Monday, May 26, 2008

Grow your own...

Vegetables, of course. What did you think I meant?

We went a little crazy this year at the Seattle Tilth Plant Sale and brought home what we thought were about 60 plant starts, but discovered yesterday that several start containers actually held 4 starts. More spinach for us! Our usual combination of store-bought planters and recycled kitty litter buckets was no match for all the plants we had, so we built a raised vegetable bed in the backyard. It took a few days, but it's all planted now and I can't wait to eat fresh salads and veggies all summer long. I just hope the squirrels and rabbits don't get them first!

This picture skips ahead a few steps in the process. Before we started, Larry sketched out the design and then we went to Home Depot for the wood. They'll cut it for you there so you can make the bed any size you like. We chose 5 x 5 - in hindsight we could have gone larger but that would have required even more soil, and this is a good manageable size.

We needed at least 25 cubic feet of soil and wound up with 27: 18 feet of organic top soil, 6 feet of organic compost, and 3 feet of organic steer-gro manure. We layered it in - 3 bags of soil, one bag of compost, one bag of manure. (Yes, the flies did hang around for a while.)

After we put in each set of layers, we raked it to mix. We also put in some fish bone fertilizer after the first round, just to make the soil extra rich.

Once the soil is in and mixed, you're ready to plant! We started with lettuces, since we have a ton. Here you can see we've planted arugula, buttercrunch, merlot, romaine, radicchio, and summer spinach.

Here's the finished bed. On the other half we planted bok choy, napa cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts.

Here's the rest of the garden - like those classy kitty litter buckets? Hey, this is Seattle and we like to recycle. Just drill yourself 7 or so holes in the bottom, rinse it thoroughly and you have a great container for tomatoes, peppers or chard (which is what you see below). There are also some kale, onions and endive that we started from seed in the winter - they're just now starting to thrive.

And the back porch. In the back, broccoli and brussels sprouts started from seed - they take forever to mature, it seems. Then we have sorrel (the tall leafy one), kale, and more peppers, and strawberries on the left.

With all those flowers blooming, maybe we'll actually get to eat some strawberries this summer!

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