098 Vacation prep

098 Vacation prep

Things take more time with a splint on one hand. And with only six days until my vacation, time was short. I made the best of the last days to stay on top of weeds, free up some strawberry plants, and get the last seedlings into the ground.

Note: The video version of this post gets released on Monday, June 3.

While thinking about where to start the endless lists of tasks, I found some good news: This is not rhizomatous grass. This will not drive me nuts all summer.

Full of motivation, I went to work.

I knew I would have to leave a few things undone until after my return–and my hand’s recovery. But often, while doing jobs I thought I could do, I had to stop and ask for help or accept a delay. This bushel of grass would have to wait.

I pulled the grass and weeds around the strawberries I’d found in the bed. I assume the previous owner grew strawberries in this bed. Of course, they’ll get to stay.

The balcony planters (another pass-me-down from the previous owner) will need holes before they can serve as bed liners.

I am sure there are faster ways to a strawberry bed. Luckily, I don’t care if things are fast. I care much more about enjoying the work and disrupting nature as little as possible.

But what I care about most is learning and understanding. I want to know what things feel like, what they smell like, learn if the strawberries are happier surrounded by grass and weeds or with some mulch.

I am okay with a slow, manual approach. Machines and chemicals are easy. An hour in, I’d made little visible progress but felt content–a proof of concept.

We’d had a water outage that morning, and I’d had to do some quick thinking to get my eggs chilled after boiling. The eggs were rescued with ice cubes and water from the coffee maker. But I’d left the freezer door ajar.

Every day would be meat day this week. Two steaks, a pack of ground beef, and a kilo of goulash had thawed. We’d use up a month’s meat in a few days. Neither of us was happy about this.

But there was no way we’d let any of this meat go to waste. So, I added some cooking to my task list. The ground beef went into two meals of red-cabbage pasta.

A lot of the seedlings from the greenhouse needed to be planted into beds before I left. They were maxing out their pots.

My garden layout is a mixture of keyhole design and regular garden beds. This is the first keyhole. Rows look artificial to me. I know they have advantages like even distribution of sun and wind.

But wind and sun are my reason to go with the keyholes. There will be areas with more and less light. Wind will hit the plants in a more natural way, too. Nature does not grow in rows.

I’m doing a million things at once to prepare for the hiking trip and to get the plants ready to leave with strangers. So a lot of it isn’t getting filmed or only in small snap shots, but let me show you what’s cooking in the kitchen.

In addition to everything being a complete mess, I left the freezer to open and some of the meat that was further to the front got a little bit thawed. So we thawed all of it and now I’m making goulash. I made a bolognese yesterday just to use up all the meat.

Another thing I did was to take care of all my plants.

I’ve already started this. I’ve taken care of the plants that are in my room. They will all be fine here. I’ll water them again before we leave and the neighbor is going to water them once while we’re gone.

There is also a teeny tiny clover in this pot in some places right there and the back there and right there. We’ll see if they spread a little bit because this is drying out a little too quickly for my taste.

There is still a lot to get done around here to be able to leave this place with my neighbors.

There are all my seedlings here. I need to move the tomatoes into the final little pots that I prepared.

That won’t take long, but it’ll be fun and I need to make sure that everything has enough soil to hold all the water and have enough room to spread for when we’re gone. Because we will be gone for a week and a lot can happen to a seedling in a week.

I’ll move the tomatoes into these pots and what’s really cool is they’ve been here since I did all the soil blocking and they are in great shape.

This convinced me that at least these soil blocks are working really really well and they’re not as hard to make.

Gently, I lifted the tiny tomato seedlings out of the container and placed them in the larger blocks.

These tiny tomatoes were among the most fragile seedlings, so I worried about them surviving the week.

The tomatoes are potted up and this was really nice and easy. I prepared the other pots when I did all the other pots (when I showed you the video) and made the mini blocks then.

And now all I did was just pop them in and it works really really well. And this way now I know that they have enough soil and enough water for while I’m not here. So the neighbor won’t have to be here every single day.

Two melons had sprouted outside the seed blocks. I rescued them into strawberry crates from a neighbor. I only transplanted them because I was leaving. With an eye on them, I would have left them be.

The melons for the greenhouse moved into their final pots a few days sooner than I would have done otherwise. But they were looking healthy, and I wanted to observe them for a day or two in the greenhouse.

Two more melons were added into the bed directly. More seeds had sprouted than expected, so they were extra.

I continued work on the strawberry beds whenever I had some time to spare. Slow but steady progress. I used the balcony planters to dry the weeds before adding them back to the bed as mulch.

I was preparing for a week of too much sun. This will be a stinky wet mess when I return.

I was almost ready to leave the garden in caring hands. A day or two more of work, and I’d be done.

So long, and thanks for being here.