What I Learned My First Year of Gardening
Even though I research things obsessively before trying, nature has its way of throwing curveballs.
- •Don't DigIf you want to plant somewhere on your lawn, don't dig out the grass... That's organic material and a waste of effort. Instead lay cardboard or newspaper down, and dump in compost. Done.
- •You Don't Need Edging MaterialCut your lines with a spade shovel, then at an angle, and on the mulched side, remove the sod/lawn to form a natural edge. Then cover the remaining grass with cardboard/newspaper, and mulch. This is the result (and the best it ever looked). Each year you can clean the edge with a shovel and re-mulch.
- •Stake Your Tomatoes WELLI messed up big time here, underestimating how tall they would grow. DO NOT use a tomato cage for tall tomato plants. You see the one I used? My plant grew so much it broke. Apparently those cages are ideal for pepper plants.
- •Bugs Cause ProblemsThis bed looked like it was doing well. Within two days, every leaf on my bean and cabbage plants was eaten to the stem by worms/bugs. I need to figure out a better method to deter them, or accept that some plants may not thrive in my yard.
- •You Will Get A Lot of TomatoesI had to make 4 big batches of sauce to use them and I'm sure I would have got more had I not trimmed them.
- •Did I Mention Stake Them?What a bonehead mistake. There was no recovering.
- •Hugelkultur For Raised BedsGoogle it, it's a German term. This is a technique I just read about, but it's using dead tree logs and branches to create a pile, then filling in with dirt/compost/etc. I'm trying it out to create a third bed. It's supposed to be great for two reasons 1) decomposing wood breaks down into fertile soil and 2) as it decomposes it acts like a sponge to hold water, which means you water less, even in drought conditions.