Monday, May 14, 2012

Gardening, part III

We finally picked up some plants to start off our 2012 garden from the local city garden this weekend and I got around to planting them yesterday.
When we were shopping through the greenhouse, we had one cardboard tray to hold everything and it really didn't seem like a whole lot. As we walked through, I kept getting the feeling like we didn't have enough to fill all our planters. And then I planted them and realized we were pushing our limits on spacing, especially after acquiring 6 strawberry plants from Home Depot. I've read that it is possible to plant things really close and block out opportunities for weeds to pop through, but I think that's for more experienced gardeners. I.S. & I went into this with more of an experimental attitude so we're just aiming to figure out what works best in our garden & what not to do next year.

You can click on the image below to get a better look at the text. But basically the beds all have 2 rows. The small bed in front has more space in the middle for the green onion & chives that will go there. The bed closest to the fence is the west-most bed so we decided to plant the tallest plants back there to avoid shading the other plants. I think we will have too many tomatoes, especially since they are of the indeterminate kind, but of course that's assuming we (I) don't kill anything. When I planted the supersweet cherry tomato, it was really wilty so hopefully we didn't already kill one!
 I will most definitely be more on top of things next year and just start my own seeds because buying these starter plants was not cheap, but at least the money goes towards the city garden. I still need to set up a drip irrigation system, but that should be pretty straightforward. Next weekend's task! Wish us luck in our first year of growing food =)

edit: oooh, I forgot about the thai chili and cilantro that I've sprouted in house too. I think I need more planters!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Gardening, part II

After my two consecutive afternoons of hacking at the dirt and trying to dig out the walkways to be level with the yard, we decided that we should just put the raised beds on a raised base. And that is how we ended up with a 1' high retaining wall.

Here's a mini break-down of our weekend and of our garden in numbers:
1800 # of pounds of concrete retaining wall bricks used.

124 # of feet of lumber used for the raised beds.

26 # of cubic feet of top soil + compost needed to fill the remaining space in the raised beds.

Sigh. I'm getting exhausted just thinking about all the work we did. Well truthfully, I.S. did most of the heavy-lifting but it's hard not to just let him do most of it since he seemed to effortlessly lift the 20lb bricks with one hand while I struggled to carry one with both hands.

It started to rain when we unloaded the compost and soil so I will need to fill up the beds and plant stuff later this week when the rain clears up. For now, I will take a break and enjoy the look of our raised beds (regardless of the fact that they are empty).

(oops... forgot to include a pic of the finished garden earlier)

Friday, May 04, 2012


When I.S. & I bought this house, we felt so lucky that the previous owners had professional landscaping done just a year before deciding to sell. Besides the new sprinkler system with drip zones for all the plants, a corner was specially set up for vegetable gardening with its own spigot for watering plants manually, which I was so excited to get my hands on.

Until I got my hands on it.

I mean, don't get me wrong: I can't wait to be tending the garden and harvesting the crop (assuming I don't kill anything, which seems to be a problem I have), except the gardening area isn't how I want it and dangit: I like things the way I want! The previous owner had quite the green thumb so I don't doubt that the way he did things were good, but the problem is, his way has resulted in a 1'-2' high mound of soil covering a 12'x16' space whereas I want the area to be level with the rest of the yard with raised gardening beds on top. Is that so much to ask? Well, I learned last weekend that yes, yes it is.

I purchased, loaded, & unloaded close to $200 lumber by myself last weekend.

And now I need to level the area (aka: shovel & haul away a ****tonne of dirt). This is the mound of dirt I'm hacking away at:
The area circled in red was close to an hours work. I don't really know though, I wasn't keeping track. I just know it felt like forever because that soil was incredibly compacted and I didn't have a fork to help me loosen the dirt. You can bet that that is the first thing I'm getting before continuing any more work! The mishapen green boxes represent my future raised beds. They will be 3' x 8' with 2' of space between and around. Given how difficult it was to dig away just a 1'x5' area, I decided that I will just dig out the walkways and build the planters around the remaining mounds of soil.

On another note, while I was shoveling, I saw that our backyard neighbors on the other side of the wooden fence (left in photo) had 2 large raised gardening beds built. It looked like an effortless job of simply laying down some landsapce fabric & building 2 boxes. I was really envious. Sigh. I.S. did suggest we save the raised beds for next year, but no. I'm stubborn. And like I said: I like things the way I want =p But! I know it'll all be worth it when I'm able to walk through my garden.