Thursday, April 14, 2011

Veggie Garden Update: Obstacle, Vegetable, Miracle

Broken sewer pipe.. not the best way to start a new project!
It's been quite some time now since I wrote my first post about our veggie garden, and it's fair to say that we've hit some pretty significant snags with the project since then. First of all, remember that broken pipe I mentioned? The one that one of us (I will not name names) smashed with a pickax? Well, that turned out to be a sewer pipe connecting our guest house to the main house. So with borrowed angle grinder in hand and a conversation with the retired plumber at Ace Hardware fresh in his mind ("You can fix it, just don't screw up and break the pipe or you'll pay thousands of dollars to replace all the outdoor plumbing on the property"), my indomitable husband approached that pipe with some trepidation. And yet... crisis averted! I wish now that I'd taken a photo of his professional repair job.

Once that was fixed, we re-buried the pipe and reconstructed our sunken beds around it. I put in a little rockwork to support the area where we had moved the most dirt around, and therefore where it was most likely to erode into the sunken beds. Then we mixed compost in with the native soil and set off on our bikes to stock up on seeds at a local nursery.

Our sunken beds, with reinforcing rockwork where we had to dig out the broken pipe.

I used rocks we already had around the yard, and created a walking surface with the flattest ones.
To start off with, we've planted carrots, cucumbers, basil, snow peas, and sweet peppers. Most of these were recommended for planting during this time of year by my desert gardening book; a few are experiments (i.e. they might die in the heat of the summer). We also used some drip irrigation tubing I had leftover from a work training to rig a gravity-fed irrigation system from our rain barrel.

Unsure of what I was doing as I planted the seeds, it occurred to me that in fact, I had never actually planted vegetables (aside from potted herbs) before. It's been my goal basically since moving to Tucson to plant a veggie garden, but school, work, and outdoorsing always seemed to get in the way until now.

I couldn't help but reflect as I buried each seed what a miracle it is that plants will, if we're lucky, spring from them. It's one of the most basic - and essential - biological functions out there, and certainly one that humans have been dependent on, well, forever. Much has been written about how disconnected we are from our food - the way it's produced, where it's produced, and the people who produce it - and it's certainly symptomatic of our larger disconnection from nature that I have now planted my first food-producing seeds at the ripe old age of thirty.

Yesterday, I got home from work tired, hungry, and a bit grouchy (for me, those things almost always go hand-in-hand), and so I was somewhat annoyed when J insisted that he had something important to show me outside. But he really did:

Snow pea




  1. Wonder of wonders-vegies in the desert. Hooray!

  2. So impressed! And inspired! Go team! :)