Yesterday, we worked our butt off in the backyard, moving giant rocks and plants and otherwise getting one side ready to accept all the sod we’re going to have to move when we put the vegetable beds in. it was hard work and we’re both sore today, but the feeling of seeing progress is amazing!
One of the things I really enjoy about doing this sort of hard, physical work (which I don’t do nearly as often as I should) is that it gives you the chance to daydream, think deeply or just zone out. Yesterday, I used a bunch of that time to make some decisions about our garden. I’m like George W. Bush; I’m the DECIDER.
Here’s what’s what, so far:
- I’ll be using raised beds. Although more work to set-up, and more expensive to get additional soil to fill, they warm up much sooner in the season, meaning you can plant earlier and reap the benefits much sooner. Since one of our goals with this project is to be completely self-sustaining veggie-wise over the summer, we felt it was important to get an early start. [More info on raised beds]
- Instead of rows, I’ll do block planting, where different veggies are assigned to specific square foot blocks. Reading up on “square foot gardening” gave me the inspiration to try this. The challenge will be to put the right number of seeds in each block so they don’t crowd each other out.
- I’ll be filling my raised beds with a mix of my own soil and City of Vancouver compost. We’ve been cleaning up our yard through the fall and packing that “Yard Trimmings” bin the city picks up; I’ll be getting a large delivery of it back as compost. If I waited until May, I could go pick up some free compost but I need almost 6 cubic meters for my beds long before then. Fortunately, it’s only $10/cubic meter if you pick it up yourself. It might not be the perfect compost, but I need a significant amount pretty quickly.
I’ve also made a number of smaller decisions, like how I’m going to handle the aggressive cedar roots and bamboo rhizomes that want to invade my garden from all directions. (The short-term solution is cardboard. I’ll explain later.)
By the way… don’t get me started on my neighbours damned bamboo… it might look nice, but it’ll burrow long distances under the ground and those shoots can get almost two inches wide. I can’t tell you how ticked off it makes me to have to dig out yet another one of those. If you see me failing in the backyard with an axe you’ll know I’ve finally flipped.
Anyway, it feels good to have some decisions made. The next step is to start picking seeds and keeping working on transforming the garden. Wish us luck!