First garden is in!

The last two days have been an attempt to find center. But, I’ll admit to extreme tiredness, I am sure this is due to the increased physical activity such as raking a lawn and lifting bags of compost–activities that I have not “seen” for the past 25 years of living in condos. Also walking more…

A convergence of events has also contributed: the move and a 12 day trip to Tucson to attend a writing workshop and see friends I left behind 7 years ago.

So today found me dragging out spring clothes because I learned yesterday that the temps in Tucson could be in the 80’s during the day.  Luckily, because I took a lot of time to determine what clothes I would bring along on my journey to downsize my lifestyle, there was not much decision making!

Breakfast 003Today, was eventful because I put in the first of several food gardens with the able guidance of Christian Wagley. I learned the cardboard method of mulching, also known as the Lasagna Method. Layer the area of the new garden with overlapping cardboard sections. Just put it right on top of the ground to keep out weeds. Add a thick layer of leaves–about 8-12 inches thick. (It will all settle down.) Next, add a border of pine needles to delineate the garden and to create areas to kneel or stand to tend plants.

Breakfast 008Smile because you are building something that is going to make you stronger in the long run!

Breakfast 011


Next outline the garden plot with pine needles. This creates places to stand or kneel to care for plants, and will make the garden look neat and pretty.



Breakfast 017Add a layer of hay over the leaf bed. The lighter colored hay outlined with the redder pine needles creates a nice pattern while protecting the plants and enriching the soil as it breaks down and decomposes. Make a large inverted cone-shaped well for plants, with the base wider than the top. With a trowel, cut through the cardboard layers and fold them back so the ground its exposed.

Breakfast 022Fill the well with mushroom, organic mulch. The more you add the better the garden will grow.

Then add about a half cup of organic vegetable fertilizer. This gives the plants a fast strong start as they lay down roots.

Breakfast 025Plants as many wells as possible in the garden while giving each room to grow. My finished garden includes romaine, chard, red cabbage, and arugula–the last of the cold weather crops that I can plant at this time. Christian advised me to go ahead and plant summer weather crops in small pots to be growing, and that can be put in as soon as I take out these current cold weather crops. In our area it get hot very fast and makes it impossible or hard to start plants from seed. My finished garden bed does look as neat as Christian’s but as I get the process down, I’ll be able to create sharply defined colors and sections. For now, these plants have every chance in the world of growing into healthy large plants I can harvest.

The question for me is the cats. Will they come? Turns out Prince, the Super Kitty, was only vacationing; his owners live in Destin, a very swanky seaside community. He only visits when the owners go out of town and drop him off at the Kitty Hotel on the corner. Guess he considers my place on the other side of the tracks–literally!



5 thoughts on “First garden is in!”

  1. Very nice! I cannot believe how fast you’ve gotten rolling in the new place. Christian’s guidance with the gardening is golden. We will all learn through him. I think it looks great! And kinda glad the visiting feline isn’t around to dig up your hard work!


    1. Well, it was now or never in terms of getting cold weather crops in. Yes, Christian is a seemingly limitless source of information about sustainable gardens, and lifestyle. Grateful he is my neighbor and so generous with his time.


  2. That’s amazing!!! Did you have to dig up the soil before putting the cardboard down? It’s a clever method! Congratulations! It looks great! Thanks for sharing. . . have fun in Tucson =)


    1. No, We just cut through the cardboard and folded it back under after making a well so the plant can grow down into the ground. We put a lot of very rich compost, organic vegetable compost, in each well. Thanks for the encouragement! This is the weed proof method!!


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