Thursday, January 24, 2013

Prepping for the 2013 West Texas garden

The past week my family has starting preparing the area that will be our 2013 garden plot.  Here's a picture to show you what is looks like today... although we've already cleared and put up new fence on the north, cleared out the chest high tumble weeds and put up the greenhouse.  We obviously need to do the same thing to the western fence.

It's obvious that at some time in the distant past that this area was used for gardening.  There's a water faucet right there, the ground is void of grass holding just tumbleweeds and a few sticker plants.  It's pretty much cleared of rocks and there isn't any mesquite or cactus.  Bonuses all around!  Also it seems that the dirt is actually in surprisingly good shape, not at all like the ground just outside of the fence. 

The fire pit it new to us.  Hubby and youngest son put it in last fall and it has been the source of much family enjoyment.  I have plans on adding either cement or some other hard surface around the pit to a diameter of at least 6 feet out so that there is room for furniture. 

In the last week I've made several to scale diagrams of possible layouts for the garden plots. 

Here's two versions;  this first one (to the left) has the most amount of work to be done and second (below) has the least amount of work needed completed. 

Before the scale plans I'd made probably a dozen sketches, lol.  I guess you can't take the artist (or graphic artist) out of the gardener. I still can't decide what to do.  We don't actually own the ranch though so I'm wavering on how much I want to put into the garden.  Although we did sign a lease to purchase so we do plan on eventually buying it.  Yet we all know how things are in the world these days and with the history I'm significantly worried we'll never get another loan.  So to put significant money into building raised beds, walkways, etc... Well, I just don't know.  But then there's the fact that we live in West Texas.  The edge of the Chihuahuan desert to be exact and I'm a bit (okay, more than a bit) worried how gardening in these harsh conditions will work out. Extreme gardening anyone?

I have such big plans for this year's garden.  I have hopes of it being the biggest garden I've ever tackled.  Yet I'm, again, terrified of the hard climate and soil I have to work with.  I'm really hoping to plant at least two corn varieties, one sweet and one popcorn.  I also plan on several hard bean varieties as well as lentils.  I'd LOVE to grow quinoa, buckwheat, flax and teff but I might just be dreaming on those grains. My hope is to be able to store at least 2/3 of what I harvest for my "preps".  I'm also going to grow tomatoes, peppers and onions to can for spaghetti sauce and salsa, my families to favorites.  Also, my husband requested pickles and his own strawberry plot.

All this gardening has been very exciting and I've been really looking forward to it all... and then yesterday I crashed.  All these emotions creeped up and I got scared, worried and to be honest I became down right grumpy and had a little meltdown.  Now... just to defend myself I was on Day 2 of the first juice fast I've done in close to a year and I was having a bit of a hypoglycemic reaction from the sudden reduction-elimination of all the bad stuff I'd been eating the past year.  Not to worry, I'm fine and I'm balancing out now.  I also didn't yell or scream or anything like that, I just wanted to quit it all and forget it.  But all is better today.  I think... It's hot today and I want to put on shorts already.  I'm trying not to let the weather freak me out yet.