Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A green thumb… well hopefully anyways

Since we moved into our house, I have desperately wanted a garden.  I had my oldest son the first year we were in the house and I just never got around too it.  As a new mom, I had one thing on my mind and that wasn’t a garden. The second year in our house, I was pregnant and just didn’t feel up to it.  I did manage to plant some flowers in my front yard so I think I should get a little credit for that.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  I had my second son the third year we were in our house BUT I made my first attempt at gardening and failed miserably.

           My township sent out an email that they had community garden plots available and I snatched one up.  I knew it would be more space then I would need but I tried it anyhow. My plot ended up being the next to last garden plot and was quite a trip. I had a lot of momentum going in the beginning but it was virtually impossible to maintain with 2 children under 3 especially since my littlest was completely dependent on me since he was nursing. It is hard to get much substantial work done with an infant attached to you almost hourly.  This was pretty much his pattern day or night… can you say hello sleep deprivation?!
I had my hopes set on a raised garden in my backyard this year.  I had a spot in mind and while not perfect, I thought it would work well.  In February, our sewer system, both inside and outside of our house, needed replace. Yup crap literally and figuratively.  The only bright side was that, the plumbers removed a number of overgrown shrubs in our backyard, which left me with a nice sunny spot for a raised garden.  After a lot of research, I finally decided what I wanted and set out to build it.  Oh and by set out to build it, I mean my husband did it.  Thanks hubby!  I loved the way this DIY raised bed looked and wanted to model mine after it. After weeks, yes weeks apparently cedar planks are not as readily available as the internet tutorials would lead you to believe, I finally had a raised garden bed!  We had to make several adjustments.  While we could have used other wood, I really wanted cedar because of the climate in southwestern PA.  Cedar stands up very well to moisture and resists rot better than other woods. We placed chicken wire at the bottom of the bed to deter animals from burrowing up through.  As for the dirt, we used a mixture of peat moss, organic compost, and vermiculite.  This mix may sound familiar to some.  It is Mel Bartholomew’s recommended mix. I’m not sure if Mel would fully approve of my garden but I think it is going to work fine. I might be eating my words but only time will tell.

Close to done
Hubs putting down markers
 Needless to say, my 3 year old is stoked about it.  He says “Mom, that is a great idea.”  He was going through my square foot garden book a couple of weeks ago and all I heard was “Oh mom, we need carrots, and strawberries, and broccoli and...”.  How can you refuse that kind of request?  I am not quite sure how well strawberries will grow but I figure we might as well try. I am really excited that he is interested in it. There are so many great reasons to include children in gardening but that will be the focus of another post.

Discussing our strategy
So to all you green thumbs out there, do you have any advice for me?  I could use all the help I could get!

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