Raised bed #1, rock dust and garden restart

First 4 x 8 raised bed installed:


This area used to be a patch of lawn. 8 months ago, the area was covered with newspaper, cardboard, compost and planters (in that order). The sod underneath slowly decomposed. When the raised bed was ready to be installed, the ground was leveled (using good old shovel work).

The bed was filled with a mix of yard dirt and compost from the landfill. I amended the soil with vermicompost, blood meal, bone meal and my latest discovery — glacial rock dust. Rock dust is a source of trace minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, to name a few). This whole time I’ve focused on amending my soils with organic matter, a great source of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but neglected to address the need to replenish trace minerals.

(Side note: I found out about rock dust because I was lazy to remove rocks from my soil. I wondered if rocks provided minerals to the soil, started researching sources of trace minerals and eventually came across rock dust.)

Today I planted seed garlic (Georgian Fire and Samarkand varieties), purchased from Seed Savers Exchange, as well as some Dragon carrots.


Also started the following seeds in the germination tray:

  • Save the Bees Wildflower Mix
  • Calendula
  • Foxglove
  • Pansies
  • Petunia
  • Ching Chang bok choy (yes, that’s really the name of this variety)
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Speckled lettuce
  • Cipolini onions
  • Flat of Italy red onions
  • Shallots

Seeds were purchased from Seed Savers Exchange, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and Peaceful Valley.


Patio gardening for the weary

The dog days of summer have arrived in the Tri-Cities. We just survived a week with temperatures lingering past 100 F. While the garden has indeed exploded with lush greens and harvests, the intense heat has made it difficult to work outside. Additionally, my garden plot has become conquered by weeds despite my (and the stirrup hoe’s) best efforts to keep them at bay. So to continue enjoying a garden, I succumbed and purchased some planters, dug up several plants, and started a mini garden on my patio. Funny that the planters were more costly than an entire 15′ x 15′ plot at the community garden. Yet, I do find having the plants right outside my doorstep immensely more enjoyable. This also gives me a chance to grow the plants that got attacked by rabbits and voles.

South-facing patio garden: 2 chili pepper plants flanked by 2 brown planters containing Casper eggplants (front), Bountiful Beans in the rectangular planter, Dragon carrots (back).

Chili pepper (my seed starts didn’t fare well, so I inherited these)

Casper eggplant, transplanted from the garden plot

Bountiful green beans (direct seeded in the planter)
Dragon carrots (direct seeded in the planter with sowing markers)

North-facing patio garden: fall seed starts and herbs (front), cilantro, lettuce, trellised peas (middle), worm compost bin (back)
Fall seed starts (plus a late second attempt at watermelons)
Thai basil (left), Sage (middle), Lemongrass (right), Thyme (not visible), transplanted from the garden plot
Cilantro (front left), Speckled lettuce (front right), Golden Sweet peas (back), all direct seeded