We (Heart) Our Garden Plot

Monday, April 17, 2006
Out at the garden yesterday, Michael and I were happy to see so many things growing already. The shallots and scallions are up. The carrots, beets, and Swiss chard have sprouted. Our strawberry plants are full of blossoms. The spinach, bok choy, and garlic look great. And next weekend, we'll probably be able to start harvesting some lettuce.

This is the best -- and earliest -- start we have had on our plot. In Year One at this stage, we were still pulling out plants from the previous owner of the plot and trying to build up two vegetable beds. Our first "beds" were just mounds of dirt we piled up, which didn't work too well once we got heavy rain. They crumbled and washed away at the edges (picture beet seedlings falling over the sides) until Michael fixed them up with boards.

In Year Two (last year), we got a second plot adjacent to the first one. We doubled our space, but the second plot needed a major overhaul. We spent most of last spring constructing new beds, sifting soil, adding compost, and yanking out more wire grass than I'd ever seen in my life. It took us awhile to get the ground ready, so we got off to a late start with our planting. And then there was the whole fiasco with the mulch. (We put mulch on top of the new beds and everything we planted in them turned sick, didn't grow, or just died. When a fellow gardener told us the mulch was probably messing up the soil's pH, we spent an afternoon frantically un-mulching everything.)

So here we are in Year Three and we are so happy with our (combined) plot. The beds are built, the soil is in good shape, and we were able to get an early start because the ground was dry.

Those are our garlic plants in the photo. The pot of tarragon in the foreground has been transplanted to its spot by the other herbs.


Blogger Jes said...

That's really awesome! I wish I had gotten an early start on my beds. I'm in the same situation as your year one with my home beds. I live just outside of DC as well.
I was wondering how you got all your soil to your plot? I'm having a hard time finding someone to deliver.

Anyhow, if you have any advice about living around here, I need it! You can email me at

2:44 PM  
Blogger Christa said...


We are fortunate to have a big compost pile at our community garden. That is where we get the compost to build up our beds. In the first year, we also purchased topsoil from The Home Depot and the local gardening center, but that got expensive quickly! For the most part, we just use the the compost now. Occasionally, we'll buy some of the good stuff -- like the Bumper Crop we added where we want to plant the tomatoes this year.

I don't know if any garden centers will deliver soil amendments. You might want to post a request on Craigslist.com or Freecycle.org, to see if anyone can help you out. A few times, I have seen people announce on freecycle that they have extra mulch or woodchips to give away for free. Maybe someone can help you out with soil?

Good luck!

5:23 PM  
Blogger WashingtonGardener said...

Hi! Just checking in to say beautiful photographs on your blog and great to see those early edibles! Keep up the inspirational work :-).
- Kathy
Washington Gardener magazine

6:58 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Thank you, Kathy!

9:41 PM  

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