And then it was winter.

Wow, the fact that it’s been raining FOR EVER has kept me from my gardening blog. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

But it was a good time to take a break because that’s exactly where we left off with the garden! We got our fall planting in the ground and then it was winter! What happened in our garden during the winter? Not much to be honest. It rained alot & snowed once:

But as we ramped up this past March, even amidst all the rain (we live in Portland, OR – it’s the way it goes), things got cooking. Literally!

Step 1: We wanted to plant a small lawn in the back. We can’t afford more hardscaping back there at the moment (we’re planning a low retaining wall, a flagstone patio with groundcover between the stones & a low deck on which to put the table and grill). And we wanted a place to put the table, a couple of lounge chairs, a chimminea and to let the dogs run & play. We had planted some crop cover in the Fall, so we started by hiring someone to rototill it in. We’d already placed some compost on top, so that got tilled in too. Then, we had 2 yards of compost + sand delivered. We borrowed a wheel barrow from a neighbor, and moved it from the driveway to the back. We spread it to between 2 & 3 inches, then broadcast a slow-growing, drought tolerant fescue mix. Because the dogs would have wreaked havoc on the grass seed, we put up some chicken wire at the entrance to the yard to keep the pups out for about a month.

Step 2: We wanted to put some large bark mulch down either side of the property to keep both the weeds down, and also make walkable winter paths (ie: no mud). These two areas won’t get improved until after we do some foundation work, so in the meantime we’re using the National Park approach. We decided on cedar bark b/c it’s lasting, and it okay on the dog’s paws. We got 2 yards of it delivered at the same time as the compost (see above) & using our borrowed wheel barrow, moved it to both sides of the property. On the South side we put it over some landscaping fabric. On the North side we put it directly over the dirt.

Step 3: Lawn Furniture! We knew we wanted a table to go with four teak chairs we already had. And we knew we wanted two Adirondack chairs to sit in next to the chimminea.

Step 4
: Build a Fountain! I actually wanted a solar pump, but after some research it seems like it would only work well in lots of direct sunlight. Perhaps in a few years they’ll have worked out the kinks – in the meantime I decided to place it adjacent to our deck, where I could run a cord under the deck to an outside outlet. I wanted a self contained system, so basically a bubbler or a container with an overflow. And, of course, I didn’t want to spend an arm & a leg. So I went to a local, discount garden container shop where they were having a gigantic sale on a specific kind of overflow container in the color I wanted. Can you believe it? No, neither can I!

Step 5: Start seeds indoors in preparation for early veggies. We knew we wanted to move our veggie garden from its location last year, and right as I was thinking about moving it to the South side of the house & building some more raised beds, I discovered Straw Bale Gardening. The basic idea is that you apply compost to the top of some straw bales, add water for a handful of weeks until the inside of the bale begins to compost, then plant your veggies in it! Next time I’ll tell you how we got started and where we are now.

Once we’re caught up with the current garden (involving spring plantings, cherry tree removal, straw bales, lawnmowers, mulching, and grill purchasing) this blog will transition to real time! Hotcha!

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