Monthly Archives: April 2011

Tomorrow, I Plant

Today was spent preparing my garden.

I mowed down impertinent weeds springing up in the dormant bed, rototilled the shit out of the poor excuse for soil and bought seeds from a very cross-eyed Home Depot associate in an orange smock.

So far, I’ve spent about $17 on seeds – 14 packages in all – and that’s the entirety of my investment is this year’s project.

But alas, tomorrow I will have to spend more since I will need a considerable amount of gardening soil to add to the bed before I plant.

Not cheap, planting soils costs at least $6.50 per 15 lb. bag. But as luck would have it my roommate and landlord offered to reimburse me. He said since I’m spending the time and effort to reclaim his yard he’d pay for the soil.

SAW-eet.

The space I have to work with isn’t large, it’s about 25 ft. long and 7 ft. wide. But planting seeds an average of 4 inches apart I plan to plant half in assorted vegetables and the rest in sweet corn.

I also bought some wildflowers because the picture looked pretty and I thought, “Hell, I’m growing stuff – might as well grow some pretty things…”

The first photo is what it looked like before tilling and here’s what it looked like after.

Still a long way to go.

These photos don’t show you the thumb-sized rocks littering the bed, which are thrown diagonally from the rototiller blades into my shins, but they’re there. From what I can tell from my digging it looks as if past homeowners have used this spot as their burn area and/or rock pile.

Not optimal.

While tilling I found old wire coat hangers, pieces of concrete and an old baby-doll shoe. I’m going to have to rake and collect the largest of  before I lay fresh soil and plant.

I should’a just ordered cable and watched the NBA finals.

Back In The Saddle Again – And Kicking It Up A Notch

Greetings fellow locavores!

I’m back for another season of eating local (and blogging about it) in North Central Washington.

Last season was great! I met local Ag businessmen, farmers and ranchers and was reminded how much blood, sweat and tears go into raising the food that so many of us Americans take for granted.

In an age when everyone expects food to be cheap and easy I learned a lot about what it really means to keep everyone fed and contribute to a system that maintains this region as an economic powerhouse of produce production.

So this year I’m kicking it up a notch.

In addition to eating local foods (which I define as food grown/raised in state) – I’m going to try to raise some of my own foodstuffs.

1. Chickens

Recently, Wenatchee City Council deemed it legal to raise up to four chickens or rabbits on property within city limits so that got me thinking … I could convert the dilapidated dog kennel in my backyard into a chicken coop!

We raised chickens when I was a kid and I know how to care for them so my plan is to pick up some laying hens at the local feed store and put ’em up in the penthouse hen house!

That way I’ll have fresh eggs every day and it’ll keep the crazy neighbor next door on his toes. (That’s another story, but a guy that lives near likes to yell at passers-by and generally annoy the neighborhood. Now he’ll have someone to talk to. Cluck-cluck!)

2. Sweet Corn 

Over Easter weekend I visited family and my grandpa showed me a bag of corn seed he’s planning to plant soon. He’s going to put it in the ground bit by bit so every week through the harvest season my grandparents will have fresh, ripe sweet corn to eat.

I thought this was an ingenious plan and we’ve got room in the backyard to plant about four rows about 7 ft. long so I figure I can harvest my own corn come late summer and September.

3. Veggies and Gourds

So I’m not completely set on what array of vegetable’s I’m going to plant yet but I hear that gourds are hearty plants and since this is my first season of testing my green thumb – I figure the heartier, the better.

Plus I like squash.

I also hear that tomatoes are god for a beginning gardener and we grew cucumbers, mint and peppers when I was a kid so I think I’ll try those. 

But I really could use your help. If you know more than I do about gardening, growing your own food and eating local I’d love to hear your suggestions.

What’s grows well around here and what advice would you give to a first-time gardener?