Our Garden, 2011

Spring is almost upon us, so we started planting our vegetable garden last weekend.  The boys and I had a lot of fun with the garden last year, and we are looking forward to an even more productive season this year given the benefit of a year’s experience.

I started by splitting our large planter box into two ‘single row boxes.  Last year, I built a 6′ x 8’ planter box from cedar 2 x 6’s, and it was really difficult to reach anything in the middle of the box once things started to grow.  So I cut last year’s box in half and added 2 new walls to make two new smaller boxes.

After the carpentry was completed, the next step was soil prep.  This was easy last year.  I mixed some top soil, potting soil, and Black Kow compost and poured it into the box.  Coincidentally, Black Cow is a great Steely Dan song from the under-appreciated Aja album.

This year proved to be considerably more challenging, as I opted to reuse last year’s soil with the addition of some new components.  I found myself wishing for a ‘Roto-Tiller’ as I tore at the packed earth with a sort of twisted mini-pitchfork from Ace Hardware.  Once it was sufficiently broken up, I mixed in the compost we have been producing for A YEAR, along with a little fresh potting soil, a dusting of bone meal, and about a pound of leftover fertilizer from last year’s garden.  I was very proud of our compost.  We ended up with about 6 bags worth, and I’m excited to see how the garden turns out with our compost as a constituent part.








We (Alex was very helpful with this project) then added a permeable weed barrier and stapled it into place.


We cut holes in the barrier and placed our plants.  We planted a row of tomatoes- yellow, cherry, and large red, and a row of zucchini and squash.  We placed herbs at the corners of the boxes, including sage (resurrected from last year), basil, rosemary, and oregano.  I plan to add tarragon and possibly cilantro when I can find them.

I went full-size with this picture for future comparisons- I’ll try to post new pics regularly to illustrate progress.  Note the plant tags stapled to the planter boxes- my idea!  Carryover herbs from last year went in containers- thyme and parsley which are thriving, and mint which is alive, but barely.

One note about the planter boxes:  I’m not sure why I chose cedar, but I was surprised at the extent to which it had decomposed and rotted in one year.  Once these boxes break down, I plan to rebuild them with Trex, or some other recycled plastic decking material, rather than pressure-treated lumber.

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