Friday, March 30, 2007

The garden of spark plugs.


Now that we can see the yard of our new house, I'm trying to clean up the back garden. The end of our yard slopes up to the fence; the bottom of the slope floods every spring, and is right where the last owners tried to have a garden...of something. Yesterday was the first day that it wasn't underwater since the snow melted. I mucked around in there for the first time, and found that the last owner used it to chuck detritus. He died about fifteen years ago, and I can't imagine his timid widow chucking what I found out there, so I know this stuff is quite old. I found squished lengths of heavy pipes, a rotted tarpaulin, a shower curtain liner that disintegrated on contact, spark plugs in plastic wrappers, a rusted metal canister, a golf ball, a carpet, a gear belt, Indian arrowheads, Jimmy Hoffa, Atlantis, and Waldo.

How the hell will I plant vegetables there? Of course we'll clean it, but the water! The pipe lengths speak to a previous attempt to drain the garden, but they were all full of muck. The tarp was probably another relic of an attempt to keep the water away. It's sodden and brown now. The neighbours have a sump pump to deal with the water, and a beautiful garden. I'll ask them for advice.

B's stepmother came yesterday to help me organize the main level of the house. She also brought two clumps of chives from her garden for me to plant in my own. They're idiot-proof, apparently, and grow like crazy. Perfect, because I have no idea what I am doing. I planted them yesterday while Iain looked on in the stroller, babbling happily.

Earthworms! I've only planted balcony containers before, so it was a new challenge to avoid bisecting any worms. Poor little guys.

Towards the end of her life, my mother abandoned gardening. And when I was a child, she didn't garden with me. I think an incident involving my throat and a tomato stake when I was a toddler convinced Mom that a garden was no place for children, so she never shared her efforts with me. I now know zilch. Sigh. But I'm happy to take my time and learn, and this is a wait-and-see year for the garden anyway. The beds surrounding the house itself are fine - no lost aircraft in sight, and I can't wait to see what pops up in them!

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