Garden update 1: the system works

Spring has finally arrived, so it’s the time of year when I stop reading so much and I start obsessing about my garden.

Last year was the first year I’ve ever planted a garden, and I didn’t clean it up at the end of the season. The dried dead stalks of various prairie plants have been sticking up through the snow all winter looking like a metaphor for desolation. They looked completely dead, but when I cleared away all the brown crap I found new green shoots at the bottom of every plant. I know that this is how perennials are supposed to work, but it was still really cool to see the monarda and rudbeckia that I put in my yard doing their thing without any help from me. I totally grew plants.

I also checked my compost heap. Again, I understand the principle of composting, but it was really cool to see that what was a big pile of grass clippings and kitchen waste last summer has turned into a big pile of rich dirt full of worms. It’s like magic – where did all the garbage go? I dug out the compost and put it on the perennial bed, which is old roadbed and has crappy soil. The veggie garden is the original prairie topsoil, crazy good soil, and doesn’t need as much help.

So, yay garden! First year successfully completed. My big plan for this year is to pimp out the rain barrel I got for $10 off craigslist. My goal is to use only collected rainwater on the garden all summer. Since I plant mainly drought-tolerant native flowers, I should only need enough water for the veggies and tomatoes. We’ll see how it goes.

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