorta composted and fed the next steps.

Eventually we got momentum again and Gabe made another raised bed box. We picked where to place the boxes in the yard. We bought some good stuff to mix into dirt. Eventually we made that good mix of dirt.  We decided we wanted some paver stones right around the boxes, so we started collecting small stacks of those whenever we were up for a Lowe’s run. 

This was… February this year?

We filled the boxes and started planning veggies. We also started a small garden on the kitchen bar with a cheap grow light (one cool white bulb, one warm white bulb).

Step by step. Whenever we had energy we did whatever was next best we could. And kept going.

We portioned out the boxes like so, like it says to do with the Square Foot method.

Then, when we were up for it, we started planting! Green leafies and carrots from seeds, tomatoes and cukes from transplants from the inside garden. Taters in tater bins. We’re just dealing with pests as they arise.

Then Gabe started planning the fence we’d eventually need when some very enthusiastic family dogs come home from being long distance. We lucked out and a family member had a bunch of chain link fencing we could use. We bought the lumber we needed for the frame.

Now here’s where life gave us a little deadline, because said enthusiastic dogs are coming home Wednesday. So we had to bust our sick butts a little this month to make all this happen. We were lucky and had spoons to spare or to borrow.

First the frame, then the fencing, across three weekends.

Finally, today we hung the gate and added some finishing touches with bits and bobs we’ve collected… and that we bought with a victory trip to Big Lots this weekend.

And here’s where I’m spamming your feed with ALL THE PICTURES. Because AWESOME.

Currently Cap greets you when you come in. He may look tiny, but he’s fierce.

To the left… stand with our hardier herbs and some aloe. Carrots, lettuce, chard, squash, bell peppers and First Avenger in the box. Blue potatoes in the tater bin.

The tallest are happy new transplants from the store. The farthest right square has lettuce coming up from seed! The square at the bottom has feathery carrot tops! Look!

And our mostly herb stand we love - mint and aloe that’s already endured trouble with us, and new lavender and cilantro.

On the other side, to the right then: red taters, tomatoes and cucumbers. Plus ancient bag with hand-painted dragon for hand gardening tools.

And we have attracted very rare grass dolphins!

The tomatoes and cukes are being read to so they will grow up big and strong.

Other finishing touches – we found the perfect windchime.

And solar powered fairy lights!!!

Yeah, we did it. Here’s the thing… the blackberry vines went in way late. But they’re in. The cukes were late but they’re in. The rainwater barrel is set up but we don’t know how to use it yet. Ants took some lettuce and one part of a box but we shook them and started again. Several herbs didn’t make it. We do what we can do when we can do it. And eventually we’ve got this foundation we can build on, and if something doesn’t grow, we pull it up and try something else. We learn and grow at every step.

Maybe gardens aren’t your thing, but please take this as a reminder of what can happen if you’re willing to risk the scariness of taking one step at a time without knowing how on earth you’ll finish.

It feels great to be out there. It feels sacred. I’ll have to be careful as it gets hotter especially. But it’s beautiful and it feeds me just by being there. Maybe we’ll even grow something to eat.

TAAA DAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!

We rule.

jaytodd1129  asked:

imagine steve picking up gardening to cope with trauma/stress. imagine he grows his own garden and it's common to find him in it planting bee-friendly flowers or trimming his shrubs etc

     After his pies at the Avengers’ potluck Thanksgiving had gone over so well, Steve had been getting into the kitchen more and more.  He’d always been a terrible cook back in the day.  His Ma and Bucky were always much better at pulling together a good stew from their cabinets’ meager offerings, but it’s pretty surprising how well one can fare with a good recipe and access to quality ingredients.

     Being able to feed his friends hot, home cooked meals after their grueling missions was oddly satisfying, and with his metabolism, he had to eat so much, but in light of his new hobby, it didn’t seem as bothersome as it used to.

     It starts small - just a few tiny pots of herbs catching the sunlight on the kitchen windowsill.  Sam’s sister, master chef of the Wilson family, had insisted that fresh herbs would change his life, so he’d swung by the garden center and brought home some basil, oregano, and thyme.  The smell was refreshing, and he had to admit - his marinara sauce was pretty kickass.

     Which inspired him to put some tomato plants on his balcony.  And then, came spinach, which he quickly remembered tasted awful.  He really hadn’t been kidding about boiling everything.  Although, in a salad, it was pretty good, so he planted cucumbers, and by the time he started pondering lettuce, there was no room left outside.

     Not to be deterred, Steve stormed the roof of Avengers tower armed with all the lumber and potting soil a super soldier can carry and set to work.  For a city kid, he actually knew a thing or two about gardening.  The mothers in his old apartment building had a similar set up during the war, and if he really thought back, he could recall about how deep the soil had to be and how far apart to space the plants.  He was just watering the last transplanted tomato vines when he heard the door to the rooftop slide shut.

     “What have you been doing up here all day?” Stark asked.

     “I haven’t been -”

     “Jarvis says you’ve been puttering around on the roof since ten.  What gives?  What’s with the plants?  Is this your retirement hobby?  Because that’d be nice.  Pepper’s granddad used to make some lovely birdhouses.”

     “I’m making planters, not birdhouses.  And these are vegetables.  You may not recognize them because they’ve yet to be liquified, but rest assured, this is what you’re drinking.”

     “Well, duh.”  Tony rolled his eyes.  “But that still leaves the question of why they’re here.  I know vintage is in, but victory gardens aren’t really a thing anymore.”

     “It’s not a victory garden, it’s just a regular garden, and your spaghetti nights reap the benefits of this, so leave it alone.”

     “All I’m saying is that with you and Barton together, this is starting to feel more like 4H than the Avengers.”

     “It’s not like I brought a cow up here or anything.”

     “Well, good, ‘cause we’d have a hell of a time getting it down.”

     “Huh?”  Steve raised an eyebrow, but Tony just waved the statement away like he was clearing one of his holograms.

     “Nevermind.  Just…seriously, what’re you doing?”

     “I like cooking.  Fresh produce tastes better.”

     “But-”  Tony took a breath and averted his eyes up to the sky briefly, before exhaling and getting to the point.  “Why do you have time for this?  Shouldn’t you be out hunting for Red October?”  Steve’s face shuttered, amused irritation fading into his stony Captain America persona.

     “The trail’s gone cold.  We’re waiting for new leads.”

     “Right…Well, good luck with that.”  Steve’s expression remained inscrutable, but he nodded and said,

     “Thanks.”  Tony shifted uncomfortably for another moment before turning around to leave.  As he was closing the door, he turned back to Steve and said,

     “You know, JARVIS gets bored sometimes, when there’s nobody, ya’ know, trying to kill me, and so sometimes he likes a little pet project to occupy himself, and…uh…if he stumbles on anything, I’ll let you know.”

Steve relaxed, looking grateful, but more exhausted than Tony thinks he’d ever seen the guy, and that includes when he nearly passed out on a table full of Shawarma.

     “Thank you, Tony.”

     The next morning, Steve went upstairs to water the garden, only to find a new stake driven into the dirt, bearing a sign that read: GRANDCAPPY’S VICTORY GARDEN.  Taped to the back was a thin, manila folder.

(fun fact: cows can go up stairs, but they can’t go down!  Hence, getting a cow stuck on top of Avengers tower would be a bit of an ordeal.)

8

It’s been three years of dreams deferred, as we struggled with physical and mental illness. It was so tempting to give up on the garden we hoped for one day.

But we’ve kept planning and looking for our chance… with a focus on small accomplishments and sustainable energy expenditure. And over the last two weekends, we’ve finally turned a critical corner on our vegetable and herb gardens. 

We started inside with lemon balm and peppermint plants, and seeds of tomato, cucumber, bell peppers, rosemary, cilantro, dill, and sweet basil, parsley, and oregano.

This weekend we got outdoor boxes built for a method called Square Foot Gardening (see the book of that name by Mel Bartholomew). We also set up a compost bin and rainwater barrel for the first time (both bought two years ago). We’ll slowly add paver stones and potato bins around the boxes, as we have time and money. We’ve got carrots, lettuce and chard planned for the boxes, as well as transplanted tomatoes, peppers, and cukes from inside.

We’ve also got a spot planned for blackberries, where an old makeshift shed of pallets can support the growing vines.

@malakhgabriel @clarabarkton and I are so excited to finally start this adventure!