Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fertilizer Friday - Garden Project 2010

It's Friday, and that means a visit to Fertilizer Friday over at Tootsie Time.
Check out her blog party and see what other people have blooming in their gardens.

OK, I have been promising for several weeks now, to actually write a new post for Fertilizer Friday.

So, let me introduce you to the project I am referring to as Garden Project 2010.
Catchy name huh? I though it up all by myself.

You may or may not be familiar with the term Suburban Sharecropping. That's ok, it goes by lots of other names too. But what it boils down to is a person who has space, but for one reason or another, has no plans of gardening, allows another person, who has the desire, but no space to plant a garden in their space. Usually the property owner then gets a share of the yield from the garden.

Our arrangement is a little less formal.

My Inlaws,(Diann's Parents) had a garden for many years. But since they retired, they have spent more time on other pursuits and less time on gardening. Their garden plot quickly started to go back to nature. Last fall, I discussed the idea of us planting a garden there with them, and of course they were open to the idea. I mean, who wouldn't want a garden in their yard, full of fresh homegrown food, that someone else planted and took care of, but that you had access to as much as you wanted from it?

So, this is the space where we will be gardening:

There were a couple of ways to approach this space. One suggestion was to wait for it to get dry, (sometime around the first of june) and till it up.

But I had reservations about waiting that long to till up soil that was of dubious quality anyway, having lain fallow for so long.

The Farmers Almanac, suggests a method called "Instant Garden" where you lay strips of cardboard down in 2' strips 4' apart and cover it with mulch, then lay newspapers down in the 4' spaces between and cover it with dirt/compost blend. Voila, you have a garden on top of whatever was there previously.

I opted for my own variation of this plan, and measured the space I have to work with.

My usable space is roughly 30'x28' +/- a few inches each way.

So, I roped off an area 28'x28' as my garden, and drew up a rough plan.

I could do five 4'x26' beds, with a 2' pathway of mulch all the way around and between the beds.

Ok, so far so good.

Now, a huge new garden wasn't in our budget this year, so I had to find a way to do this economically, I couldn't just call and order ten yards of garden blend soil, (5 yds=$170) and 8 yards of mulch (5 yds = $60) to be delivered.

I started looking for less expensive alternatives. And I found some. I plan to write more about my thrifty garden finds in other posts, but I got Straw, Composted Rabbit Manure, and Wood Chip Mulch all free, all I had to do was haul them myself. Not a lot of fun, but you can't beat the price

So, I spent the last few days hauling straw and rabbit manure, and mulch. That was the easy part. The hard part it that I have to unload it by hand and into a wheelbarrow, the wheel it down the driveway and through the backyard to the garden, I haven't measured, but I'm guessing 75' of driveway and 75' more of grass before I reach the garden. I have walked that trip back and forth more times in the last week that I even want to count.

This was actually good. We had a stressful week, and it did me good to be able to spend some time and ebnergy on hard physical activity that could help keep my mind occupied, and make me so tired I coiuld sleep at night.

I don't have lots of pictures of anything growing yet, but feel free to follow along as we track the progress of our garden.

This will become my new topic for Fertilizer Friday for a while, although, if for some reason I have no new progress to report, I may have to resort to recycling old posts again.

But for now, lets move some straw:

The first little pig went along until he found a man with a truckload of straw.

"Please mister" The little pig said, "Can I have some of your straw to build my garden?"

"But who will help me carry the straw?" said the first little pig.

"Not I", Said the little red hen.

"Not I", said the Princess, "But I'll help you scatter ait all over once you get it moved, I'm good at scattering things."

"Then I'll move it myself", said the little pig.

And he did!

Watch future installments of Garden Project 2010 to see more fun adventures. Next week, we will see how the rabbits helped.

~{@ @}~ ~{@ @}~ ~{@ @}~ ~{@ @}~

Be sure and join me each Tuesday for Tuesday Trivia Tie-in, where readers are invited to share trivia and show off their treasures.

Read all about it here


  1. You have worked really hard this week!! Can't wait to follow your progress.

  2. Oh my gosh, you have some seriously ambitious plans. I can hardly wait for the next installment. It is going to be fabulous! (It is much easier to sit here and cheer you on instead of being the one wielding the pitch fork, so I'll understand if it takes a while for the next chapter to appear!)

  3. You're doing well if you can move all that stuff,and what money saving. You should have a fantastic garden..can't wait to see next installment.
    p.s. I have thought about having a community type garden.We own the very large lot next to our store,and we've sure considered it. The only drawback is, that over the years, the surrounding area has slowly turned into not a really good neighborhood..there's a lot of drugs..etc, and I hesitate because of some of the people who might be tempted to hang about.
    And there could be some major raises in insurance premiums...but,it's still turning about in my mind..

  4. You are really inspiring us to get busy! We are getting ltos of rain so it will be a great time to get a garden space ready once the rain lets up!~ Happy weekend! Anne

  5. Wow, you've taken on a big project. You're going to be in physical tiptop shape when you're done. Looking forward to your progress.

  6. Troy, I look forward to reading about your progress. We just love gardening - flowers AND vegetables! That, reading and blogging - keeps me pretty busy. Have a great weekend!

  7. This looks great - I was so into your story that I was disappointed when it ended! I am anxious to see your next steps - good luck with all of this! paula in Idaho

  8. I am excited to watch your garden unfold this summer. Best wishes for a successful harvest!

  9. I like the idea of your shared garden. Haven't heard of that over here before. We do have community gardens on vacant city lots that people lease, learn and share gardening together and that is pretty cool.
    I tried a half hearted attempt at straw gardening, have seen it on T.V. gardening shows etc. Will be good to watch yours progress.

  10. Hi Troy, that's a sweet post. How lucky you are to live where there is so much land. I love the story you told, and can't wait until you share with us what you will be doing in the coming months.

  11. TROY!!! I loved the three little pig spin on todays post! I can't wait to see the whole thing come together!!
    thanks for linking in this week. I am sorry it took so long to get over here and see...I just can't seem to get to the end of the busy around here these days! I do hope you will link in again...I have enjoyed my visit!