Thursday, February 23, 2012

Putting in the new raised beds

It's been awhile since I have posted but I have got some things done. I recently took a long weekend and was able to get my new raised beds in. I found some great rough cut 1" X "10 Cedar boards in twelve foot lengths from Craigslist. I decided carrying 12 foot boards in my 6 foot truck bed was not for me. I thought I'd take a chance and see if he would deliver the lumber and to my surprise he delivered 25 miles to my front door for only $20! I felt really blessed by this and he shared some pictures of his garden and his new Hugelkulter gardens he is experimenting with. So with the boards at hand the construction began in my garden. I had a tough time getting the layout down . One of my goals was to try to take more advantage of my rock wall. To accomplish this I built the South end of the beds even with each other and "stair-stepped" the North end to get an equal amount of space between the beds and the wall in order to put my most heat-loving plants nearer the wall.

I knew the best weather I could expect in February was cold and occasional showers so I knew I needed to be prepared. I decided to make my shed into a temporary break room and shelter from the heavier squalls.
My rest spot notice the thermos on the shelf? I'm going to call this" my happy spot"!

So what's better than working with electrical power tools in the rain? I ended up getting quite a bit done. I think leveling the beds was almost as hard as building them. I got them in and leveled and didn't run out of coffee. It was nice to get them in.
Almost leveled.
I have decided to remove all the soil and bark mulch from my garden area and replace it with crushed rock. I am hoping to get some better drainage and retain more heat. The second day was spent scraping the topsoil and well composted wood chips from my garden bed and putting it in the new beds. On my next days off i will be adding compost and soil to finish off the beds.
Looking to the North

I have  nine, ten and eleven foot beds, all four feet across.
In the top photo you can see the edge of my territory. The dark pot is for Mary's petunias.
She normally has five pots the first one isn't in the picture.
While we were admiring the beds she actually said " Maybe we could move this pot to the front and you could put your new apple trees here so they can get the full sun". After I regained consciousness I realized she had actually given me more space for my gardening! Now if I can just get her to let me take out part of the back lawn. Hmmmmm better not push it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The home and garden show !!

My wife and I recently attended the home and garden show in Seattle and what a blast! I don't venture into the big city often so I must have really wanted to go. The display gardens were pretty incredible. They were a great displays of a gardeners vision and handiwork.
Some of the stone work was pretty amazing when you considered it was all set up in a few days inside of  a building. The displays were complete with waterfalls and Koi ponds!
I have to admit though we really enjoyed the marketplace. We didn't buy a lot but it was pretty cool looking at all the greenhouses and all the merchandise. Some of my favorites were hand crafted items.
I looked at some wonderful hand tools that were hand forged by a local blacksmith. There was a lot of art and hand made items.
It was a good opportunity to get to know some local artisans.
I also found some local sources for plants and seeds. There was a local beekeeper who had many great products. All in all a great time.
I think the highlight of the day was the the class we took on winter gardening.
It was taught by Annette Cottrell who hosts a great blog, you can find it at:
Annette is a rockstar in the sustainable living field. Kind of like the Jimmy Hendricks of Urban Farming :)
She has also co-written a book called The Urban Farm Handbook. After the class I picked up a copy and had her sign it. It was nice to meet the person behind the blog I had learned so much from. I gained a lot of useful information but maybe more importantly I gained inspiration!
I hope to incorporate some of the ideas I learned into my garden redesign. I also learned the importance of the huge rock wall that runs on one side of my garden.
This 12 foot tall rock wall runs the entire length of my back yard and garden.

I hope to better utilize the heat it produces to enhance my heat loving plants as well as moderate temps in the winter.
We spent about 5 hours there and could have spent a little more time browsing and went to at least one more class. The plan for next year is a full day with a long lunch.
I will be putting in most of my redesigned garden in the next week. It will be a lot of work and I seem to change something in my head every time I go out there. My next post will include the framework of the new garden. I have several veggies started under my fluorescent lights in my garage and they will need a home soon! What are you growing?