June 20, 2011

bag gardening

As a gift from my congregation, last fall I recieved a gift card to purchase some books.  To go along with my love of gardening, the gift card was used to get some simple gardening guidebooks for our area.

This is the first year I have really planned out my gardening space.  In the past, I tried to use techniques from square foot gardening, but I think I actually placed things too close together.  I wanted to expand the space a little bit, as well as increase the number of different items I tried to plant. 

In one of my books, Starter Vegetable Gardens, there were plans for a three year expansion of a garden using bags of dirt. 

That's right. 

Simple bags of dirt.

You put them on the ground where you want them, you cut off the tops and you plant in them. 

The plastic keeps the weeds out and kills the grass underneath.  The plants grow. Your garden expands.

This is the concept that had me buying 20 bags of dirt this spring and lugging them out to my backyard.  This is the concept that had these bags lying in funky little rows for about a month until it was finally warm enough to plant.  This is the concept that got the neighbors a little curious and stumped as to what I was up to. 

So, I thought I would share some of my results so far!

This is the view from the house of the garden.  The area with lots of brown dirt is basically the previous garden plot size.

One of the ideas in this garden plan is that there is plenty of space to move between the rows... and also space to mow! Our lawn mower fits exactly between the bags... with some minor trimming required.

I also installed a basic chicken wire fence around the garden, due to all of the rabits eating my peas!  It has been pretty successful and is made out of a couple of broken stakes and some bamboo stakes.

second row, starting with far end:
cilantro/parsley, 5 different varieties of tomatoes
(large, cherry, roma), and basil on the end
first row, starting on far end:
2 bags with bush beans, lettuce,
 oregano/thyme, more lettuce
and three types of peppers

third row, starting from far side:
jonnyjump ups/rosemary, potatoes, kolhrabi,
more poatoes, alyssum/sage

fourth row, starting on far end:
coneflowers, three bags with squash, calendulas

final row, starting on far end:
scarlet runner beans, peas, snow peas, nasturtium

Of all the things growing here, I have never before planted bush beans, kohlrabi, any herbs, potatoes, or peas!  I also have never put flowers in the garden before.  Each of the varieties included are edible flowers (well, except maybe the alyssum) and it should add to the color and texture of the garden.  I am the most excited about all of the herbs!  I have already made thyme lemon bars and added fresh basil to the ham and cheese wrap I made today.

The last two picutes below are another shot of the garden and the first produce: a snow pea pod.  I washed it up and ate it fresh =) 

On the south side of our house we also have four raspberry bushes and I planted strawberries in the front flower beds.  

I'll keep you posted as the summer goes on!  


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