“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Alfred Lord Tennyson
Spring is in the air in Seattle and once the sun starts shining, this young woman’s thoughts are turning to….planting seeds! After years of neglecting every plant gifted upon me, my green thumb emerged when I realized I could EAT the results of that hard work.
As I walk through Wallingford, I notice raised vegetable beds springing up in any patch of sunshine that our homeowners can locate. Beds are tucked in front rockeries, planting strips and side lawns. If you have not tried it yourself, now is the time to pick one of your favorite veggies, sprinkle a packet of seeds in the ground, keep them well watered until they sprout and look forward to some really local eating in the near future.
A few weeks ago, I picked up a book from the gardening section at the Wallingford library called “One Magic Square” by Australian octogenarian Lolo Houbein. She breaks edible gardening down to a space as small as a 3 foot x 3 foot square and provides a step by step description of how to easily create your own food plot. The book also includes a variety of garden plans that pair plants that like each other together and discusses how much space certain varieties might need.
To get started with your own “Magic Square”:
- Pick a spot: Vegetables require 6-8 hours of sunlight to produce so pick a spot in your yard that gets light throughout the day. Make sure the area is not shaded by existing structures or large trees as the sun moves across the sky. Areas that are sunny in spring might not be as ideal when the leaves are back on deciduous trees and the sun is higher in the sky. Consider a spot that is easy for you to access and has a water source. This will ensure that you water, harvest, and tend the garden because you will be able to see what is growing out there.
- Mark the spot: Raised beds are great for growing vegetables but can be an investment in time and money. Consider using items you might have already like bricks or stones to build the edges of the bed. I have even used a large branches pruned off a tree to create an edge.
- Build the soil: If you had to dig up grass for the new bed you want to make sure it does not come back. First lay down some old cardboard and cover it with twigs and leaves and wet that down to make a weed barrier. Next cover with a few bags of gardening mix and compost. Stoneway Hardware 4318 Stone Way N carries a variety of soil choices for filling in the bed.
- Decide what to plant: To help get you started, check out some local seed sellers like Seattle Seed Company or Uprising Seeds in Bellingham. Purchasing seeds from a grower in the pacific northwest ensures that the seeds have been bred to match our climate conditions. Seattle is in the USDA hardiness Zone 8b and our last frost date is in mid March so start planning now for your 2018 edible garden!