that one time when we planted a garden

this sign talks about possible future watermelons
(see plant in cage). also featuring grapes (left) and
raspberries (center).
i had a wild idea. i approached the friends and family members with a proposition: what if we planted our very own garden? it would be great, they said. here's how it went down:

in december we selected the plot  - a rectangular section of my parents' backyard in tangent, oregon. this area had been used for gardening before, but was currently growing an enormous crop of weeds.

our task for january was to fill up the garden plot with a thick layer of leaves. luckily, my parents' yard has about a dozen deciduous trees in it. this task had already been done (to some extent) for several previous years. this year, i jumped in and got some of my siblings to help out.

i set up a compost bucket right outside the kitchen window of my parents' house. we were going to need a lot of compost, so we started early. we tried to compost grass clippings and table scraps, but no meat.

we started tilling up the ground in late march. this proved to be a difficult task, as the ground was still significantly mucky. it was also difficult when the gas tiller we were using lit itself on fire. from then on we had the pleasure of tilling using a hoe. it was a great workout.

we started planting in march, but most of the seeds and sprouts that we put in the ground failed to survive the frosts. through this we learned to get specific advice from experienced folks about what to plant when, and not to just trust the vague color-coded maps on the back of the seed packets.

we also got chickens. aren't they cute?
my parents asked us to take them back.

we really got to planting in april. new plants replaced their old, frost-killed comrades. we planted six rows of corn and several cucumbers (spoilers: the cukes didn't make it). the compost pile, newly developed and labelled 'compost, yo', had started to toast its bad self. it smelled gross.

we set down black plastic cover a big area of the yard to create an annex garden, hoping to kill the grass and simultaneously prevent the weeds from spreading their seeds over this area. the idea didn't fully work, but we planted watermelons there anyway. we dug out the ground in the planting spots and replaced it with weed seed-free soil, placing watermelon seeds (and a few more cucumber seeds) a couple of inches deep in it and covering around the plants with our very own compost after they sprouted.

 the peas came out in june. though bunnies had been munching on the sprouts intermittently in the previous months, these deliciously sweet vegetables survived.

at this point, we were mainly focused on watering and weeding the garden. my sister rachel watered most every day. she's quite something, folks. we also started harvesting the peas. they tasted tasty.
a plant tries to grow in our very own garden.
come august, we had begun to set about the business of harvesting tomatoes, beans and basil. eating our very own vegetables gave the feeling of great accomplishment.

note: our garden is currently full of weeds. this is due to a few reasons which we have already identified. we really should have covered the ground more and spent more time weeding early on. the real success of this garden is that we have learned how to succeed more triumphantly next year.

amber weeds tomatoes in our very own garden.
vincent warren comments this week on assange, manning and the importance of the freedom of the press to democracy.

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