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It has been a gardening extravaganza weekend! Bookman and I are so sore and tired that we have gone beyond the pain to become single-minded garden sharks that must keep moving or it is all over. Stopping for longer than 15-20 minutes means slipping back into the pain zone and then stiffness and aches settle in and moving becomes very difficult.

Before I tell you about our three-day gardening weekend I must fill you in on events earlier in the week. You may recall last Sunday we planted corn and peas and a few other seeds that don’t mind cool weather. Monday morning as I walked though the backyard on my way to catch the bus for work I saw little holes exactly where we had planted corn and peas. &*%$#@? squirrels! At work I turned on my librarian skills, searching for something I could do to keep the squirrels from digging up my seeds. The internet in this case was absolutely not useful. Everything I found said build little wire cages/barriers over your garden. Some advocated shooting the beasts, and though tempting, was not an option. Lots of people said cayenne pepper works but not to use it because it gets on a squirrel’s face and sticks and burns and they can’t clean it off. I admit, part of me wanted to see a squirrel writhing in pain from a pepper burn, but that’s just too cruel.

Then I remembered many years ago when Bookman and I planted daffodils that the squirrels dug up and ate. We found out from someone then that if you dip the bulbs in a solution of water and alum, the squirrels will leave them alone. Alum tastes nasty and smells bad too. I made Bookman stop at Target on his way home from work and get some alum. Monday night we swished new corn and pea seeds in an alum solution and replanted. I think it mostly worked. There were holes dug in the corn bed but we couldn’t tell whether they were left over from the first digging or were fresh. We don’t have any corn sprouts yet but I noticed yesterday the peas are starting to sprout. I’m not sure how many since our second planting was quick and random unlike the orderly first round. If it didn’t work for the corn, we will have to pre-sprout them next year. What a pain.

wristband line

wristband line

Fast forward to Friday. Friends School Plant Sale! I had my plant list printed and ready to go. We were up at 6 am, showered and waiting in line at 6:50. The line was not to get in to the sale but to get a wristband to get in to the sale later when the doors opened at 9. In order to save everyone from having to stand in line for hours, they started giving out wristbands several years ago. Wristbands indicate what group you are in. There are about 75, maybe 100, people in each group. The line was already quite long when we arrived and we ended up being in group three. That meant we’d get in about 9:15 or 9:20.

Wristbands collected, we left to go have some breakfast. We have done the sale every year since 2001 and have it down to a

planning

planning

science. We do not browse or allow for distractions. We know what we want, we know where it is, we plan the most efficient route through, and once we were in the door it took us about forty-five minutes to get what we wanted, pay and load it into the car.

There was frost predicted for Saturday night so we didn’t want to plant anything that couldn’t handle the cold, which was most everything but the blueberries and the huckleberry. But that’s fine, we had plenty to do.

Boo the blueberry

Boo the blueberry

Friday we built the raised beds for the blueberries and started working on building the herb spiral. The berry shrubs aren’t trees but they all still had to get names. The black huckleberry, variety Wisconsin, is named Finn. The blueberry, variety Friendship, is named Chandler. The blueberry, variety Northland, is Boo. Here’s how we came up with Boo:

Saturday we were up bright and early. After breakfast we replaced some old rotted siding on the garden-side of our garage.

spiral beginnings

spiral beginnings

Then it was time for a break before heading over to Home Depot where we loaded the car up with dirt and compost for the herb spiral. We spent most of the afternoon building the bed. The rocks are actually old pieces of concrete from a big slab that was at the back of the yard when we moved in. I always told Bookman these would work great for stuff in the garden and he finally had to admit I was right.

This has ended up being so long that I have decided to spilt it in two. Part two will be Monday. You’ll get to see what the completed herb spiral looks like. Then I promise Tuesday will be about a book: How Literature Saved My Life.

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