Tuesday, May 12, 2009

So, how's the gardening coming along?

Finally, my three raised beds are framed, they are all full of a custom soil mixture and I have some plants in them. My friend Brent (who helped build one of yonder frames) was telling me that once your plants are in the ground, it's one heartbreak after another until you're eating your harvest. I'll be learning about that soon enough.

I still think I don't really know what I'm doing, but that's okay! Whatever I learn from my mistakes this year can be fixed for next year. One big blunder was pouring dozens of seeds into the sprouting cells at the outset—that makes for a tough, tough time when you're transplanting or thinning the seedlings. At the far left in the first photo is my "flower house," the small tent where I'm hardening seedlings. Some are saved for Kelly O, whenever we meet up next!

I'm using the Square Foot gardening technique, and one of the first questions I got from friends who were checking out my beds in person, was, what's with the string? Um, yeah, that's just me being all OCD. The string is my one-foot grid, just a visual cue for me. Because remember: I really don't know what I'm doing, so anything helps. Things are looking pretty good so far! This first raised bed is for the kids, especially Rosie (her fuschia butterfly stake is in there, can you spot it?). It is going to be all flowers, with a few strawberry plants thrown in. So far, there's my stinky marigold-border (I'm trying to see if this will deter pests), dianthus & petunias, and of the flowers I grew from seed, there's sweet pea in the back getting trained on the trellis, cosmos, bachelor's button, larkspur, and maaaaybe one sunflower. I just am not sure. My skills at labeling, and later, identification are lacking.

The second, middle bed has a sprinkler in it (off to the left) and Dash's green dragonfly stake, for decoration. You can't see them very well, but I have two tomato frames up anticipating that my 3" tomato plants will grow into them! Everything in here grew from seed, excepting the marigolds. So far, there are peas in the back right which are trellis bound, roma and cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, collards, and carrot plants.

The third bed is still a little random. I just finished it off with compost from our compost bin (will have to write more about the bin & composting later) and have planted a few seedlings that weren't doing that well in the flower house in hopes that they just needed to be in the ground to take off. I'm saving the trellis for canteloupe seedlings (still indoors) and cucumber, and already planted are more collards, jalapeno, and tomato plants. I might get a few seedlings that were professionally grown to plant in here, just to compare!

I have a few other containers on the deck that used to be my main kitchen garden. I planted some puny basil seedlings in this container.

This container already has gigantic chives and sage plants in it as well as a not-so-healthy thyme plant. I added a few teeny parsley seedlings that look very threatened by the chives.

In these containers, there is mint, growing back in from last year and down below, strawberry plants. The berry plants in the raised bed are looking much happier! They never blossomed or fruited while in this container.

Well, that's the update! One note about the compost bin: it does get very hot when it's doing its work and DOES emit smelly gasses. Is it methane? It smells a bit like a horse stable.


  1. It is methane. Welcome to the fabulous process of decomp. Once you get your compost a little more advanced, that will not really be so much the case.

  2. I love that you took something as natural as gardening and put square foot grids on it. I would do the same thing. And maybe next year I will!

  3. The grids are awesome. I have to admit, I just threw the seeds randomly and hoped for the best. The squirrels have been digging everything up, so it wouldn't have mattered either way. Little bastards.

  4. Hey Brent, Catherine & Kelly! I do hope the compost will become less stinky over time, oh yes I do.

    Catherine, if you do try it out, take photos and tell us about it!

    Kelly, I hope your squirrels didn't kill everything! I will definitely bring some extra seedlings to you. Monkeyrotica came up with the idea of sprinkling black pepper over everything to keep pests away. Ah-choo! sez teh squirrelz.

  5. I've had pretty good luck gardening in DC. My balcony mini-garden is doing really well. I'm jealous of your real dirt though. Working with pots is super messy.


I appreciate the time you've spent reading my post and would love to read your comments!

Who links to me?

blogger templates | Make Money Online