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Gardening, Preparation II

It is finally warm enough in Anchorage for plants to start growing!  The summers here are so short, and the winters so long.  It snowed on May 17th; I was not amused.  However, I am now confident that summer is now here and I have constructed my garden bed for my little veggie garden!

I constructed it very simply and without any real knowledge of what exactly I was supposed to do.  I don’t know anything about gardening or plants, but did what made sense to me.  So get ready for not-so-good pictures, and not-so-good garden making!

I took four old 6ft fence posts that I had in my yard and nailed them together in the shape of a square.

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Then I used newspaper to line the bottom since I heard that it helps kill the old grass so that it doesn’t pop up in the garden.  Zorro wasn’t too helpful . . .

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Once the newspaper lined the bottom I sprinkled it with some water so that it would stay in place.

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Then I piled on top some sticks and leaves which I had raked up the day before.  I figured that this would be a good to do, to provide drainage and good nutrients in the soil.

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I also had some ashes from a wood burning chiminea so I sprinkled a bit of that on top as well.  I just remember hearing once that ashes are good for soil and plants and help things grow.  But once, again, I don’t know if this was a smart idea.  Once  that was done, I cut open my bags of store bought dirt and spread it evenly on top.  (I used 8 cubic feet of soil for my 36 sq. foot garden bed.)

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Two types of carrots, radishes, snow peas, parsley, and cauliflower were the vegetables which I planted into the soil.  Between my inexperience, the weather conditions, and Zorro’s insistence on not walking around the bed it will be a miracle if anything grows.

Gardening, Preparation I

While I can’t plant anything just yet, I still find ways to fill my time with my new gardening hobby.

After avoiding it, I became a member of Pinterest and I have used that to give me more ideas about gardening.  (See when I pick up a hobby, I kinda obsessively think about it all the time.  And think of all the things I need to buy for it.)  After seeing this, this, and this post, I thought that it would be fun to try and make my own garden markers. I went for the rock garden markers since I figured buying a metal working tool just to do this would be costly.

Since rocks aren’t in playgrounds anymore, I was in the odd predicament of not knowing where to find flat rocks.  Buying rocks just seemed silly.  I’m sure there are some in my yard in the ground, but I wasn’t about to go dig some up.  The bike trail only has those little rocks that magically throw themselves into your shoe. So where to find proper rocks?  Luckily, while going to buy puppy food I saw/remembered that parking lots have those rock island things.  After kicking a small colony of discarded cigarette butts out of the way I found a pair of rocks that I thought would be good for the job and brought them home.

I’m not really crafty in the slightest so I wasn’t prepared to do any painting.  I have no paint, no brushes, no what ever else you need to paint.  But what I did have was a crap ton of nail polish.  So ridiculous as it was, I broke out my China Glaze, Revlon, Chanel, etc. polishes to paint on rocks.  I thought about using my dotting tool, but then thought that the rock might do something weird to the surface of the metal.  Instead I bent a paperclip and used that.

First Garden Markers

I’m sure they look really childish, but I’m proud of how they turned out.  I’ve never painted anything before, so I think they look quite good.  Although they may be a bit small for my garden, I think they will look nice.  Now I just need to figure out how to make the paint weather resistant.  I’m guessing a top coat isn’t the thing. :{

I need to find some more rocks to do the rest of the vegetables that a plan to have.  But after all the silly rock painting, comes the hard part of my garden adventure: making a raised bed garden.  I have to wait at least two more weeks until I can do that.  The snow is still melting here, and the soil in my yard is liquidy at the moment.

Gardening, First Steps

Unemployment, or unEMMAployment as I call it, has given me a lot of free time.  Free time apparently leads to me trying out hobbies.  Since I’ve graduated I’ve done crocheting, puppy rearing, and nail stamping.  Not very well, mind you, but I’ve never let that stop me.

My new thing/idea/time-waster is gardening.  I’ve kinda always wanted to have a vegetable garden.  My yard is definitely big enough to handle it, but I never knew how to make it happen.  Either I was away, or remembered about it too late to plant anything.  Well this year, I have nothing better to do; so I think I may dabble in the art of plant growing.

Earlier in the week, I went to the only gardening center I know of and asked a lady there a series of weird and amateur questions.  However, she was kind and helped me out.  By talking to her, I learned that managing a vegetable garden isn’t as magically difficult as I thought.  You kinda just stick seeds in the dirt mid-to-late May.

Based on the things they sell at Home Depot and Lowe’s I believed gardening to be this thing that basically only botanists or wizards knew how to do.  I mean, there are so many verbs: sowing, thinning, spacing, germination.  So many soils, fertilizers, pH measurement thingies.   And don’t even get me started on the little shovels.  Why so many little shovels?!  Gardening seemed like a serious undertaking.  Like something that would require new clothes and new friends and a new taste in music.

Anyway.  Back to the lady at the gardening center.  She told me which vegetables grow well in Alaska, and which don’t.  I left the store with six little packets of seeds and a hope that my garden would produce something.

Radish, Champion
Carrot, Danvers Half Long
Carrot, Rainbow Blend
Parsley, Dark Green
Cauliflower, Early Snowball
Pea, Sugar Snap

It’s a bit too early to plant anything just yet, but I’m excited at the prospect of having a garden.  I like growing things, but don’t really have a green thumb.  All of my house plants have committed plant suicide, but I hope to have more luck with outdoor plants. 🙂