Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Garden Project: Update

This spring marks the third year of our efforts to turn our raised bed garden into a. . . raised bed garden.

Why all the time and effort to make something we already had? you might ask.  Because we are making it better, I tell you. Here is a reminder of our progress (this is as much for my benefit as for yours--we take so long to get things done that I sometimes forget where we started!)

When we moved in the side yard had three raised beds with roses and a few other various bulbs and bushes, and a tall fir tree that was sort of sickly.  This picture is the only picture I took with it in it. . .

And yes, it's there.  See that line along the left side of the picture? Not the best, I know.  I took this picture the day we looked at the house back in August of 2007.  We moved in a couple months later and before the end of the year the tree was gone.  (We took out a tree in the back yard that had put a hole in our roof and decided to take this one out too since the neighbors had expressed concern about the possibility of it coming down their direction).

Of course it fell on the only raised box that wasn't rotten. . . and smashed all the roses ( though I planted their remains elsewhere and they have since recovered).  So the following summer we had to start from scratch.  Here is a montage of our progress the first year:

And then we did nothing but let the weeds grow in.  We plunked a couple tomato plants amidst the weeds and called it a day, er year.

The following year required a lot of reclaiming efforts.  And we also had the stump ground out--and discovered a massive network of narly roots, including one the size of a tree trunk.  Our well equipped neighbor brought his truck and chains over to drag it out. Then we swore our way through five of the boxes before calling it good for a year.  We grew some from seed (most of which perished) and some from little plants we bought at the nursery.  Mostly it was a year of discovering what we would eat and what was fun to plant but which no one was interested in eating--oh, and we learned never to buy pumpkin plants called "trickster".  Unless of course you want 23 pumpkins that will fit in the palm of your hand!

AND, never wait too long to put your tomatoes in cages.  When they didn't have any at the first store I went to I put it off and had mass mountains of tomato plants.  Not good, I tell you. But the end of the season left me with a freezer full of tomato pepper soup and basil pesto and a cupboard full of dried herbs--YUM.

This year we got started early thanks to some very welcome early spring weather.  And I like to think our procrastination was actually brilliant planning on our part, because this year the roots were all decayed and pulled out like a dream.  The soil was all nice and rich and we whipped those last three boxes out in a couple weekends.  Of course, since the bed was mounded up in the middle it required us to dig down a foot to make the boxes level--which was surprisingly easy.  Then we covered the pathways with gravel to make it cleaner and help with weed prevention. I even got started planting already. So far the potatoes and onions are in, and my strawberries are all transplanted to their own little box.  Can't wait to plant more and to get my bean tuteurs up (they will go on each end of the row along the garage).  Maybe Saturday.

Now you are all up to speed.  Hopefully this year my garden will be prolific AND beautiful.

What are your garden plans this year?

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