Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Evolution of My Garden

I'm so excited!  I finally have a raised garden bed.  I have been wanting one forever, but never had the space.  Honestly, I didn't even think I had the space to do one here.  I live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment and we only have a small piece of grass in the front that isn't "ours", it's shared.  There is a run that goes along the side (where I let Mississippi do her business) with a long strip of grass, but again ... it's not exactly "ours".  I talked to the landlord about doing a small garden (most likely after I already bought the bricks and raked out the side.  Again ... not so good with rules!) and he had no issue with it at all (good thing!).  Then the labor of love began.

Here is the back strip of grass (aka: Mississippi's office).  Some windows face out this way, so I can't use the entire area, just the area below our window.

Unfortunately, the grass is filled with rocks.  I'm pretty sure these were from the roof when he had it redone years ago.  This was SO much work.  It took me a few days just to rake out the small area I needed.  So many rocks!

All raked out.  You can see the huge pile of rocks on the side that I raked up.

Nice and clean!

Now it's time to get the ground all nourished up.  I wasn't about to till the ground, so I opted for a no till garden bed.  The kids and I went out hunting for supplies.  We gathered newspaper, leaves, seaweed, fruit peels and dirt.  We layered the bottom with newspaper about 10 layers deep and soaked them.  Then we covered it with all the fresh peels and seaweed, then leaves, and dirt.

Then we had the gardner save the grass clippings for us to add to the bed.  Aubrey's doing a great job raking them all across the top of our brown compost. 

Then I added a layer of fresh compost. 

I don't have a photo, but we had to buy some compost to add to the bed.  I filled all the holes in the cement blocks and piled it up in the center, so it was a few inches higher than the sides and then covered it with a black tarp.  You can sort of see it behind Aubrey and Mississippi.  I let it sit like this, untouched for 6 months.

Mississippi is loving this already!

Then we got a visit from Grandma Moses and Grandpa!  He taught me all about the wonder that is PVC.  We built this cool green house cage together (well, mostly Grandpa, but I learned a lot!).  

We covered it with plastic sheeting and duct tape - (Erinn's time to shine!)

Here we are in the greenhouse! 

It still needed some sides at this point, but we got it up before the big storm that came through.  I'm glad the storm rolled through when it did because I discovered that it needed a tad more anchoring.  After I got it back in place, :), I added some of those spare rocks I have laying around to each hole where the poles were inserted and so far, a few more storms have rolled through and my greenhouse is still standing in place!

Then Easter came and my Mom, who is a total Green Thumb, helped me prepare the bed and plant my crops.  Here is Aubrey helping Grandma spread the soil.  
This makes my heart happy!  I have many fond memories as a child helping my mom plant flowers in our beautiful backyard.  I love watching my daughter do the same :).

Here are our crops!  I got a red bell pepper and two tomato plants.  One is a cherry tomato plant and the other is a yellow tomato plant, but the exact name is escaping me.

And I FINALLY got a potato to sprout.  I believe this one is an organic potato from Trader Joes.  I have tried to sprout at least 5 potatoes like this (all organic) and so far, this has been my only success (weird, right?).

I got Mr. Potato a nice big pot and my Mom helped me carefully plant it.  I'm excited to see what happens!  My mom had the nice idea of spreading out some of those extra rocks around the pots to make it more aesthetically pleasing.  My mom has mad skills in that arena.  She fixed the whole garden bed up, in, and around making the whole area look so nice and neat.  I see where I get my gumption from!

There is something so cool about growing more veggies from another veggie.  I want to experiment a little more with that.  I hear you can do that with the base of a celery plant, too.  And of course, garlic and scallions.  I did a few of those in this old tire.  The scallion has completely taken off!  That is on the  left and the garlic on the right is doing pretty good, too.  I have no idea when I should harvest these, though ... so I better read up on that!

Uncle Mat, JJ's brother, taught me the cool trick of using an old tire as a pot.  You can stack them to make a deeper pot.  I found this baby just laying on the side of the road.  

Out of nowhere, this crazy white lady rolled up and threw this old tire in the back of her SUV.  What in the world could she want with an old tire ?????

:) :) :)

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