Not a Sore Loser

One thing I have to say for my husband – he’s not a sore loser.  With the decision made to create raised beds, he found the materials and put together four that measure 20’ x 4.5’ and one that is 10’ x 10’.  Well, approximately. 

My role in building projects like this one is as “grunt.”  Like good grunts everywhere, I get to stand around and wait to see what the builder needs.  I have to know the difference between a hammer and a wrench, along with the different types of wrenches.  I have to find “lost” items, which means keeping an eye on where he puts things.   I get to walk back and forth to the barn to look for forgotten items, as in “Get me one more piece of cardboard.”  And I get to clean as we go.  

The most important thing about being a good grunt is not to wander off.  So cutting down the weeds around the lumber pile is a bad thing.  Checking on the dogs is just as bad.  Going in the garage for water – totally unacceptable.

Despite my ignorance of wrenches and my penchant for wandering off when needed, I now have my five raised beds filled with amended soil.  One is devoted to asparagus.  One – the little one – is designated for strawberries per my husband.  Strawberry shortcake comes up in discussions quite frequently now. 

The remaining three are mine to do with as I wish.  So, one for lettuces, spinach, and kale.  One for root veggies, carrots, beets, onions, and garlic.  One for squash and melons.  The beans and cucumbers will probably end up where they’ve been for the past couple of years, near the house.

Now I just have to check on the chart that tells me what veggies grow well with what other veggies.  Then it gets run by my gardening mentor to answer questions about fertilizers and – horrors – pesticides.  Is it possible to garden in Kansas without pesticides?  Hope so…    Image


To Raise a Bed or Not

My husband and I moved to this Kansas acreage in 2000 and immediately started to argue about vegetable gardening. 

He said, “All you have to do is throw some seeds on the ground and stand back.”

I said, “You need raised beds, amended soil, daily weeding, and a watering schedule.”  And maybe some other bits, but I’ve forgotten what my friend the master gardener told me.

Since I work full time, I devoted my leisure hours to developing perennial beds around the house. My husband had ten years of rotted seed in a garden plot consisting mainly of Kansas clay.  So the argument continued.  To raise a bed or not, that was the question – with apologies to Will.

Two years ago, I was walking through one of the warehouse stores and saw a small raised bed kit.  I pointed to it.  My husband knows me well enough that he simply picked it up and put it in the cart.  For about $50 and a little labor – his – we had a raised bed.  We also had a competition.

He planted potatoes, carrots, and corn.

I planted cucumbers, lettuce, and basil. 

His rotted in the spring rains.  I was harvesting cucumbers in November.  The answer to the question?  Raised beds!