Why I love Gardening

Why I love Gardening

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There are a lot of gardeners in Sacramento that are starting gardens. They are a source of rich, natural foods to supplement your diet and provide a small amount towards becoming more independent or sustainable.  There are many reasons I chose raised beds for my garden even though I have plenty of room for a garden.  The raised beds allow the soil to heat up faster in the spring so you can plant your plants earlier than a regular garden with tilled soil. You can control the soil better with amendments creating a stronger environment for your plants. The soil does not compact giving better drainage due to you not stepping on them or losing the soil into the ground.

There are several different types of raised beds.

Charles Dowling uses free standing beds, which he describes as no-till. His Beds are raised on top of cardboard and a cloth barrier to control the beds and the soil. If you watch his shows on YOU TUBE there is so much to learn. Mr.Dowling is a firm believer in using compost regularly and tending his beds daily.

My oldest bed is 4ftx20ft and runs along the side of my house next to the kitchen.  I regularly each year amend the soil with compost, potting soil, and manure. This bed is mainly for quick harvesting for dinner.  I have spring peas, onions, lettuce, chard, petite tomatoes, and herbs. Later, when the peas are finished, I plant pole beans.  I built it from 2x12ft treated wood, lined with a tough plastic over 15 years ago. Still going strong.

The fifteen smaller beds (4ftx4ft, 6ftx4ft, and 4ftx 5ft) varies in sizes. They are build from redwood or cedar wood, steel or plastic. Some have trellises built at the end, while others are flat.  I have most of them fenced with chicken wire due to have free running chickens in my yard.  They are always interested in trying to help me when I am working.  I often share greens and over-ripe vegetables with them.

When first establishing the beds, I put a layer of hardware cloth (usually ¼ inch), then covered it with cardboard to give a firm bottom to the bed. Over time, the worms have ate the cardboard and left wonderful presents for the plants.  It is important (at least to me) to mix a 50:50 ratio of compost and either potting soil or topsoil to start the bed. Then if the plants need it I add aged manure to the mixture. 

When planting in containers, I put a layer of sphagnum moss that had been soaked in water both in the bottom of the pot before adding potting soil. Then I add another layer of the moss on top of the dirt after planting. It holds the water better in the planter and the plants seem to like the extra nutrients.

Next week, we will discuss plants that like the weather in Sacramento. Have a good week and garden strong.

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