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Using soil amendments is one of the best ways to grow healthy flowers and vegetables.

There are different types of soil amendments that act in different ways.

In order to help explain which soil amendments to use in your garden – I was to do a “How-To” video about the subject.  I hope you find it helpful.
*I must admit that I’m not comfortable watching myself on video – but I just remind myself that it isn’t about how my hair looks or if I repeated the same word too often – as long as I am able to help someone learn about gardening 😉

Isn’t it true that most projects take longer then you plan on?

Still, I always approach projects with optimism that I will be able to finish in just a couple of days.

Of course, things just seem to come up with the kids and work.  I get really busy this time of year when people’s gardens are starting to grow again.

But finally, our new vegetable garden is finished!

Here are the last few steps…

 

 We added compost and manure to the existing soil (1/4 compost, 1/4 manure and 1/2 native soil) and mixed them together.  I finished it off by adding bone and blood meal, which are natural sources of phosphorus and nitrogen that will release slowly over time.  
You can simply add a mixture of compost and manure to your raised bed and no native soil if you desire.  This is easier, but I feel that working the soil down to a depth of 8 inches, helps with the growth of root vegetables.
 
My husband built fences for the raised bed because we have dogs and they don’t always stay out of the garden.  That and they love carrots.

We bought 6′ fence planks and then cut them in half.  A 3 ft. high fence is enough to keep them out.  The fence planks were attached at the top using a narrow strip of wood.  
 The base for the garden is made from a 2″ wide, 10″ high and this piece was 12 ft long.  We used pine wood for our garden.  Pine won’t last forever, but it will last for a few years and is relatively inexpensive.  Of course, you can use cedar, which will last a very long time, but it can be rather expensive.
**There is some controversy regarding using pressure treated wood for vegetable gardens because of the chemicals used in the process and whether or not they ‘leach’ into the soil.
 
My husband built a removable gate into the garden without using any hinges or latches.


As you can see, this removable gate has a narrow strip of wood on the inside and the other strip is on the top of the other side.

The gate slides down into the opening with the bottom strip of wood, resting on the raised bed on the inside and the outer wooden strip on the top fits on the outside.

 You can see how the gate fits, above.
We all had fun putting the sides up…it took three of us – two to hold the sides up while my husband attached the brackets.
The entire time we were putting up the sides, we were visited by a curious and hungry Anna’s hummingbird.  He would stop by every 5 minutes or so.
 

I planted sweet corn, bush beans and cucumbers in my new garden in addition to marigolds, nasturtium and bachelor’s button, which will attract pollinators and help keep harmful insects away.

I promise to show photos as soon as my seedlings come up 🙂

I’ve got a large pile of dirt outside my kitchen window.

But, we are making progress on our new vegetable garden.  Today, we amended the existing soil with equal amounts of compost and aged steer manure.  Then added bone and blood meal, which are natural sources of phosphorus and nitrogen.

Here are pictures of what we did today.  (Not super exciting, but we are getting there).


(If you’re looking for some new tools for gardening click here).


Four of my favorite things….my husband, daughter, dogs Missy & Tobey and compost!
Sprinkling bone meal (Beware of dogs digging afterward – they love the smell of bone and blood meal).
Everyone joins into to mix the compost, manure, bone and blood meal with the existing soil.
Isn’t it interesting how fresh dirt attracts both dogs and little boys?
Our next step is to put up the sides and fence.  Then we will rake the soil smooth and get the irrigation ready.
I can’t wait to plant seeds!
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I must admit that I didn’t do much of the work today in the vegetable garden.  I was busy preparing dinner for Sunday night, which is my daughter Ruthie’s 14th birthday party.  I made my special ‘Baked Spaghetti’ with onions, garlic, tomato sauce, sausage, green peppers, herbs and of course – spaghetti. 
I had to make 3 batches to feed everyone.  Our extended family is coming over along with Ruthie’s friend.

I kept the kitchen window open so that I could watch their progress while I was cooking.  I don’t keep a screen on my kitchen window since I have a hummingbird feeder in front of the window and I like to take pictures without the screen in the way.
I did get a visit today from a female Anna’s hummingbird.  She was 3 feet away from me while I stood at the kitchen sink.  I am so thankful that she didn’t fly in the house.
I made an Angel Food Heath Bar dessert for the first time.  I got it out of an Amish cook book that I saw when we visited Amish country in Indiana last year.  It has angel food cake, caramel, whip cream and heath bar in it.  The kids had fun watching me make homemade caramel.  I had fun tasting it 😉

I’m so excited for this 3-day weekend.

How about you?
What are you doing this weekend?

I just love Mondays….

But, I must admit that my love for Mondays is rather new.  I didn’t always enjoy sitting in traffic, headed for my office in downtown Phoenix, where I worked as a landscape designer.  (I did enjoy my beautiful office that overlooked the city from the 14th floor).

Fast forward to 5 years later, and I find Mondays refreshing.  For one, the kids are back in school after a hectic weekend, trying to get their projects finished on time.  I also love that Monday is a fresh start.  I rarely have time to garden on the weekends, so Mondays is a wonderful time to step outside and see what is flowering, smell the subtle fragrance of my desert trees and most importantly – see what has developed in my vegetable garden.

Two weeks ago, I planted my fall vegetable garden – on a Monday.  It all started with a visit to our local Home Depot, where I picked up bagged compost, aged steer manure, bone meal and blood meal.
 Earlier, we had ripped out what was left of our summer vegetable garden, leaving only our basil and oregano plants behind.  Since I had removed the shade cloth from the garden, I put in two plastic chairs to protect the basil and oregano from the sun.
We added a 3 inch layer of compost and 3 inches of aged steer manure.  Then I sprinkled both blood and bone meal on top.  We then lightly raked the layers together and then waited a week before planting our vegetable seeds.

We placed stepping stones through the middle so that we will have easy access to our vegetables.

I buy my seeds from different sources.  I have Burpee, some from Botanical Interesta, but I usually buy mine at the local Big Box store.
We decided to plant cucumbers, carrots, green onions, spinach, leaf lettuce and cauliflower.
I let each of the kids pick out what kind of seed they wanted to plant.

Decisions, decisions….

Gracie loves carrots, so that is what she picked to plant.
My son, Kai, planted the green onions and my daughter, Ruthie, planted the lettuce.
I finished up planting the rest of the seeds, using my top secret vegetable garden tool.   

I will share my special tool with you soon 🙂

 I had planted the sweet corn a few weeks ago, since they need to be in the ground by the end of August for best results.

So, do you know what you will be doing today?

I will be stepping out in to my vegetable garden, seeing what seedlings have started to sprout.

Stay tuned for how to plant garlic and learn about my ‘secret’ gardening tool.



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I hope you all had a great weekend and are off to a good start for the week.

**THERE ARE 2 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER YOUR MONTHLY GARDEN BOUQUET FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER.**


Please email me a photo of your bouquet, or leave me a link to your blog post with you bouquet in the comments section of this post.  I will then feature your bouquet and a link back to your blog.


I hope you decide to take the time to send me your bouquet.  I do enjoy seeing the beautiful flowers from your garden 🙂