Catherine and I spent most of Sunday working on our Garden at the Pullman Community Gardens. It's our third year at the garden, though last years was....not precisely successful due to our priorities changing away from the garden (unfortunately). This year, aside from having two weeks in the midwest during the hottest part of the summer, we're committed to making sure we have an effective harvest this year. Given that we've both stuck with a major lifestyle change (daily gym trips) for over six weeks. Admittedly this is a habit that isn't fully formed and risks breaking (the real test will be after returning from those 14 days in the midwest), but the committment shown there, especially on my part, makes me hopeful that focusing on the garden won't be an ordeal.
Our garden will not fulfill all our vegetable needs by any stretch, however, it should give us a fairly substantial bounty, especially since a lot of our seeds were either saved from last year (or two years ago), or are from commercial seedpacks we already had from last year. Catherine started many of our plants from seed several weeks ago, including tomatoes and peppers that aren't going out into the garden just yet. For the seed starts, we just used plastic seed trays (that we intend to reuse). We used plastic instead of peat for two reasons. First, we dug up a lot of peat pots this year that probably had a negative impact on our plants last year. Plus, the environmental impact of peat is a lot higher than we'd known. In the future, we're considering making pots out of newspaper. We also invested in a $30 seed mat which gently warms our seedlings, which has caused them to really take off. We're considering waiting until garden stuff goes on sale at the end of this season and picking up a second.
We aren't completely done planting, obviously. but we did get a lot of stuff in yesterday. Here's a rough sketch with our garden as it stands:
Our paths are raised above the beds, and this year we'll be putting down newspaper and straw to try to keep the weeds down. I had to dig out some BIG weeds, and we're still fighting some grass and other rhizomitous weeds. By having the paths above the beds, it's easier for us to water, and with the high clay content in our soil, the ground tends to stay wet pretty well. It's a later start than we wanted, but at least it's all in before Mother's day, so we should be alright.