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Showing posts from April, 2010

Raised bed gardening

The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow. ~Author Unknown

Our vegetable garden is located near an old apple tree. When we first moved into the house there were two trees but the very first heavy winter storm left the weaker of the two uprooted so it was eventually taken out of the yard. Our daughter is at an age where she likes to spend time in the branches of the tree so it is not coming down anytime soon. Not to mention it is completely healthy and provides a nice bit of shade for the sand box and a lawn chair so there is really no need to do something so drastic.

I bring up the apple tree because for the past few seasons it has been robbing the outer edge of our vegetable garden of nutrients. The crops that are in that particular space have a poor yield and simply look to be in poor condition. We have tried to beef up the soil, which is really only feeding the tree, so we decided it was time to go in a new direction.

Last year towards the end of summer, maybe even in the ear…

Snakes and Toads

“Mick Jagger is about as sexy as a pissing toad.” Truman Capote

I was removing a final patch of grass and forget-me-not from the garden today when I accidently picked up a toad that had burrowed deep in the soil. I held it while the kids examined the plump amphibian. They stroked its belly and played with its webbed toes while it patiently sat in my palm. We set it free under a canopy of leaves by the garden and went back to work.

Last week we found our old friend the garter snake heading into the stone border around my wife’s herb garden. This snake has been with us for about three years now. The first year we never found anything other than an old skin suit left behind by the garter. Last year though we finally found her warming on the rocks and the cover for our oil spout, my daughter who was three years old at the time took the above photo of the snake. It is really amazing to see how much longer the snake has grown in the span of a year. Over Easter weekend I noticed a baby snake …