ProfessorRoush has had a busy week of gardening with more to come. In addition to last weekend and the evenings, I took a couple of days off work so that I could exhaust myself in the garden. Two days, sunup to sundown, and I'm tanned like a tanning-bed addict. No, now don't get too excited, girls. Only on my arms, face and neck. My snow white legs are the really titillating image. A classic "farmer's tan" on a gardener.
It's time to unveil the skeleton of a project which began on delivery of a large package last Wednesday. There, down in the vegetable garden. Do you see it? I'm not going outside on this rainy Saturday morning to give you a better view, but how about the closeup below? Sorry about the window screen in the way, but that's a frame for a shade house, amazingly and partially erected by yours truly.
I can live without many things in my garden, but I'm tired of growing a nice crop of strawberry plants each spring and then watching them burn to a crisp in July and August. So I resolved this year to build a shade house to help the plants get through the brutal Kansas sun so that I can enjoy a proper harvest next year. This shade house is 24'X14' and covers the entire patch. Using a sledgehammer for the first time in a decade, I drove the 14 posts down through the rock and clay all by myself in a single evening. Well to be honest, I drove 10 of them and I dug and cemented the 4 corner posts in place to help hold the house down against the occasional tornado. Chalk up one victory for the aging gardener! Right now I estimate the first ten years of strawberries will work out to about $1/berry.
By no means is this the end of my gardening week, either. Today, over 100 gardeners from Omaha are visiting my garden. They came down to Manhattan to see the KSU Gardens and ended up asking the Chamber of Commerce to visit a couple of "large" local gardens. My garden may not qualify as unique or educational, but "large" got me on the list. The garden, despite the waning roses and the long gone irises and peonies, is in about as good a shape as I've ever had it after a week of effort. And to top it off, tomorrow is the annual Manhattan Area Garden Show and I'm the roving photographer for it. My gardening week will end Sunday night, and for once I'll be glad to leave the garden and go back to paying work!