I really don't profess to be a master gardener or anything remotely close to that.. I'm just someone who had an idea, took a 6 week class at the Campbell Recreation Center, had some boxes built and has learned from reading, listening and trial and error. I now have two summer gardens and two winter gardens under my belt.
SUMMER AND WINTER LOOKS
I decided that this summer it would be fun to document each step and see for myself how it all goes ... and grows, while sharing it with anyone who is interested.
I've had a few people ask me to come over to their house and help them so it's possible that this may spark some curiosity. If nothing else, my friend, Vicki told me I could publish this into a book at the end of the season and save it for my kids... as if....
You'll need a few things to get started. The first, is what I will refer to as the Bible. Its Golden Gate Gardening, by Pam Peirce. Its perfect for gardening in this climate and Pam makes it all sound so simple!
Once you buy that for just under $20.00, think about these things that you'll need:
1) Space that gets good sun
2) Soil thats amended
3) Adequate access to water
Here is the space that I started with:
I walked out different sized beds and marked them with string by taking four wooden stakes from Ace Hardware and then attaching string to resemble the sides. It was important to be able to walk around and in between all the beds. I also knew I wanted a path wide enough for a wheel barrel to manuevre though all the beds. I ended up with 3 4x10 and one slightly shorter to accommodate an apricot tree (which never blooms by the way).
After awhile, it looked like this:
As you see the boxes are filled with soil. I used regular organic soil that my gardner brought in, but depending on how much you need, you can get it at any nursery or larger supply store. If you're not using raised bed, that is great too! Afterall, you probably paid a lot for that soil, already! I would still recommend amending soil that you already have and plotting out a space with actual dimensions. To amend the soil (make it delicious for the plants), I use chicken manure and some compost. My friend, Elaine is my gardening guru. Between her and "the bible" (did you buy the book yet?), I've learned a ton. We will get into composting later. But for now, just use chicken manure and buy some bags of compost like you see here. Save the compost to lay around the plants after you've set them in the ground. Blend the soil and chicken manure about six inches to one foot down. The soil should be loose and crumbly.
This is my son, Jeffrey. Don't get too excited. This is rare, he owed me money and I translated that into garden labor. He was my mixer for an hour.
So there you have it. Four beds that will sit for a week or so. Its best to let the chicken manure rest for a bit before planting so it doesn't burn the fragile roots. Ahhh, now I can sit and rest and think about the veggies that I want to plant.
We'll get into water and plants, and wine barrels planting and tools and...
I need to get packing to take my son to Boulder for an "admitted student" weekend! Perhaps even a little more exciting than my soil and possibly will result in some material for more dirty stories later...