For quite some time I have wanted to create a vegetable garden. One of my main reasons for doings so is what I see as the declining quality of our food. A growing portion of our fruits and vegetable are genetically modified, grow thousands of miles away, harvested before they are ripe, and loose much of their flavor and vitamins before they reach our plates. Like a growing number of people I found this distressing and decided to take control of my food supply.
I began, as all gardens do, with seed. The selection of high quality seeds is crucial. I selected my seeds from “Annie’s Heirloom Seeds”. I have featured them before in one of my “Made in the USA Monday” pieces. They have been cultivating seeds for decades, preserving seed lines that go back over a century. No genetic modification, natural unadulterated seeds. I picked several varieties, some of them based on their suggestion, other on my own personal tastes. For my garden I will try to grow, “Sugar Baby Watermelons”, “Alexandria Alpine Strawberries”, “Thessaloniki Tomatoes”, “Golden Bantam Sweet Corn”, and “Howden Pumpkins”.
For the garden itself I decided to go with raised beds that I built. Raised beds have several advantages, they use less space and provide me with the ability to control my soil. The top soil where I live is not the best so raised beds makes sense. I went to Home Depot and bought some woods, soil, compost, and manure. I cut the wood and assembled three eight foot long by three foot wide beds.
This size fits well in the space that I have, but it was primarily limited by the size of my grandfathers min-van, which I used to transport everything. Ten or twelve foot boards wouldn’t have fit, so I bought 2 inch by six inch by 8 foot boards.
After I assembled the bed and positioned them I broke up the sod. I was worried that the while the dead sod would provide nutrients for my garden it might be too thick for the roots to penetrate and could hurt the plants as they grow. I transplanted a few section to where they were need and broke up and buried the rest.
For my soil I chose “Miracle Grow Organic Choice Garden Soil”, this was not my first choose, but since June had already begun and I wanted to get my seeds in the ground as fast as possible I went with it. It is a little twiggy, but so far I have no complaints. To add nutrients to the solid I mixed in “Great Gardens” compost manure blend as well as some lawn clipping from my lawn with some stand alone manure. I mixed it all with a rake and spread it even across each of the beds.
My seeds arrived yesterday and I immediately began planting them. This was quite easy, but a little nerve racking. In each case the different seeds came with directions on how deep to bury them and far apart to space each. I did as they instructed, but in most cases the planting depth was 1 inch, I pushed in with my finger, dropped in the seed and covered it. Once inch is so shallow, I know its just worry, but I am convinced that as soon as I walked away birds and squirrels dug up and ate all of my plantings.
That aside, I am a little concerned that my 3-4 inches of topsoil will not be deep enough for my garden. Beneath that I have the natural top soil that the lawn was growing on and beneath that is a think layer of rocky sand. All totaled it should be about 6 inches of usable soil, I am just uncertain how well my plants roots will be able to penetrate down into it. Fingers crossed.
All in my new vegetable garden cost me about $250. That includes the wood for the raised bed, the screws, the seeds, 11 bags of top soil, 2 bags of compost/manure, 1 bag of dry manure, and 250 European nightcrawler worms that are en route to me at this very moment. I am hoping the worms will help break up the soil to help my vegetables roots spread out, they should also provide valuable nutrients and aeration.
According to my research the seeds should begin breaking through the soil in the next 6-8 days. If and when that happens I can rest easy knowing that my seeds did not end up in some creatures belly and can face the next round of obstacles. I am nervously excited.