Friday, May 11, 2012

Ready! Set! GROW!!

BOY HOWDY! This post has been a long time coming! I've been taking pictures since October when we started the double-dig endeavor. Every time I get ready to post, something has changed and new pictures need to be taken. Quite the cycle to be stuck in, but that's life, right? Seems like if we spend too much time looking back at what was yesterday, we'll miss what's growing on under our own two feet.

So, let's get down to business! In October, we began the process of making a third garden bed. Wanted to do this one double-dig style instead of a raised box. So, we killed the grass using an organic gardening trick -- put down newspaper, covered it with cardboard, and put a bunch of heavy stuff on top. The grass rotted away during the winter and this is what we ended up with in February.

Once the grass was dead and starting to decompose, we began the double dig!

I started with a hoe and just whacked at the top layer of grass for weeks.  Nothing like having your very own hole to dig (after all, "a hole is to dig"). Lots of stress was worked out during this whole process, that's for sure!

After I got all of the grass peeled off the top, Jason came in for the BIG DIG. (Note: he wanted to help get the grass up but I became a bit protective of my stress outlet/hole and wouldn't let him help with that part. I NEEDED THAT HOLE!)

We borrowed some heavy-duty tools from Larry the Landlord and tore shit up! I'd use the pick-ax and break the dirt up and Jason would come behind me with the other diggy thingy (sorry, I don't know what that tool in the picture above is called).

We worked in quadrants and knocked it out in a few hours. Nice hole, eh?

So, the main idea behind a double dig is that, first, you dig a hole (done!), then you add compost to the bottom of the hole (below) then you finish filling it with the dirt from the hole.

I have to admit it felt a bit counterproductive to fill the hole that we spent months digging. But that's life too, right? Digging one hole while filling another...

Then we put the dirt from the bottom of the hole on top of the compost and mixed them up. It was looking pretty shitty at this point. Double digging is not for those who require instant gratification.

All the clumps and rocks were raked out and more compost added to the top.

Phew, almost there!

Next step, we received our yearly special dirt delivery from the nicest landlord on earth. This dirt is super bionic, ya'll! Now we can get started on the raised bed too!

Covered both beds with the bionic dirt and raked out all the clumps again. (Lots of raking and breaking up dirt globs by hand to integrate the dug dirt and the bionic dirt.)

Now those are some beautiful beds! Let's start planting! After all, "the ground is to make a garden."

Next on the list -- make rows and plant seeds! We put mostly root veggies in the DD bed - carrots, beets, radishes (mom, get ready for the ultimate bellyache!), bunching onions, yellow and red onions. We also put three cucumber mounds -- we're going for the big guys this year!

In the raised bed, we've started with greens -- fancy lettuce, kale, mesclun, and romaine. 

Four days later and the mesclun is already making an appearance!

We also have somewhat of a "squatter" situation in the main raised bed. It's some broccoli that I planted in October! These little buggers have made it through the whole winter and are really thriving (that's a whole post of its own).

Jason and I decided anything that wants to live that badly should get the chance. So we are planting the garden around them! Greens to one side and watermelon on the other. We have the remainder of the raised bed set for tomato starts, green beans and peas. We just need to get to the farmers market for those guys.

We're almost finished!

Speaking of the  Beaverton Farmers Market, I want to mention our friend Cathy from Curious Farm. She taught us how to make sauerkraut (which turned out DELICIOUS) and she also wrote this intriguing blog post about her personal experience with Maurice Sendak. Check it out.

It's funny how you just don't know about people. I would have never guessed this fervent fermenter had worked with him in NYC when Where the Wild Things Are was happening. I can't wait to see her tomorrow at opening day of the farmers market. So many questions!

And goodbye Mr. Sendak. You left us and we love you more.

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