06 February 2012

fresh veggies? yes, please.

We have a motto here about our yard:

Don't waste your time growing things that aren't edible or useful.

Take out your frustrations and give that bag a good stabbing.
In that vein, all the beautiful but pointless ornamentals planted by the previous owners have died. Well, not quite all of them. The ornamentals that were strong enough to make it through the Houston summers and random freezes without any help from me have lived. I'm rather proud of those tough little suckers.

The now rather empty flower bed surrounding our back patio is starting to fill up with kitchen and medicinal herbs. Parsley, Oregano, Chives, Horehound and Rosemary, to name a few. But herbs haven't been enough.

I've been wanting a vegetable garden for quite some time now, but it didn't ever make it to the top of the priority pile. See, vegetable gardening is a very labor-intensive task. I'd first have to section out part of my yard. But we have a sprinkler system and I'd have to make sure I wasn't getting in any pipe's way. Then I'd have to rototill, and since our soil is crappy clay crap, I'd for sure have to add all sorts of stuff to it to make it growable. But I wouldn't want to since it's so much work, so raised beds with new, good soil would be the next best option. But that's a lot of work because I'd have to...Are you getting the picture?

Oooh! Such a sinister gardening moment!
Well. God bless Mother Earth News magazine. I love checking out their back issues from the library and in the April/May 2010 issue I found the answer to my problem: a no-dig garden! You simply buy bags of gardening soil, cut them open and plant directly into them. Brilliant! No roto-tilling, partitioning of yards or amending soil. Plus, I could start as small as I needed to.

First, you jab a bunch of holes in one side. They suggest a screwdriver, I used the handle of a spoon that one of the kids had left out from their grub digging. Either way, this puppy needs some drainage holes. I also suggest massaging the bag to distribute the soil evenly. Mine was rather compacted to one side. Plus, who knows, maybe that soil is all stressed out from being handled so violently.

Yep, collards.
Now that your bag of soil is all relaxed, flip it over, making sure that the soil is distributed nice and evenly. Get yourself a nice sharp knife and cut the plastic off  the now-top of the bag, leaving a good two inches on each side. You don't want all that nice soil falling out now, do you?

That's it. Your garden is ready. Just plant whatever seeds you want and ta da!

Another nice thing is that I was able to label the bag. And with my radishes, since I'm going to plant new ones every week, I was able to mark where I had already planted a row of seeds. It was awesome!

The last photo is my finished vegetable garden. In SE Texas it's time to plant collards, radishes, beets, lettuce, green onions and leeks. That's what you're looking at. Each  month I'll add something else to the garden. As soon as my seeds come in the mail from Fedco Seeds (highly recommend ordering from them), I'll be planting cabbage and some other stuff which I can't remember right now. So I'll go pick up another bag of soil and do it again! I'm so excited!!!

There is a bit of rain on my parade though. I have to be very careful where to put this dream realization. My HOA, I'm sure, is against having bright yellow plastic bags sitting on my lawn. I think I placed them where they are not visible from the road...hopefully. We'll see.

I'll let you know how this works out. I won't promise you a play-by-play, but I can let you know if this li'l experiment ends up working...or not. 

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