Building A Garden Bed: Part 2

The next step in getting my garden bed set up is figuring out a watering system and protecting it from rabbits and deer.

As I said before, the water spigot at the north end of the bed is non-functioning. A tree root broke the pipe that send water to the spigot. Perhaps, if I have time, I’ll look into finding a solution to the broken pipe later in the summer, but for now, I’m pretending it doesn’t exist.

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Building A Garden Bed: Part 1

While my seeds are busy germinating inside, it’s time to work on preparing a garden bed for them to go into when they are ready.

Here are the vegetable beds in the backyard:

There are six raised beds, made out of wood, surrounded by concrete pathways, that were already here when we moved to this house. All of these beds are already spoken for, most have some sort of perennial growing in them (rhubarb, berries, chives, etc).

I always thought it was odd that there were six beds built in this pattern – a row of four and a row of two – why not build two even rows of four beds each for a total of eight beds?

Well, I decided to take this opportunity to partially correct what I see as a design flaw. I’m building a seventh bed, and perhaps, if this bed works out well, I’ll add an eight bed in the future.

To try to conform with the other beds, I’m making this bed slightly raised or terraced into the slope, and it will match the dimensions of the beds adjacent to it.

We didn’t have wood (plus the wood is treated, which isn’t the best for a vegetable garden, and is falling apart, anyway). But we did have plenty of cinder blocks….

In progress….
Ta Da! All three walls built!

This took a lot of work, but we managed to get it done in two days (a couple of hours on Saturday, and several more hours on Sunday). Whew! My arms and hands are still sore!

Once the walls were in place, we laid down cardboard…

…and then filled it in with dirt and compost.

Next up: getting water and deterring rabbits and deer! (See that water spigot at the far end of the bed….it’s no longer active, very sad.)

Happy Earth Day 2021!

It’s been a full year since my last Earth Day post. A year ago, we were still very much in the midst of a pandemic, and most Earth Day events had been cancelled. I thought, surely, Earth Day 2020 – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – was unique, and next Earth Day, things would be back to normal. Maybe we would have learned some lessons had as things got back to normal, we’d commute less, fly less, and generally pollute less.

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My 2021 Gardening Goals

Growing a garden this year, like last year, is tricky because I’ll be moving at the end of June. Fortunately, I’m moving back to a familiar place, and will be living with my dad at least for a little while, so I will have space to garden and am already able to start some seeds in Portland with my dad before I move there.

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Foliage Friday: Freesias

Can you believe I didn’t know what a freesia was until last week? I know I’ve heard the name before, but I couldn’t tell you what they looked like.

Last week, I noticed my attending had a few beautiful stems of some flowers in a cup of water on her desk. I complimented her on them, and she said, “They’re freesias.” She asked if I wanted to take them, as she thought they were aggravating her allergies. I demurred, but the next morning, they were sitting on my desk.

I recognized these flowers as the same as some flowers that are out in front of our house. They’re flopped over and past their prime now, so I couldn’t get a good photo.

I also saw them in large pot around the Stanford campus.

Apparently the floppiness is an attribute of all freesias, not just the ones in front of our house. They benefit form staking if you want to keep them standing up. I think they look nice in a pot like this (not so much flopping over a walkway).

Freesias are corms and are native to South Africa. In South Africa, they begin to send up foliage in the fall and winter when it is rainy. Then they bloom in the spring and go dormant in the hot, dry summer. (Kind of like cyclamen). Palo Alto’s weather recapitulates this climate pretty well. In fact, in zones 9 and 10, freesias can be grown as perennials. If planted in the fall like other bulbs, they will bloom in the spring. In zones 8 and below, they won’t survive the winter, so they have to be grown as annuals: plant the corms in the spring. You can supposedly save the corms from year to year by digging them up, kind of like dahlia tubers.

How pretty!