Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The difference a week can make

Two Saturdays ago, it was snowing. This past Saturday, it reached 80 degrees. Thanks, Fairbanks, just thanks. Summer is finally here and instead of giving us a bit of warning it just decided to show up all at once. With absolutely no time to get used to the weather, nearly everyone I talked to was overheating and *some* of us got quite cranky about it. (I was warned that being pregnant in the summertime is miserable and now I'm finding out just how true that is. Note to myself: next time aim for a winter pregnancy!) However, this didn't keep anyone indoors...for long. Friends were visiting from Eagle River so we spent a lot of time this weekend hanging out with them. Frolf (or disc golf, if you prefer--I prefer neither, so I walked the dog around and watched everyone else play), BBQing, seeing "Star Trek", going out to eat (!), house parties, bike rides, and nerd games. It was great fun. I did have to be careful not to overheat in the sun, which I was in serious danger of doing at the BBQ. (There was no shade at all.) However, we were right next to the very high and still icy river, so I dipped my feet in until I cooled off.
From all of this outdoorsy-ness, I actually have a bit of a tan. I got a light sunburn on my shoulders after the frolf and BBQ, so there are some funny tan lines going already.
In and around all of the activities, I did manage to check most of my own weekend to-do list off. Pretty much everything on the list was gardening, since I'm so far behind. But, the combination of the extreme heat and me being pregnant meant that it was much harder to do than usual. For one thing, I can overheat faster than ever and it would be bad for Baby. So I need to be careful about that. Additionally, though, I don't think I ever realized before how much gardening takes out of me. I'd work for 30-45 minutes and then be exhausted, needing a break to lie down in front of the fan and either read a book or take a nap. So while most of the work got done, it took the better part of the weekend to accomplish it.
So here's what I did manage to do: finish prepping the planter boxes and got carrot seeds in 3 of them. (Let's hope they germinate!) Raked the garden, turned over the rows that I wanted to plant and did some "light" weeding. Tried a new method of killing weeds by dumping boiling water over the rows where I wanted to plant. (Will hopefully kill some roots or at least any dormant seeds.) Planted peas in the garden, re-started some seeds which didn't germinate, and started hardening off my seedlings.
When laid out like that it doesn't sound to impressive, but it was a lot of work. And I have more still to do. I didn't get my potatoes planted, so that will most likely happen tonight. And I realized that I did plant my peas rather far apart so I'll almost certainly go back and put some more in between, just to nicely fill it all out. I already have more peas than last year but in my household you can never have too many peas.
Lastly, my squashes are about ready to transplant. I'll get most of those into the planter boxes and the rest will have to go into the garden. I'll need to buy some more dirt soon, too, so that I can plant my tomatoes in buckets rather than in the garden. They do all right in the garden, but not great. So some will go out there but my main producers will have to be in buckets.
So far, this is shaping up to be my biggest garden yet. I'm not sure how productive it will be, since I started it so late, but hopefully it will justify the effort I've put into it. When figuring out what to plant I looked at three things: what seeds I already had (since there were plenty leftover from last year, I saw no need to buy new seeds); what produced well for me last year (peas, squashes, cherry tomatoes, and carrots--as long as they're in planters--have been my best crops); and finally, what's expensive? That's part of why I focus so much on tomatoes, especially the big ones. The ones available at the stores are absolute crap. They taste like red water. The ones bought at the farmer's market, however, are $4-5/lb. That gets rather expensive very quickly. So if I can supplement as much as possible with the fruits from my own garden, so much the better.
Gardening is only going to get trickier as I get bigger, I know this. And I don't foresee my exhaustion leaving anytime soon since I'm having so much trouble getting comfortable at night. I can tell how much my hips are loosening up from how much they hurt each morning after sleeping on my sides. I've got a new plan of action for tonight, we'll see if adding more pillows in strategic locations helps any. And, I'm always open to suggestions if anyone out there on the Tubes is willing to share.

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