Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adventures in the Garden - Fall 2011 Edition

What is the big mystery of life? Why are we here? Where did we come from? No, it is "Why does my dog eat our garden soil?"

I'm trying a new experiment this fall. Everything we thought about gardening has been turned on its head after reading the book on "Squarefoot Gardening". We are trying it out this fall to see if the hype is true. However, our beginnings have been wrought with mystery and turmoil. (insert scary music here) Read on.

My son lovingly slaved away in record-breaking Texas heat to build me three of the most beautiful garden boxes ever constructed. (ummmm, yes, it is going in his High School transcript, thank you very much) Isn't he so handsome working so hard? Some girl will be very blessed to have such a multi-talented husband. But I digress.

We called around and drove distances to get the precious vermiculite for our boxes. It is part of a super amazing mix that contains 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost. The compost has to be a mixture of 5 different composts (we found 2 kinds of cow poop, chicken poop, worm poop, and some other organic compost mixture. We never did find mushroom. Apparently we are compost deprived in this part of Houston. Who would have thunk it?) 

the amazing mixture!

look at these beautiful boxes!
cooking up the mixture
We put together the mixture in the yard. We poured the correct amounts on the tarp and lifted the ends to mix it up. I'm sure we were a source of great entertainment for our neighbors looking on. 

My dh mixing the soil in a tarp
We poured it in the boxes.

We planted a few seeds and plants.

The dog decided the poop trifecta mixture was too good to be true. Apparently cayenne pepper sprinkled on the soil as a deterrent only makes it more appetizing.

The dog pooped out poop mixed with vermiculite. (no pictures. Your welcome.)

We built some very cool trellises. The boys (and my husband) were threatened to within an inch of their lives if they used the nets as soccer nets. An inch I tell you. They were sorely disappointed. 

The dog continued to go out at various times during the day for snacks. I can never catch her in the act!

We planted some more. You are supposed to plant like every two weeks to have a constant supply of fresh veggies and not a huge rush of too much.

Doggy footprints and chunks of soil missing. Yelling at the dog. More cayenne pepper (why do I continue to do something that clearly isn't working?)

I started my own compost to supplement our sorely lacking supply here in Houston. And its free. And it is in a very neat bin and not the open pile my husband tried to start and fed every rat in the tri-county area. And I wrote instructions on the lid of the compost heap so my husband doesn't throw bones, meat or citrus peels in it.  And I'm kind of a control freak/nerd because I wrote too many instructions on the lid in permanent marker. Click the picture below to get a clear picture of my mental state. Stop laughing.


Lindylou said...

I so love this!!! I am very encouraged by your gardening and your teen son! I loved the pictures and can't wait to see the results. I have the same book - probably two editions.. I sorta tried once a few years back... but the weeds and heat won out... I like the black lining... I don't remember the book suggesting that and mercy, I was not so specific about the mixture. Come to think of it there may be several reasons my plot didn't work. LOL But my favorite part was about your dog! You gotta LOVE him for being so "interested" in your new project. LOL

Thanks for sharing.

Frazzled Mom said...

I am leaving this comment for myself for future reference:

Mel’s Mix

1/3 vermiculite
1/3 peat moss
1/3 compost (from as many sources as possible)
This is done by volume. The beds were each 4′x4′ and needed 6″ of mix to fill them. 4x4x.5=8 cubic feet of Mel’s mix. I did three boxes, so I needed 24 cubic feet of mix, 8 cubic feet of each item.


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