Sunday, January 18, 2009

Garden Journal: 17 Jan 2009

Today I got the second raised set into the ground, ready for soil.

The two beds are 12' x 4' by 24" and 7' x 4' x 20" (determined by the dimensions of the lumber we had on hand, all leftovers from the house construction).
Front yard jan 18, 2009
Front Yard 17 Jan 2008
Our plan is to put the potato tower at the end of the 7' bed, where there is just the right amount of room for a 3'-4' diameter circle.

We went to the Natural Gardner garden center and ordered soil, to be delivered on Monday. We bought a variety of cool-weather seeds (spinach, carrots, lettuce) as well as seeds to start: tomatoes, beans, etc.

For soil I ordered 4 cubic yards of the "Hill Country Garden Soil", which is a basic garden soil, and 1 yard of turkey compost, which will be mixed in the truck. That should be enough soil to fill both beds to a depth of 16" and leave enough left over for the potatoes, Dada's flower bed, and whatever else we might do this spring.

We thought about asparagus, which grows well in the Austin area, but decided it would take up too much space--it supposedly grows 5 to 8 feet tall. The up side of asparagus is that once you plant it you're pretty much done, except for the harvesting, for some number of years.

The cost of the soil was $308.00 delivered. This is Julie and Eliot's Christmas present to each other and will hopefully be the only outlay of any significant size we'll need to make for this garden.

We also went to Callahan's, the local feed store where we get chicken supplies and whatnot, and got some more seeds (corn, squash, gourds) and new bedding for the chickens (so I can harvest their current bedding for the compost bin).

Our plan is to use the 7' bed as a cold frame for seed starting, planting spinach and lettuce in the 12' bed. Our primary concern at the moment is birds: we'll have to protect the seeds and seedlings from marauding gangs of grackles.

After we got home from our errands, we went out to the creek behind our house to collect bamboo to use in the potato tower. Shown is Dada exploring the creek. The bamboo in the creek grows to about 20 feet tall and 2" diameter at the base, making it ideal for splitting into the strips we want, as well as for making poles for beans, trellising tomatoes and so forth. We got about 10 good stalks.

Having no experience splitting bamboo, I gave it a try and discovered that it's actually quite easy to get nice long strips just by drawing a blade up the length from the base to the tip.



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