The potatoes are in! I read that May 15th is the average "last frost" in this area, so with this date still in the future, I feel comfortable making potatoes and peas my first priority, rather than other more frost-sensitive things. The potatoes won't be up for a few days, and the peas will survive any freezing temps.
I was happy to find that under all of that scary fescue, the soil is pretty good: sandy loam, loose, with very few rocks (big change for me!) I weed-whipped a path and clearing first. Then I started digging with the pulaski. There was a ton of plastic and marbles. Yes: marbles. The landlord mentioned that someone else had gardened in that area and had done all sorts of things with rocks and sand. She mentioned she wasn't a fan of that kind of gardening. I agree it seems entirely pointless, but I kind of had fun finding marbles everywhere and sticking them in my pocket. I bagged up two piles of garbage, with much more to go. I also found 6 bags of "cypress mulch" buried UNDER the sod. I couldn't help but thinking, "So that's where the Ivory-billed woodpecker habitat ended up... in these plastic bags." I did find the "sand garden." It's framed with timber and grown over with, guess what. Yeah, fescue. I think I'll make that a little compost area.
After busting through the sod, I spent a little bit of time pulling out the clumps of grass. The soil was still full of tons of strong, white runners from the fescue. I know I could have spent days sifting through the soil to get them out, and that probably would have made a huge difference in the weed battle later, but I just wasn't feeling patient or diligent enough. I have a feeling that no matter what I do, the grass is going to be a major weed factor. We'll see how it goes.
I hauled over 4 buckets-full of llama manure from the front yard and scattered it in the new bed. Then I turned it in. I'm calling the pile in the front yard the Magical Pile of Poo!
The seed potatoes are from my last year's harvest of Wood Prairie Farm's All Blue and All Red varieties. They had long sprouts and roots already. Some had green leaves popping. I cut them up so each piece of tuber had a sprout or an eye and let the tubers dry in the wind for a bit. I planted them pretty close to one another, about six inches apart. I always do this, and then mulch the heck out of the plants.
I found some Sugar Ann snap peas from last year and planted those in the third row. I've kept my leftover seeds in plastic bags in the fridge for the past year, so I'll also be watching to see how the old seeds do compared with new ones.
I can see the garden from the kitchen, living room, and bedroom. I'm always checking on it. I have no idea why. I just can't stop.
I couldn't help but notice how different I felt after I spent the day outside planning and making the garden. The wind pushed me and the windmill around. Both of us groaned. Yellow warblers sang, "Sweet, sweet, little more sweet!" all day long. It was the most welcome I've felt here in Michigan so far. I didn't expect it, so the sense of purpose that hung with me as I came inside and cleaned up caught me by surprise. The anxiety I've felt about not having a teaching job was dulled just a bit by the fact that I had a place to garden.