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This Woman’s Sweat

August 26, 2011

I did it, and it only took a week, a gallon of sweat, 2 very dirty pairs of jeans that I would hang by the door for the next day and 4 hundred glasses of water.  I built a giant garden all by myself and the only thing I purchased was the chicken wire and some bags of soil conditioner.  I got the inspiration after reading an article by Amy Grisak about northern gardening at higher elevations, and despite the fact that my place is 1000 feet higher than hers, I decided to go for it. It had to be fast, it had to be cheap (our garden budget for 2011 has been spent a couple of times already).  My planting date of August 15th was in a mere 6 days.

As I worked, the project began to take shape.  I scoured our old cottonwood trees for just the right fallen branches to make my fence supports.  I decided to dig them in and surround them with my rock barrier.  After at least 25 wheelbarrows of rock, 20 wheelbarrows of horse manure, 20 more wheelbarrows of native soil and generous scoops of my food scrap compost, I was ready to find some seeds.  I made my next errand day into Challis, only to learn that all the seeds had been recalled.  I was directed to an independent fellow who lives in a trailer next to his enormous greenhouse.  I drove down to his place and called out a hello.  He didn’t seem thrilled to hear my story, but took me down into his root cellar anyway, saying that he would be willing to split the remaining seeds he had for the year.  “This might grow,” was a sentence he uttered frequently.  We had a great conversation and I felt heartened to continue with my plan.

I had another avenue of seed procurment.  I have connections in California, where the seeds are probably never recalled.  My daughter Genavieve sent me some pronto.  They arrived on the 15th and were in the ground the same day.  My masterpiece needed an attractive entrance, so I went to work on the piece of ground at its doorstep.  I weeded, de-rocked and raked a thick layer of my special soil and spread grass seeds.  I covered it with an old bedsheet at night to keep the seeds from dissapearing.  My hound dog thought it meant that she had a new bed.  She has a habit of taking naps in the middle of my projects.

It has been just over a week and every single one of my rows are hatching.  I have seedlings of kale, chard, collard greens, beets, lettuce, onions, …. If it works, I am going to be so stoked.  If it doesn’t I will be so stoked that my springtime garden is already built.  Rome might not have been built in a day, but it was built and so is my garden.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Hollinshead permalink
    August 26, 2011 6:02 pm

    That is so cool, Julie. You are amazing!

  2. Gena permalink
    August 26, 2011 6:34 pm

    Wow Mom this looks great! I can’t wait to see the little seedlings progress when I come out!

  3. Laura permalink
    September 1, 2011 3:00 am

    Oh My Gosh, what a lovely story, and the photos are beautiful — what an inspiring space and garden you’ve created! The rock borders and overall design are beautiful!

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