The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Container gardening with carrots. We get around to it eventually.

Uncle Mac was cleaning his ten gauge with the unconscious ease born of long practice, alternatively eyeing Farm Girl and the hay bales as if an idea was forming in the back of what we call - for lack of a better word - his mind when the north or Millie's Orchard side door banged open. Vida G swept in, bearing a five gallon bucket and happy grin.


Three pairs of eyes swiveled to take in the unusual apparition, four if you count Mrs. BobKats' in the rafters.
"She appears," said Uncle Mac, "to be wearing an oriental.."
"Asian!"  snapped Delacroix, "You have to say Asian these days, you dinosaur!"
"An oriental gardening hat." said the dinosaur, glowering. "Work gloves, a denim shirt, jeans and if my eyes fail me not, work boots?"
"Who are you, and what have you done with Vida G?"
"Ha!" said Vida G, "AIl that I've been doing the last half hour is planting the first official veggies of the season. I've caught the gardening bug and I thought I'd dress the part. Like the outfit?"
"Looks good on you," said Farm Girl from the corner. "Why the transformation? When you came to listen to Mac's pitch you had no interest in gardening, thought firearms were the Devils own creation and that travel through time and space were figments of schoolboys' and drunkards' imaginations, if I may paraphrase. And as for staying the required three days and two nights in the Garden Shed for orientation, I believe your exact quote was, 'Only if a suitcase full of diamonds changes hands.' "
"So what changed your mind?"
"The suitcase full of diamonds was a powerful motivator." Vida said, "besides, this place, the Shed, the garden and the land around it causes a change in things after a while. Like attitude, point of view, and sanity for example."
"I mean, you can't coexist with people who should really be dead," she waved a gloved hand at Farm Girl, "or who don't actually exist", indicating Delacroix, who smiled brightly, "or whiskery old space-time Jockeys",...
"Old?" said Uncle Mac,
"and not have your world view altered to a certain extent. Throw in serial killers, dead mountain climbers, certified card carrying spell-slinging witchescertifiable drunken antique hillbillies not to mention wolves dire and otherwise, pet bobcats, tame weasels..."
"Ermine," said Farm Girl, helpfully.
"ermine, if it pleases you, talking raccoons, talking deer, talking turnips for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus and who knows what might stagger in next...,"
Vida paused for much needed air, Delacroix adroitly stepped into the breach.
"I've been teaching her to shoot. Jack's been teaching her knifework, Leatherface has her cutting firewood, Farm Girl is covering gardening skills..."
Vida had her wind back.
"Yesterday I took my first solo time jaunt. Thing's are absolutely impossible and absurd here at The Shed, and I'm having the time of my life!"
"Chain saws? Knives? Shooting? And you soloed through the wormholes? Where have I been?" Mac looked bewildered.
"If you concentrated on something other than warming your winky you might by accident notice what goes on around here." said Farm Girl.
Ignoring farm girl, Uncle Mac addressed Vida: "How far back did you go?"
"Not back, Uncle Mac, forward. I went forward, to right here."
Uncle Mac looked stricken.
"You know the rule? Any time any where into the past but only 15 minutes into the future? Saving medical emergency of course?"
"Of course! I stood right here at 7:46 PM, jumped ahead 15 minutes to 8:01, called the lottery hot line, got the winning Pick 4, back to our timeline by 7:48, into the Bentley by 7:49, out at Vesuvio's by 7:55, playing 8646 straight and boxed 10 times by 7:57! Ain'tcha proud of me?" Vida was beaming.
"Erm." said a shell shocked Mac, "What was the take?"
"$ 33,432.55"
"You need $ 33,000.00 like I need a case of Alaskan king crabs! The contents of the suitcase alone is more than the GNP of 7 third world countries. We checked." 
"I know! said Vida, It was just for fun and practice. When the check arrives I'm putting it in the activities fund." 
"We don't have an activities fund." said Mac.
"We do now." observed Delacroix.
"Well." said Uncle Mac, "Well. This is good, you're adapting nicely. But no more time jaunts, fore, aft or sideways without Farm Girl, Lacey or me in tow. You have no idea how dangerous wormholes can be, and how easy it is to get lost. And when you are lost in the wormholes, gal, you are lost forever."
"But more to the point, we brought you in as roving reporter and Shed historian, to chronicle the daily saga of our little gardening community on a daily basis, if need be.  We're currently waiting on Millie's story, the tale of Pineapple Girl and the big snatch, background pieces on all Shed denizens human and otherwise, and an interview with Mr. Bear."
"Not to put to fine a point on it, Lassy, but you are getting a little behind."

Delacroix groaned and buried her face in her hands. Farm Girl collapsed slowly backward into the hay from which stifled sounds, sobs perhaps, escaped periodically.
Vida G was no longer grinning.
"I", she said icily, "have not had a little behind since I was 12 years old. It is my lot in life. Now, I will go talk to the bear. He is more sensitive."
"Wait!" said a confused Uncle, "This is a serious gardening blog! What's with the bucket?" 
Ah. The bucket. Indeed.
 Hi! Vida G here, roving reporter for Uncle Mac's Garden Shed and today I've stolen a march on the entire gardening crew by planting the first crop of the year! No, not potential transplants, they don't count, but an actual in-situ crop!
Yes. A container garden of carrots in a five gallon pail or other suitable container is an easy way to get a jump on the season.
One easy way to get started is to wait for an unseasonably warm sunny day and then scrape the snow off of what is left of last years compost pile. Once the snow is removed cover the pile with clear plastic and weight it down so that it can't blow away, and let the sun do it's work, thawing the compost.
Meanwhile drill holes in the bottom of a used 5 gallon pail, for drainage purposes. 
Later in the afternoon when the compost has cooked for most of the day, scratch loose enough compost to sift. Then, fill the bucket to within a few inches of the top with the sifted compost. Fill the bucket all the way to the top with basic, unfertilized potting soil.
In this case a 65 day nantes type carrot, a "Nelson Hybrid" from Territorial Seeds was the carrot of choice. Most carrots will do just fine in a container, if it is deep enough.
Plant the seeds about 1/4" deep in the potting soil, water lightly and place in a sunny window. It can take 6 to 21 days for the carrots to emerge.
Once the plant are showing two inches of top or so take every opportunity to leave them outdoors - once there is no danger of frost leave them outside 24/7, out of the reach of bunnies and deer of course.
Then just wait until the maturity date and pull several handfuls of fresh yummy carrots weeks before anyone has them in their garden. Want more carrots? Use more pails!
This has been Vida G, reporting live from Uncle Mac's Garden Shed. 
Stop back soon! 


Glory Lennon said...

My carrots are taking their damn time coming up and I'm starting to despair that my seeds were a tad too old.Will try again though...If they don't show up soon.

Christy Birmingham said...

Vida G is a character I hadn't seen on your site here before. Oh Uncle Mac! :)