Brooding On

Garden Prep Work

This past weekend, John and I enjoyed a weekend away from it all.  Once a year around our anniversary, my father-in-law double gifts us by allowing us his cabin on the river for the weekend while he keeps our kiddos.  Because we plan to be bottle-feeding some goat kids on our actual anniversary next month, we decided to go ahead and have our getaway early. 
We had a great time and were able to get a couple things done that we really needed to do.  First, we were able to clock 14 miles running hills and dirt roads, helping us prep for our upcoming hilly race in May.  Also, we were able to make a quick trip to the farm co-op in Mountain View.  I'd called ahead to be sure they'd have everything we needed.
In all, we bought 10 bales of Peat Moss and 10 giant bags of Vermiculite.  AND, we fit it all in the back of our van!

Last year, we filled our raised garden beds with a mix of compost, peat moss, and rice hulls.  However, we were underwhelmed by the performance of the rice hulls, so we decided to try vermiculite this year in it's place. 
Vermiculite is actually what's recommended for use in the square foot gardening method that we use, but we had a hard time finding it last year.

Also, peat moss is much more cost-effective when purchased in these big, compressed bales.

Another change we plan to make this year is in how we create the grid.  This picture, taken last year, shows the faux wood blinds we used to create the squares.  I was able to get them on sale and thought they really looked nice.  This year, however, I need more since we're adding three more beds and haven't been able to catch them on sale.  Now, that I've had some experience with the gardening method and know that the only purpose of the grid is to provide order and division, I'm planning to use twine held in place by nails this year instead.  Obviously, this is a much less expensive option that should be just as functional.

Now, we need to get those three new boxes constructed so that I can plant some more kale already!