Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garden Boxes

Thought I would spend a bit more time chatting about garden boxes. I have written previously that when I decided to take out my unsightly front lawn, I replaced it with garden boxes. Now I have an edible front yard.

When I first moved to this house I made the vegetable garden area larger, fenced it in to keep out the deer and began to add garden boxes.

I like the boxes because they are neat, help reduce weeding and I can contain my energy in one location. By that I mean when I add more natural additives to the garden they stay where the plants are instead of moving all over the yard. When I water I have a smaller space to water. Finally when I use the Square Foot gardening method I harvest more produce from a small space.
One day while yard sailing, I spied something interesting sticking up out of a dumpster. Never one to miss a great find I went to check it out. There was a full size manikin. He was just waiting to be taken home. At first I thought I would sell him on EBay but when I found out how much trouble it would be to package him for shipping, I decided to keep him. He traveled to many parties with me and was given away to a few single friends as a potential boyfriend. He always came back. I named him Manny. It seemed a shame to keep him in the garage so I took him out to the garden. To me he looked like he was thanking the sun for a beautiful day and wanted to oversee the garden. From that time on he has lived in the garden.
He was visited by all the neighbors and did not always receive rave reviews because he is out there in all his glory. I thought it was funny so he stayed. My mother came to visit and said he was disgusting and that cinched it. He had found his home and was welcome as long as he wanted to stay.
One night some neighbors snuck over and put a thong on Manny. I thought I would wet my pants when I saw Manny the next morning. He was so proud of himself. Manny has a personality of his own and is quite famous. Some people have a scarecrow and I have Manny.
When I built the fence I put up deer netting. It kept the little devils out for a while but towards the end of the season they dove right through it. I called the company and was returned my money in full no questions asked.
I tried hanging soap, DVD discs, Mylar strings, yarn to no avail. I then got a sling shot with little metal ball bearings as ammunition. I could shoot them right in the rear end and they just looked at me like, "how dare you bother me when I am having such a good dinner". I just couldn't bear to shoot them although there were days I seriously contemplated it and tried to resolve that at least I would be able to can the meat. I yelled and yelled. Still they would not only eat from the garden but would sleep it off in my back yard. One day I was home sick and sitting watching TV in the living room. Something caught my eye and I turned to the sliding glass door that goes out to my patio. There was a doe and fawn looking in at me! Now I just plant some for the deer and some for me. I figure they must know I have a special garden and come here to be safe and well fed.
Back to the garden boxes. I did rototill the vegetable garden area before I built the boxes because the first year I lived there I had a typical garden in the ground. The area was easy to rototill and I had a friend with a tiller who always volunteered to till. I dug up the soil from the pathways to put in the boxes and still needed more. A truckload did the trick the first year.
I started a compost bin so I would have the compost to add the second year. It is a simple box put together from free shipping pallets. It does the trick and gives me a place to put the garden trimmings and kitchen scraps.
In the fall I took the maple leaves from a neighbors tree and tossed them in the boxes. They broke down with the help of my dachshund, Mister T's, little feet. He runs through the leaves and breaks them up. The worms do the rest and by spring I have really yummy dirt. The three boxes that get the leaves are the healthiest boxes in the garden. One year the neighbor had bagged up a bunch of leaves and had never taken them to the dump. I did them a favor and asked for the bags. I put them on top of my potatoes when they bloomed and ended up with a bumper crop that was easy to dig up. Unfortunately, the tree became too large and was too near the power lines and had to be taken down. I will miss that majestic tree and so will my garden.

Each year I learn something new and have a new brainstorm how I will add to the garden. The pictures I will include were taken over a span of years. Since I am not a full time gardener I do a little each year.


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