My last gardening post was about building raised beds. The reason I’ve decided to write more about gardening here at RE is that I want people to know how attainable food-raising really is, especially if you live on a city lot. It does take a little bit of money, but mostly space and time and sunshine and water. It’s really up to you to research out what will work best for you, but for my zone in Oregon, the most important thing right now is preparing the soil.

Soil is the most important aspect of gardening that you have control over. The safest amendment is to buy compost and manure if you don’t have it on your property. Manure helps provide nutrients. Compost helps to break the soil up and allow for better drainage and makes the dirt easier to work with. Both actually make your garden beds look better, more pleasing to the eye. We call our southern Oregon clay soil “gumbo,” and it’s very hard to amend (so we really have to “work” it).

NEW raised beds
1. Lay a few layers of newspaper down; water.
2. Lay about 3-5 inches of compost on top of the newspaper.
3. Layer manure on top.

RETURNING raised beds
1. Amend the existing soil with compost each year when it’s time to plant.
2. Use the “double-digging” approach (or trench-digging) to amend the soil.
3. Remove the topsoil, or set it aside, and then loosen the subsoil.
4. Take the original topsoil and add compost, manure, etc. and return it as the top layer of your garden bed.
5. No need to roto-till the beds.

The better your soil – the more likely you will have success with your garden!

Pathways in between
In the pathways between the beds, we used decomposed granite, partly because it’s pretty inexpensive, and also because while in Napa Valley last year, we saw it being used and how attractive it was. We soon discovered that you need to go out on a regular basis and weed it thought. So we learned from our mistake and use something different now. Unless you like to weed!

We are enthusiastic about gardening not only for the fresh veggies that we produce, but for the benefits that come from sharing, inviting, eating and connecting with friends –many times sharing the results of our efforts over a cozy meal in the backyard.

And I can’t wait …

Are you one of us “city-folk” who’s getting back into gardening?

Next Gardening Post: From the Garden to the Table … it’s time to start planning what you want to plant and a sneek peek of our AeroGarden.

Here’s a few things to be thinking about:
1. What do you like to eat?
2. What do you like to serve for side dishes?
3. What is most beneficial for the amount of space that you have?

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