Anita – Week 2

While deciding on how to create the perimeter around my garden, I’ve been doing some preparation work in the garden area.  I have determined a good location to place my vegetable garden. On the side of my house there is a perfect location to place a garden. It is facing west (maybe more southwest) so it receives a good amount of sun. I’ve verified several times that the area has good exposure to sun.

I’ve also worked hard to keep the seeds and seedlings watered daily. Unfortunately one of my tomato plants died. I placed two tomato plant seedlings in the same pot. I’m not sure why one didn’t survive. I’ll have to ask one of the experts.

Because I am working on my short timeline, I chose to take a shortcut to prepare the land. I decided to RoundUp to kill the grass and weeds in the area. There are other, “greener”methods to kill weeds and grass.  One method I am aware of involves covering the area with newspaper or plastic. This method takes longer (weeks vs days). Please search the internet or go to your local nursery for more information on greener methods and share the methods in the comments or on a discussion thread.

I went to a local landscaping supply company (Whittlesey in Round Rock) to purchase soil for my garden. This place sells soil (and other products) in bulk and already bagged. The company creates a special blend of soil products that are appropriate for the soil and climate in Central Texas. There are quite a few nurseries and other places in Austin and the surrounding area to purchase bulk soil and compost. Local nurseries are another great source to purchase special blends of soil for your garden. And the employees have a wealth of knowledge! Make sure you calculate the amount of soil, compost, and fertilizer you will need.  I’m not sure what the return policies are at the smaller, local stores. The volume for my small area is about 8 cubic feet (4 x 4 x 0.5). I purchased 4 bags. Each bag is 1 cubic feet. I have some soil and compost at home to mix with these from other small yard projects.

I’ve decided to use a raised garden kit made from wood instead of concrete blocks for the perimeter of my garden. I could have gone to some place like Austin ReStore to purchase unused wood but I’m not confident in my handyman skills.  Luckily, I came across a 4×4 kit for the price of $35. SCORE!!!! My boyfriend put the kit together pretty quickly. So, I have the garden kit, the soil, and the plants. I believe I have everything I need to begin my garden.

Here is a picture of my garden area in the beginning stages. The green plastic is a barrier to prevent weed from entering my garden. One advantage to not planting in the ground is the purchased soil won’t be contaminated with weeds and you don’t have to work as hard to get the soil to a workable condition. Unfortunately the soil in my area is very hard and clayish. The soils is difficult to work with. I would have had to mix additional soil, compost, etc into the ground anyway. I did scrape off the grass in the area. Instead of using a hoe, I used a shovel. Notice the exposure to the noon sun.

Raised Garden Kit

Garden Area

And here is a picture of the finished area.

Finished Garden Area

At the Garden Fair, one of the gardeners said I should plant Marigolds to deter cats. I should have asked if they deter rabbits. Ever summer I see rabbits in the back yard. Hmmm, I should probably put up some sort of fencing. As soon as I finished planting, I thoroughly watered the area. I used a sprinkler hose (a hose with holes in the holes). The water stays lower to the ground. However, I felt like I still wasted water, so I am going to purchase some soaker hoses. The biodegradable pots made planting easy. I place the pots in the dirt, easy peasy :) .

Notice the tomato plants are missing. I’ve decided to leave the tomato plants in the pots. They seem to be growing well (except for the one seedling that did. RIP).

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adventures in urban gardening