Monday, June 15, 2009

Second time around - Planning the garden layout

Long ago in a galaxy far, far, away.... Err... back to reality...

Many years ago I did experiment with growing a vegetable garden. I was recently out of college and had to find something to do with my time that would be productive; so I decided that a garden would be a good idea.

A few things I learned from my first experience...
I did learn that carrots are easy to grow as well as zucchini. Zucchini will grow almost anywhere. It almost took over my garden; only because I did not know how large they grew. Well... I found out. I found that having 6 zucchini plants were way more than enough. I couldn't give the zucchini away after a while. People would see me coming and run.

Another thing is that aphids
grow everywhere... on everything.... well, not onions or garlic... then again... most people avoid those as well, so it makes sense. But, regardless, I hate aphids!!! They are so tiny and blend in so well that you don't necessarily realize that you are about to eat one. Ew, gross!!! I do not believe in bugs as protein. They also really like brussel sprouts, broccoli and most fragrant herbs.

Well, it's been a few years since then, ok, maybe more like ten years. So, I thought I would give growing a garden another go. I just recently finished my home and have a great spot out front for a garden. More room than I realized. I found out the hard way that there is so much involved in getting everything you want for the garden just right. In fact, I am still working on it. The first stage was planning. The planning had to do with the area involved and the set up of the raised beds. Needless to say, I became a bit ambitious and only had one raised bed (10 x 22 ft)( insane - I know.. or am at least finding out) . In addition to this area, I found two other spots that would have been a shame to waste; so I planned for these areas as well.

Many people via books, Internet, magazine, etc... say the best way to create a raised bed garden is to locate an area with full sun. Check. Then till the area up. Remove all grass, weeds, etc... Check. Build a "box" using numerous types of lumber. I decided to use 2 x 12 treated cedar. This will only work if you use landscape plastic on the inside edges of the box. You want to make sure that none of the chemicals from the lumber seep into the soil that you will put inside the box. Box done. Check. You can lay down newspaper, landscape fabric, etc. inside the box before you get the soil; I of course did not do any of that and am waiting to see how it could effect the garden.

Next, you get the soil. There are many different types of soil out there. Honestly, I had no idea that there was that much difference in dirt! So, I went with a compromise. I got "dirt" that was a 30/30 mix. 30% compost, 30% topsoil and what the other 60% is... well, I can't really remember. This was back in April. Regardless... the dirt did smell like cow manure, so I figured it was a good start. I decided that about 10 yards would fill in the areas that I designated for the "garden". A bit later and much shoveling... make it about 15 yards and more shoveling... good workout though. Now time to decide what to plant....

I will admit that I have planted the veggies already, but I am also using this as a journal for the progress. I am a bit late in starting, but being unemployed gives you some more free time than you were originally used to... so, next time will be the decisions on what I decided to grow in my newly framed and smelly dirt box.