Last year I had 1 4’X8′ raised bed flower garden, along with some extra zinnias planted in beds near the house, totaling approx 40 sq ft.
This year, I’ve upped the ante significantly – added 2 4’X24′ beds and repurposing a 2’X8′ bed, for a new total of approx 250 sq ft of garden space. Wow, just realized, that’s a 600% increase! Let’s hear it for ambition (or at least unbridled optimism) ;)
Over the last 3+ years, I’ve worked gradually toward making this area into something where plants would do well, but I had no idea till last fall that I’d make it into (hopefully!) a working flower garden.
First, when the garage was being added, I asked the excavator to place the good topsoil he was excavating into a 8X25 area in the back yard. It grew a wonderful crop of weeds the next 2 years, which I periodically would cut down or spray with weed killer. Fall of 2011, I had 100% natural wood chips (chipped from trees cut on my property) spread over the entire bed. Fall of 2012, I had 5 bales of old straw spread over the beds.
A few weeks ago, I put in Pex pipes from the back deck out to the two raised bed locations to eliminate the need to move the water supply hoses every time the grass is mowed.
This past week I added 2 pints (dry) of 10-10-10 fertilizer to each 4’X24′ bed, about 2/3 of a pint to the 4’X8′ bed, and had them tilled.
This weekend, with a little help from a friend, I set up fencing around the new large beds, along w/ the automatic watering system and planted sunflowers, celosia (2 kinds), sage and oregano.
NOTE to self: NEVER, EVER, ever attempt to plant seedlings in soil that is too dry .. it will be nearly impossible to keep a hole large enough for the seedling open long enough to plant it!
Here we are, w/ everything said and done: