My Garden is Growing!

You can see the tiny green sprout if you squint really hard and look closely.

You can see the tiny green sprout if you squint really hard and look closely.

Little seedlings are starting to sprout in the garden bed! It’s been a little over a week since planting and they’re very small right now but I can tell that they’re seedlings and not just the beginning of weeds. It looks like I’ll have some vegetables this summer! You gotta take the victories when they come, right? Even if they’re small.

While I have my first small success to enjoy, I also have a potentially big problem.  Tending to my garden recently, I noticed that something had ruined my nice distinct hills. Some unnamed animal had dug up a couple of the rows and then decided the garden would make a nice toilet.  This is an issue for multiple reasons the least not being, the animal messed up my pretty rows!

Garden dug up by undetermined animal

Garden dug up by undetermined animal

Now I have to play detective and figure out what kind of animal this is so I can properly deal with it. Which is great because I love the ID channel and I love playing detective. Like the time when I noticed my neighbor was out of town for an extended period of time but there was a strange car at his house and a couple of strangers going in and out. I became convinced that the two people had killed my neighbor, hid the body and were squatting in his house. Well, a few days later, my neighbor reappeared safe and sound. It seemed he was just out of town and the two strangers were house sitting. I guess being obsessed with the ID channel is not a good thing. Hopefully I won’t be wrong in this case of playing detective.

I’ll put my detective hat on and report back.

Step 2: Adding Soil to the Garden Box

Step 2 for starting the garden is pretty simple. Once you’ve built your frame, you need to add some dirt for planting. Rocket science, right?

Well, you can’t use just any old dirt, it has to be nutrient rich. In North Carolina, a lot of the soil tends to be clay-like. (Fun fact- this makes building true basements very difficult in NC homes.) So off to the local home improvement store to find dirt good enough for the garden box.

Once I got to the store, my first step was staring at the different types of soil, mulch, compost, etc. So many to choose from! I was staring at the bags of soil for so long that SJ came and asked me if I knew what I was doing. I replied confidently, “Of course!” As soon as he was out of sight, I pulled out my phone to do some research and figure out how many bags I’d need. I looked this stuff up several months back in my new project excitement, but forgot most of it in the meantime.

I settled on Miracle-Gro Flower and Vegetable Gardening Soil and Nature’s Helpers Premium Mushroom Compost. The instructions said to mix 50/50 so I got 12 and 13 bags respectively. Hauling all those bags took two trips so we had to dump the bags in the yard between trips before going back to the store. More accurately, I dumped the bags. SJ was smart enough to at least leave the ones he took out of the car and put them inside the fence. He had another errand to run so it was just me and the 25 bags of soil.

Between me, a wheelbarrow and a whole lot of lifting and cursing, I managed to get the all of the dirt in the garden boxes. I was happy that I got all of the dirt poured on my own, but my back was nowhere near as cheerful.

Take a look below at the filled garden box.

cropped-Filled-Garden-Box1.jpg

Garden box filled with soil and my blood, sweat and tears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, choosing and planting seeds!

Step 1: Building Raised Garden Beds

Garden area before

I decided to use raised garden beds instead of digging in the ground because it seemed easier and honestly, I’m a bit lazy. It also helped that there was a 4X4′  raised garden bed in the backyard from the previous homeowner. I didn’t want to go too big or too small for the size, so like Goldilocks I chose a size in the middle and settled on a 4X8′.

Next I did some research on local home improvement store websites to see what products were out there that I could use. I didn’t want to go too high-end in case (the very real possibility) things don’t work out. I settled on the
Frame It All variety. It seemed easy enough to put together and that it would hold up.

Using Power Tools to Build the Garden Box

Using Power Tools to Build the Garden Box

Once I got home and opened the box in the backyard to start the assembly process, I realized there were a few broken pieces. One to never let an incomplete set stop me, I plunged ahead with the help of my husband.
Thanks SJ!

As I thought, the raised bed was pretty easy to put together. It just took drilling a few holes, inserting some screws and snapping the pieces into place. I even got to use some power tools (and looked good doing it!)

After an hour or so, including preliminary work like leveling the ground, we had a raised bed. We also put down a screen to prevent weeds from growing.

Adding dirt was a step for another day. It was enough effort to get the thing built.

Partially Built Garden Box

Partially Built Garden Box

Finished Garden Box Close Up

Finished Garden Box