We are having unusual weather in New England – it was 75 degrees today, and it’s supposed to be sunny and warm all week. I was inspired to start our garden today! On the way home from church, we made a pit stop at Home Depot and got potting soil and seeds.
When we got home, Addison helped me put soil into the seedling containers, and I showed her how to poke a hole in the dirt, put in a seed, and cover the hole with more dirt. We planted lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, peppers, dill, scallions, rosemary, basil, and chives, as well as an assortment of flowers.
Once the seedlings are big enough, and the threat of frost is gone (probably May), we’ll transfer the plants to our raised cedar beds. We just got a new one, and Addison and our friend Janet’s daughter, Elizabeth, helped me put it together a few weeks ago.
We buy our beds from Naturalyards. I really like how easy they are to put together – they are pre-cut, and you just push a metal pin through the holes in each corner. Though expensive, they are well made, and I am not quite handy enough to put my own together. Making my own raised beds is on my list of things to learn how to do.
When she was done helping me, Addison and Kendra planted pansies in the front planters. Kendra taught Addie how to use the watering can Dee Dee (my mom!) bought for her. After we finished prepping for the garden, Kendra took Addison in for a nap while I worked on the compost pile. It was then that it happened. I was turning over the compost with my pitchfork, when suddenly the body of a mouse appeared before me. I jumped… and then I might have screamed a little bit.
Here’s the deal – I grew up in a very urban environment. Though we did plant a garden once when I was a kid, it didn’t become a regular activity for my family. (That might have something to do with the fact that I picked every single tomato while they were still green.)
Furthermore, I did not encounter mice as a child. If there were any, my mom kept them from us, and for that, I thank her. My first experience with a mouse was while I was living in Boston for grad school. I came home from a long weekend, and my little brother was sleeping over. He kept complaining that the guest room smelled like garbage. Annoyed, I finally looked around the room, and that’s when I noticed the decomposing body of a tiny mouse, and screamed. (You’ll begin to notice a pattern here with my reaction to mice…)
Since then, I have seen more mice; and screamed more too. Try as I might, mice are just one of nature’s creatures for which I can’t seem to develop an affinity. The worst part about today’s sighting? Realizing that I killed the mouse with my pitchfork. Despite a tough inner-city exterior, I am a sensitive soul.
This is my first compost pile, and it is not off to a good start. I am a bit scarred. And scared. This is what I get for tossing grass clippings, twigs, leaves, and other yard waste behind the shed without ever turning it… it’s 5 years of built up organic matter. So, this week I am going to be brave and turn this compost pile. It’s time to get it into shape and get rid of the mice! (Please don’t let there be any more!!!) Any suggestions are greatly welcome. Offering to do it for me would be even more welcome. :)