Friday, April 24, 2009

The Map of Our Garden

Here's the "plans" for our garden. I'm pretty sure they're indecipherable to anyone but us. What's fantastic about this document (to me, anyway) is how functional it was. We played with a few different shapes for the garden and ultimately settled on this E-shape.

We put the veggie plants where it seemed logical. We did some research in the incredibly helpful book "The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food". The info is laid out simply and is easy for either quick reference or a deeper read. It says what food are good or bad to grow together.

We have beans and peas along the back wall. In front of the beans, tomatoes (those are the red blobs). Running the length of the garden, in front of the tomatoes will be our watermelon. One section of the "E" is dedicated to squash. The middle section is strawberries, radishes, and carrots. Lastly, peppers and eggplant.
I'm excited to for mid-July when we'll be able to see how our map compares to the real deal!

Compost: The Beginning


We're joining the movement!

For the last two years, everyone we know has bragged and sometimes griped about their compost. We've watched as friends worked their way through two or three different compost bins, talked about the joys of "tea", and swore up one side and down the other that "compost doesn't smell". (BTW, we still don't believe that).

Lots of internet research, field research amongst our friends, and questions about the smelliness of compost piles and here's what we've decided:

As wanna-be DIY'ers, we're going to go the fencing and chicken wire route! We're drawing up the very simple plans now for a two-compartment compost heap in the the ridiculously overgrown patch of weeds and God-knows-what-else behind the garage that we have to clear out this weekend.

All I can say about the idea of us & composting...this ought to be good! We may have to post videos!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lizard's Claw Fungus!!

The recent heatwave - two days of nearly 100 degrees - gave rise to a weird fungus!!! It sprouted up like a healthy plant. Monica got in there, dug it up and it turns out it's a stinky fungus from New Zealand called Lizard's Claw!! What in the world?!?!

We're guessing it came from the "organic compost" I bought. That does it! Only our own compost from now on! I hope this doesn't infest our whole garden!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Garden's Design

We created a 14 x 7 foot raised bed garden in a mostly sunny spot at the back of our yard. We created the raised bed out of cinder blocks that we bought at Home Depot. I price shopped and, with lots of encouragement from Monica, even tried to go the free Craig's List route but ultimately spending around $36 at the Home Depot ended up being the easiest and most econmical route. We decided to use cinder blocks instead of wood because we wanted the flexibility to be able to change the shape and, frankly, it was considerably cheaper.

I turned the soil with a big ole pick axe and then filled the bed with three GIANT bags of organic compost from Anawalt ($9.99 per bag). I dig mix the compost into the top soil and now I can see that I need to dump maybe another two bags over the top.

We were going to get some of the free compost from Griffith Park but we did a little digging and discovered that it's not organic. We really want to have an organic garden and so we decided to forgo the free stuff. If you're in Los Angeles and not as particular about this as we are then you should get your compost from Griffith Park! Be sure to bring a container and your own shovel.

We mapped out our garden using just our instincts. Then we consulted this handing organic growing guide and discovered that we actually matched plants well. Little did we know that certain plants don't work well together. We chose our veggies based on our likes and curiosity.

I bought some string bean and sugar snap peas from the Farmer's Market and Monica went nuts at the Fullerton Arboretum Monster Tomato & Pepper Sale and bought pepper plants, squash, eggplant, and some tomato plants. (NOTE: she is still trying to track down the Hungarian Hearts we fell in love with last summer...can anyone help?)

For the heck of it, we planted some red leaf romaine, which seems to be surviving and actually growing! Heck, we may even get a salad out it.

Still to do: gotta get that herb garden going; more strawberries; some carrot seedlings; and cucumbers!