|My old container gardens with broccoli, 2009|
I had to lose a lot of my previous life in order to find this place I am in now. One of the more painful things to me was losing the home at which I had created a raised box garden. I was so very proud of the fact that I had salvaged the wood from someone's trash pile, hauling it to the house in a tiny car stacked to the roof. It was lovely. I have missed it and really, I have missed gardening.
It wasn't really possible for me to garden until now. I know it is possible to garden in rental properties but really, I just didn't want to expend the time investment until I was somewhere to stay. This past summer, we found our forever home, bought it and we are now settled into our future. It's a lovely home, with plenty of space for our large family and a large backyard that abuts to a beautiful park with a playground, ball field and .4 mile track. It is truly our Shangri La.
Although it is January and the sky intermittently spits out snow and my breath makes clouds in the air when I go outside, I am already thinking about my first garden here at Shangri La House. Since I've been out of the game for a while, I reached out to my friends at Sow and So for some guidance and inspiration. I'm going to be documenting the process and hopefully my family will be eating some delicious, homegrown fruits and vegetables this season.
Before that ground thaws and I can get my hands dirty, there are a few things I can do to get ready. The first was setting up my compost heap. My first heaps were made with chicken wire and fence posts and they worked quite well. This time, though, I will be using the Presto Geobin. It's a simple and customizable design that is inexpensive and reasonably attractive and it seemed to be the perfect way for me to begin composting here.
Setup was relatively easy but I would recommend having a second person to assist as the bin is quite unwieldy when you first uncoil it. I opted for a 3 foot diameter this time, securing the sidewalls with the included plastic nuts, washers and bolts. Next was threading the four poles through the walls, which had me cursing at first, but by the fourth pole I was able to do it with ease.
Last was selecting the right spot in the yard and tapping the support poles into the ground. I chose a spot that is next to the fence and will be partially shrouded by the foliage of the bushes when spring hits. I put a bed of leaves, crumpled newspaper and shredded cardboard in the bottom and will begin collecting kitchen scraps today. I can't wait to get a nice, steamy compost going!