I love me a good challenge of the mind. It takes me until I put seeds in the ground until I have a final garden plan and even then I have been known to rip those poor little plants out and move them if I change my mind. I am also no stranger to unrealized dreams and my Back to Eden garden is one of them this year... again. It just wasn't going to work out. So, instead of whining and giving up I was determined to make a garden happen despite having no garden. But, what makes it a garden? Is it the dirt? Plants? Little rows and sickly manicured edges? I think the world is a garden so shall we not be so narrow minded on the guidelines?
I am a fan of raised beds. I just like them. In my last post I had said I was going to use Bagsters to make instant raised beds and while that was a great idea it meant $60 was going just to a container. I wanted to spend that money of some awesome compost instead (more on that in a sec). So, I had remembered reading about raised beds and how some of the most simple ones were just dirt piled up into a garden bed. As in no box. Just dirt. Sounds messy doesn't it? How does the dirt not wash off with rain and watering? That is what I thought to myself when I first conceived the idea. Now I have made one of these beds and while it is neither perfect nor ideal, it will do.
It's uneven and it bugs me, but I am letting that go. It is 2 feet shorter than I intended, but I am letting that go too. It will grow food and that is the point! This is for one year I have the rest of my life to have perfect little boxes and my Back to Eden garden (which I may reconsider... what to do!). For now I have a free form raised bed planted with popcorn, cucumbers, onions, kale, chard, and lettuce.
Over here we have a potato bed made of mulch hay bales! Aren't I cleaver?
And, once again my tomatoes are in pots. Peppers too. Such is life.
I will elaborate a bit on my soil. I have a horse and chickens and every year we pile up what is left from the winter and it sits and turns to compost which is turned at the end of the summer as we clean up the paddock. By the next spring it looks like dark rich dirt. We have sand in the paddock to help with dust, mud and it gives the horse a nice rolling area so quite a bit of sand gets worked into the piles as well. Therefore my compost is sand infused which is a stellar combination of light and rich, water retaining and free draining. While I believe that this soil has plenty of nutrition to see my plants through, there is no harm in adding a bit more right? So, after eyeing the bags and wondering for the last year or more I am giving Coast of Maine organic composts a try! I am using the Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost as a top dressing for the large bed and the soon to be smaller 12' bed which will have beans and squash/pumpkins. I'm using the Penobscot Blend Compost and Peat as a top dressing for the potato bed and I put a good 2-3 inches in the top of the tomato and pepper pots. I have read a lot of good things and I seriously doubt that it will be a waste. I will be excited to see if it makes a difference. If I had a very large garden and needed to amend them every year with these products it would become expensive. But, if they are able to be added every few years with good success than I would see it a worth while investment in addition to my own manure compost. Diversity in soil is the key! To learn more about the composts just hit up Coast of Maine's website.
I'm not meaning to sound like a commercial, but I love to support Maine products! Most of our state is sustained by small businesses and how can I not get behind one like this? It's recycling, organics and it nurtures one of my very favorite things... gardens!
I'll be trying to keep this updated during the growing season! I love reading everyone else's garden blogs so I will try to contribute regularly too.
Til next time!