We have four raised beds of different shapes, sizes and with varying degrees of sun and shade. They were basically built according to the space and scrap materials available. The first garden used to be called the “fertility garden” because it backs up to the passive compost (pictured above) but now it’s just the Main Garden. Second came a long, narrow bed we call The Trough and then the Upper Garden, which I’ll let you figure out on your own. Oh, then we built the Lower Garden. Another brain teaser, I know.
Now that the spring veggies are toast I’ve decided to plant buckwheat and sugar snap peas as cover crops in the main garden and the trough. I also put down a layer of compost and about 2″ of ficus mulch from the yard. A helpful skunk has been coming by hunting for grubs and tilling the soil. I can only hope he’s left some seeds behind and that we’ll have sprouts soon.
The upper garden has become a mish-mosh of lettuces, herbs, onions, beets and swiss chard but everything seems happy so I’m leaving it be. The lower garden has been resting all season and should be ready to plant come spring.
The new guy on the scene is the pallet box. I lined it in scrap screen and landscape fabric and planned to grow potatoes in it. Sadly I found out too late that my seed potatoes won’t ship until January, which totally blows my winter potato farm plans and leaves me with a box of dirt. I’m a little bummed, but now I have a place for more beets and some kale. It’s 2′ deep so for filler I laid down about 6″ of cardboard and covered that with dead grass and leaves. On top of that is a layer of compost, then sandy soil from the yard. Next I’ll mix in some super deluxe compost and get the seeds in. When my seed taters come in I’ll replenish the soil and try again.
The nicest surprise I’ve had this week was this beautiful swallowtail butterfly. I was trying to take a photo of my cilantro/coriander blossoms and he came swooping in. He stayed for a while and even crashed into my chest at one point. Dude’s got some weight to him! Or maybe he’s a she because I noticed her laying eggs on my parsley. I’m so glad I didn’t respond instinctively and smash her as I tend to do with things that land on me.
I sometimes wonder if the best part of growing a garden is eating the veggies or attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. Luckily I don’t have to choose – I’ll just enjoy them all!