October 20, 2010

Our Fall 2010 Garden

Several years back, my mother-in-law (God bless her, sweet woman!) agreed to let me build a garden box in her back yard so we could do something fun together that we both enjoyed. We forged ahead, filled the boxes with compost and started planting. Our first gardening venture went great and we enjoyed a good harvest of plants and flowers.

Then...dum, dum, dum... I got pregnant. Everything I loved about gardening turned to dust...really...because I let most of it die. The smell of my favorite herbs - rosemary, basil, thyme etc. - made me want to turn and run the other way. Thankfully, the herbs grew - though unloved at the time. Though I've been gardening on a smaller scale since then, I was using most of my nurturing energy on babies.

Well, my break has lasted long enough. I'm ready to be back in the garden, breathing in the fresh clean air, feeling the dirt between my fingers and longing to eat something I've grown. Alas, our garden space looked a bit different...

 I have to give my mil credit for planting flowers
and tomatoes in it, especially when she was just as busy as me - 
babysitting grandkids!

I  needed help cleaning out those boxes  - SOOO - when I saw this fellow hanging around, I roped him doing into some work!

In the past, we filled our gardens with compost - which can be expensive to buy and takes time to make yourself. This year, we decided to try "lasagna gardening" instead and it's proven to be so much easier.

Here's how it works. Instead of going through the process of buying or making compost, you just create layers of compost ingredients. These layers break down over time and create super rich garden soil. It's the perfect lazy gardener's garden! You don't have to wait for the layers to disintegrate - you can plant immediately. And - no digging required. (Um, unless you let your previous garden go to seed. Whoops!) Just lay down some paper and start this process anywhere in your yard.

This is what we did. After digging the giant weeds out of the garden, we put down a layer of cardboard and some layers of newspaper & hosed them till wet.

Then, We layered straw, compost (already in the raised beds), manure (from my friend who has goats), dried leaves and pine needles until the boxes were filled again.

Finally - the fun part! We planted seeds - chard, broccoli, carrots, kale, radish, spinach, chamomile, catnip, bachelor buttons etc. - and a whole bed dedicated to onions and leeks. (Onions are an obsession of mine!!) We threw a thin layer of straw over the top of the beds to help the soil retain moisture (spongy). The seeds need to stay moist for the next few weeks till they all germinate.

We have already seen a few tiny little plants coming up but I'll post pics as they get bigger!

These are some other things you can use in a lasagna bed - pretty much anything you can compost goes in there.
Peat moss
Dried leaves
Fruit and veggie scraps (I like to chop these up or blend them so they break down faster)
Vegetation scraps from around the yard
Coffee grounds
Shredded newspaper

And - to answer the questions some of you are asking about what to plant...

These are the things that can be planted in Arizona right now.
Brussel sprouts
Collard greens
Onions (YES!)

Here's a link to a great calendar by the U of A on gardening in the low desert.

Any of you planting a garden? What plants are you putting in? I love to get comments from you!


  1. I Love it Mona and Rob!!! Awesome!!!


  2. Mike has become quite the gardener in the last couple years. We've had some yummy veggies as a result of his hard work. I wish I was helping more, but he's got lots of little helpers.

  3. Hopefully you get a little free time while his helpers are assisting him! :)


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