Earthworms and chicken wire.

There are still 28 little veggies and herbs living in my bathtub.

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To be honest, they seem pretty content in their temporary home. The two big windows allow plenty of bright sunlight in, and I can easily give them sips of water in there- it goes right down the drain. If John’s planter box structures don’t work out in some way, I might be able to use the tub for a sweet indoor garden. But I have faith in his hard work- and it’s almost time to plant!

Last weekend was full of power saws, measuring tape, and a LOT of lumber. John and our friend, Chris, built two long planter boxes, but the key ingredient to our garden success will be the roof-like structures that go over them. We need screens to let in fresh air and sunshine but keep out wildlife. With the possible exception of the squirrel that tortures Cholula daily, I’m confident we have a deer-elk-porcupine-fox-proof plan.

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This past weekend, the boys were back at it. First, John prepped the dirt patch in the corner of our property with a spiky hoe. Squirming earthworms confirmed that the soil up there is already pretty healthy- a good omen for yummy veggies!

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The first challenge of the weekend was getting the long planter boxes from our garage up to the garden plot. Front-to-backyard access at our house is pretty limited, so we borrowed our neighbor’s driveway- and the boys still had to hike up a hill with the boxes.

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That wasn’t the end of the grunt work. John and I made a trip to the local nursery to pick up organic compost and soil- 46 cubic feet of it. John got an unexpected workout that afternoon, making 23 trips up the hill with heavy bags of soil on his shoulders. Before the end of Saturday, he’d mixed the soil and compost into the two boxes. If it wasn’t for the pesky critters seeking a free salad bar, I could have started planting!

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With the boxes in place, filled with dark, healthy soil, it was easy to envision the future garden. I imagined myself singing quietly under my breath, a basket full of food on the ground next to me, happily harvesting cucumber and tomatoes and herbs in the morning sun. We grilled tasty salmon skewers that night, and I tried not to complain when John turned on hocky play-offs. He’d worked HARD.

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In the morning, the boys toted 6 pieces of the roof structures up the hill and secured them into place. All that was left were the window screens, which would be hinged from the top. The boys were cursing the sharp, unruly chicken wire by the time they’d finished making the twelve screens- but it was quittin’ time. Chris went home to his family, and John and I sipped on tasty summer cocktails.

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Sometime this week, John will hook up the soaker hose for irrigation. He’ll attach the screens with hinges and staple permanent chicken wire to the ends of each box. Later, after the wood has cured a bit, he’ll stain our little garden houses a dark shade, like our house.

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And finally, it will be MY turn– to get dirt under my fingernails and empty out the bathtub, transferring our little plant babies to their happy new home.

Stay tuned!

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