Last year’s garden was not a success. We just had a super cold summer, so nothing ever really took off. Even though we’ve had a very cold spring so far this year, I still have high hopes for the 2011 garden!! To help make those high hopes a reality, we've recently invested some time and money into getting everything ready. Step 1 was pretty easy: start seeds. I've always had better luck with plants (tomatoes, in particular) that I start myself versus buying starters. So at the end of February, we set up our grow lights in the guest bedroom and I got my seed on. 50 little starts of tomatoes, tomatillos, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
Step 2 was a little more difficult: prep the garden for planting. Over the last year or so the garden had gotten completely out of control in the weeds and grass department, so we decided it would be worth it to hire someone to come in and whip it back into shape. We could have saved quite a bit of money and done it ourselves, but in this instance we chose to take the more expensive route so that we could have more time to play with WyBear.
I searched around the Coalition of Organic Landscape Professionals, sent off a bunch of emails to various organic landscapers, and found that hardly any of them service the part of town that we live in! I guess our organic hippy dippy ways are better suited to North Seattle than the Eastside. :) But I did finally find one guy, Michael Hunter of Natural Gardens who was willing to come out to our house. It took several weeks of trying to coordinate schedules with availability of product, but it’s finally done and I absolutely LOVE the results!!
Through discussing what we’d previously done to the garden, we realized that by putting down the mulch that we did in the pathways we actually encouraged re-growth instead of discouraged it! Amateur mistake!! But that certainly explains why the pathways didn’t even look like we’d used a sod cutter on them. So Michael and his crew excavated out the pathways, weeded the beds, dug in some organic compost, cut down the sad little weeping cherry tree in the back corner and then brought in about 4-6 inches of cedar bark chips for the pathways. They also pruned our fruit trees in the back yard, so those are looking much better now (although there are still some questions on if our little plum trees will survive much longer given their traumatic recent history). Once they were done with the prep work, I went out (with a little help from my inlaws) and got in the planting groove. Now our garden is ready to rock and roll!
Karl and Rocky built that cool little oblong planter for blueberries and strawberries using some landscaping stones that we repurposed from the front yard (and I had Jack Johnson's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle song playing in my head the whole time they were building it).
We’re going to use the back corner where the weeping cherry used to be for a compost bin area (sorry Henry, but we're going to block you off from your favorite ca-razy barking spot).
I've got 16 tomatoes, 5 tomatillos, 5 broccoli, 5 cauliflower, 5 cabbage and bunches of peas, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets and lettuce planted (not to mention strawberries and blueberries). Still to go in the ground are more tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and round 2 of lettuce, potatoes, carrots and beets.
And one bonus shot of the garden, from the upper part of our yard:
Here’s hoping that Garden 2011 is a success!!