My first garden


garden box with newspapers

Garden container over ground lined with newsprint in my back yard

One of my projects for 2015 is to plant a vegetable garden.

It was also one of my projects for 2014 … 2013 … 2012 … 2011 …

I’ve been composting for years. I read “Square Foot Gardening” [Amazon | iTunes aff. links] by Mel Bartholomew a long time ago, getting ready. I will admit that I’ve had a bad history with growing plants (runs in the family), but I want to continue to improve my diet and support local food by eating homegrown produce.

Somehow, I made it happen this year.

Instead of building a 4-foot raised bed garden box from four sticks of lumber, I bought a slightly smaller kit from Home Depot online for $29. I didn’t want box assembly to be an excuse again.

I put together the kit in 2 minutes Saturday: four plastic boards, four corner connectors.

My back yard will be the home for my garden, though it doesn’t get as much sunlight as probably needed thanks to the shade trees.

I used newsprint as a weed barrier (I read online about some big problems with weed cloth).

The soil is one-third compost, one-third peat moss (bought locally) and one-third vermiculite (bought online). I mixed them by hand and with a shovel on an old shower curtain liner.

mixing pile

I shoveled a layer into the box, then hosed it down, repeating by layer till full. I had exactly the right amount.

garden box with dirt

I made a layout grid using extra vinyl slats from my window blind.

garden box finished

The soil mix is loose, airy and moist.

I went ahead and planted half the squares with winter vegetables: broccoli, carrots, onions, kale, spinach, peas and green peppers. In a few weeks, after final frost, I’ll plant spring vegetables: green beans, cucumbers, basil and squash.

Today, I built a cover to keep out birds and cats and rodents (hopefully). I bought the lumber locally and the chicken wire online. Sawing the pieces and screwing them together went relatively quickly (after charging my drill), but the wire portion took hours.

I had to measure and cut wire (4 feet wide, but I’m using a 3.5-foot frame), bend it, attach it using zip ties, connect the sides so it doesn’t have large openings, trim the ties and bend in all the sharp points. (And I may need to get a few bungee cords to keep the cover in place.)

garden with cage

The cover lets sunlight and air in, and I can water the garden easily with a sprayer. (The book recommends ladling water from a bucket warmed by the sun.) I can quickly move the cover aside to tend to the plants.

Let’s hope and pray I actually see plants in the coming days, weeks and months. I’m simply thrilled I made it this far after planning and procrastinating for so long.


About this entry