Tag Archive - gardening

Composting 101

In an effort to trash waste, I decided to take all produce extras, and dump them in one of my raised garden beds to percolate over the long Winter.

I read Steve Solomon’s book Vegetable Gardening West of the Cascades, but the process about making sure to add all of the necessary components made my head spin. I decided to try and do it my way (read, just dump it, cover it with dirt & leave it).

Well, just last weekend, on a surprisingly nice day I went out to take a look. My daughter, who has been on this adventure with me, squealed in delight as we saw Earth Worms scooting around. We remembered from the book that this was a great sign, and we did a pretty good job.

Now, I don’t know how the flowers and vegetables will like our variety of compost, but we made it together, recycled produce, and had fun trying something new.

The Lazy Gardener?

I just read an article on the Huffington Post website about gardening in raised beds. The article eluded to the fact that perhaps people who garden this way are, well, lazy.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a lazy clothes manager (meaning I do not iron, and throw worn clothes on the floor). I’m also a lazy Saturday morning chef (lower-case ‘c’) – I like to have my required two cups of coffee before I belly up to the range. But gardening, whether in-ground or in raised beds, is not for the lazy.

Building the raised beds, or putting them together if you’re buying a kit, is a lot of work. Watching my husband carve out a level trench and then pound in the wood, was kinda painful. I was so thankful that he didn’t mind doing it for me. Now that we’ve moved, he’s vowing to do it again. Watching sweat drip from somebody’s forehead is never a lazy scene.

Making your selections takes a lot of planning too. What zone are you in? To fertilize or not? What to grow? How much time do you have? What type of seeds to buy? All of these questions need to be answered and it is no small task to answer them…not lazy.

The prospect of gardening is challenging and not for the timid. You have to be ready for setbacks: dying plants, withering flowers, wrong measurements, soil conflicts and general unimpressiveness. None of this sounds lazy to me, and I look forward to working hard this season.

What about you? How does your garden grow?

Crossfit and Gardening

Just the other day I spied a large, dead and unattractive shrub growing on the side of my house. I’d actually been noticing it for some weeks now, but I don’t garden unless it’s at least sixty degrees outside, so there it stood to the wince of my neighbors, I’m sure. So with sun out and warm temperatures, I approached the sorry shrub with shovel in hand. Little did I know my Crossfit training would come in handy for such a time as this.

As it turns out, the shrub in question was a Mock-orange with an intense citrus scent, which now sprawled out in a gnarly heap with a scent the antithesis of sweet. I wasn’t sure how to approach it, since it was my height and right next to the house. I couldn’t get enough leverage with the shovel, so I made a few demarcations at the base and stood back to evaluate.

I re-approached, and this time used Crossfit to handle the situation. Crossfit is a series of exercises that combine, “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement,” according to www.crossfit.com. I’ve been trained for three short months and now found myself applying it to this odd situation. So there I was assuming the “dead-lift” position, and grabbing the weak stems, I yanked that Mock-orange out of the ground and hauled it to the compost pile.

In previous gardening seasons, I would’ve spent a fair amount of time hacking my way at the base, and eventually getting my very capable husband to finish the job. Unfortunately, he actually saw me hauling the large encumbrance to the designated compost area. After he said, “Good job,” I knew I would be left to my own strength for all future gardening situations.

Next, I was off to a certain part of the garden that needs to be re-edged every year. I’ve dreaded this task in the past because I had no leg strength to speak of. After my Mock-orange success, I tried my hand at edging the grass with a pointed shovel. It proved to be a surprisingly easy task, and I now know for certain that all the dead-lifts, pull-ups and squats have increased my strength and ability.

Many of the Crossfit heavyweights may laugh at this simple Crossfit mom’s outlook, but it really is working for me and the lifestyle I lead. I’m no longer intimidated by the linebackers, firefighters, law enforcement officers or models who do Crossfit, it has wide ranging appeal for all fitness levels, even mine.

If you’re up for a change from the stair stepper or elliptical machines, and if you want to see muscles consistently percolate to the top, seek out a Crossfit facility. You may find yourself easily wrestling with heavy equipment or carrying a child up the hiking trail. As for me, I’m looking forward to my next gardening task and leaving most of the tools behind.

If you are already into Crossfit, let me know. If not and you have questions, send me a comment!

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