planting2 Much of the time that I was spending as a literary agent is going to be spent in the yard, greenhouse and garden. Here in Amarillo we can’t plant outdoors until after Easter but our greenhouses were full to overflowing all winter. We moved the potted plants in there last year when it got down to freezing and they have thrived and bloomed all winter long. The big greenhouse is 16 x 24 and in addition to the potted plants has plenty of room for growing carrots, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, cabbage, and a variety of herbs and spices.

This is the third season for the small greenhouse, 6 x 10 and it is a hydroponic garden, no soil, but growing things in a clay pellet medium. The picture is an old one when I was setting the greenhouse up. A current picture would show it overflowing with collard greens, broccoli, celery and lettuce. They all thrive on the constant recirculating irrigation.

The outdoor garden has more than doubled in size this year and we are going to try something new with it. I’ve been reading a lot about hay bale gardening. Rows of hay bales are set up, fertilized and prepared, then they are used as a grow medium to plant in. It raises the garden up a couple of feet off the ground to make tending the plants easier. The process retards weeds, and as the bales deteriorate it provides a natural fertilizer for the plants. We have 50 bales coming Monday and are very hopeful about this project and anticipate a good crop of a variety of vegetables.

Our neighbors, Floyd and Linda Goudreau, are working with us on it. We took down the fence between our yards which gives us plenty of room for the garden as well as a lot of room for the dogs to run. We also share the yard chores as I have a riding mower and mow the entire area while he edges and trims. When we moved in to this location last year the yards were nearly non-existent, but by winter we had a pretty good stand of grass even with some areas that still need work. Building on that we expect the yards to get into pretty good shape this year.

Yes, I do miss being an agent and traveling to all the writing conferences but I am enjoying this new phase of my life as well. Just call me Farmer Burns.