The Start of a New Garden

My wife calls me a dirt nerd. That’s a nerd I’d never really considered I might be. I’ve always been a huge tech nerd (and absolutely still am) but there’s nothing quite like digging around outside and watching plants grow from just a tiny seed to something else entirely: a fruit or veggie plant, bush, vine or tree. I guess dirt nerd is actually an appropriate title. Maybe just nerd.

I picked up gardening as a hobby a few years ago when I moved into my current house. I started out pretty slowly, learning a little at a time, but unfortunately have struggled to retain certain pieces of information that could be useful. I tried (unsuccessfully) to keep track of planting dates, and monitor progress by keeping a garden journal, but I never managed to do it consistently, let alone in one easy to access place. I’ve been itching to start another blog after having started and run Debit versus Credit for the past few years so this is my solution to both ‘problems.’ I’ll be monitoring my garden through regular posts and will also write about other random stuff that’s interesting to me (e.g. gadgets, technology & green living).

To kick things off, here’s a quick post on what I’ve been up to this spring in the garden. First, a few pictures (if you want to get a closer look you can click on them for the HD version).

My new raised garden bed

That’s my new garden box. I went all out this time around.

This is my old garden box, in front of the new one. Don’t let the picture fool you, the old one is quite a bit smaller then the new raised garden bed.

My old raised garden bed, next to the new one

Both garden beds are made from redwood, which is used often in decks because it’s slow to rot, at least when compared to other woods. The smaller one (which is also the older one) is 6 feet long and 3 feet wide. The newer box is 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. They are both approximately 18 inches tall.

You’ll notice that I built a sitting bench all the way around the top of the new garden bed. I built it using the same 2×6’s that I used to build the rest of the box, so effectively that reduces the “useable” width from 4 feet to a little over 3 feet and the useable length from 8 feet to a little over 7 feet.

Did you notice the PVC pipe along the edge of the new garden bed? That’s to be used for shade and/or plastic (to act as a sort of greenhouse) in extreme weather. Being in the desert I get plenty of that. I’ll tell you more about my raised garden bed design later. For now, back to the plants.

Some of the plants in my new raised garden bed

For reference I’ve been subscribing to the knowledge of Dave Owens, otherwise known here in Phoenix as “The Garden Guy,” through his book, Extreme Gardening (that there is an amazon affiliate link). I’ve been using it primarily for information on companion planting and also when to plant different things here in the low desert.

You can see planted there in the top row (starting from the left): sweet pepper, salsa pepper (spicy), marigolds (haven’t sprouted yet), Early Girl tomato, Rose tomato, rosemary (again hasn’t sprouted) and in the area just to the right of the picture, Blue Lake pole beans.

In the second row we have Nasturtium (seed), Swiss Chard, Onion (seed), Basil, Basil (again), Calendula, and just off the screen pole beans again.

In the bottom row you can see Muskmelon in the far left followed by Lavender, Spinach (kind of wilty), pickling cucumber, nothing (yet — carrots soon), and off the screen to the right is a vining cucumber.

Dwarf Peach Tree with Strawberries

Here you can see my dwarf peach tree starting to bloom and next to it a large strawberry plant. I’ve never had much luck with strawberries here in the desert, but I’m hoping that the more established plant, that should be shaded by the peach tree in the afternoons, will make it through the summer.

What do you think about my new garden? It’s absolutely still a work in progress, but is really coming along I think. Stay tuned for more…


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