When I saw the forecast this morning (partly cloudy with sun breaks – no rain), I knew I had to take advantage of it. I had been waiting for a clear day for awhile so that I could fill my raised beds with soil. But before I could get started on that project, I had to meet my double dutch team at the Seattle Center for a quick audition for an upcoming variety show. As soon as we were done, I hopped in my car and raced back to Maple Leaf to get started on the garden. It felt like a race against time, like if I didn’t get started quick, the sun would vanish and it’d start to rain. Naturally, before I could get started, I had to stop off at the hardware store to pick up some more peat moss and a wheel barrow. Picture me standing in front of Ace in my short black jump rope skirt and knee highs, asking one of the clerks to get a price check on one of the red wheel barrows out front – the silliest looking gardener they’ve seen, I’m sure.Â
Once I got home, the back-breaking work began. Since I’m doing Square Foot Gardening
, my task was to put together “Mel’s Mix”
like the author Mel Bartholomew describes in the book. It is a mixture of compost (for nutrients), peat moss (for mositure/water asorbtion), and vermiculite (for drainage). According to Mel, his soil recipe is the key to Square Foot Gardening success. Here is what I had to do:
1. Do the crazy math to figure out how much I needed of each ingredient since you need equal parts of each, measured by volume (cubic feet), not weight – done another day.
2. Run around to different places to buy all of the materials – also done on another day.
3. Build a wheel barrow (No, they don’t come assembled unless I pay an extra $15. Ha! I can build it myself!).
4. Put out a big tarp on the grass, pour out all the bags of materials, and mix them all together with a shovel. When written out, this step seems so simple, but it was a lot of work. For one, the bags of materials are freakin’ heavy to lug around. Second, turning and turning the mixture to get it evenly combined is a bear. Third, you have to understand the scale of this endeavor. When I said I poured out all the materials and mixed them together, I’m talking 27 cubic feet of “Mel’s Mix”:
- 3 big bags of compost (2 cu. feet each)
- 3 smaller bags of compost (1 cu. feet each)
- 2 big bags of vermiculite (4 cu. feet each)
- half of a smaller bag of vermiculite
- 1 large bale of compressed peat moss (which I had to break up with the shovel)
- 3/4 of medium bale of compressed peat moss
Jake’s out of town this week, so it was up to me to do the manual labor this time. When I started lugging around the bags of compost to get started, I called Jake and said that I didn’t think I could do it on my own because the bags were so heavy to haul around and mix up on my own. He told me to cowgirl up (in the most loving way, of course) and being the prideful girl I am, I did.Â
I mixed it all together, shoveled it into the wheel barrow (making countless trips), and filled all three beds with “Mel’s Mix”. So, I am officially closer than ever to planting my veggies in the beds where they’ll lie all summer. I’m pretty proud of myself for completing this task today and in just 3 hours – not bad at all. And not one drop of rain fell on my head the whole time.
As you can see above, Carl also made it out to the garden today. I think he’s ready for spring too.Â