Sunday, March 4, 2012

My First Tentative Step

After months of research, I took my first cautious step into the garden a couple of weeks ago.  I decided to start my new veggie garden bed.  After much consideration, I picked a location on the south side of my house. It seems to get the longest sun exposure throughout the day, although the sun only hits a narrow sliver because of the shade caused by the neighbor's house.

The site of my new (very narrow) veggie garden.  Note the offending shadow from my neighbor's house.
I decided to use a method called "lasagna" gardening, where you cover the area with a layer of wet newspaper and build layers of compost material and soil to form a raised bed.  First, I measured out the space (6 ft by 3 ft) and marked it by sprinkling some flour around it.  Then, I dug a trench around the edges, layered the whole thing with newspapers, soaked it with the garden hose and covered the planting area with old leaves (which I had never bothered to rake up from my back yard the previous fall).  Yes, I'm a terrible neighbor, but keep in mind I had just moved into the new house and I was completely ignorant about suburban etiquette, like it's considered rude not to rake your yard.  All of my neighbors were very nice and said nothing about my offense, probably because I'm new to the neighborhood and home ownership.

The veggie bed in progress

Then I continued to layer and water, layer and water.  Finally I topped it off with some soil and black plastic garbage bags, weighed down by the numerous rocks and stones I had just dug out of the very dense, clay soil surrounding my new veggie bed.  By the way, this discovery convinced me that I made the right decision to create a raised bed, rather than trying to double dig the soil in my yard. Oy!

The new veggie bed, after several layers, but before covering with black garbage bags.
As the compost materials decompose, the bed will lose some height, so I plan to add some bags of soil today (purchased from Home Depot yesterday).  I also bought a bag of fertilizer, but haven't completely decided whether to add it to the veggie bed yet.  There seems to be some difference of opinion about whether to add fertilizer or not.  I also haven't decided whether to add some edging to the bed, such as bricks or cinder blocks.  I will put the question out into the universe and see what comes back.

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