Monthly Archives: January 2012

Moving beds…

Today, we shoveled all of the soil mix out of one of our original beds.  It is now sitting on tarps in the middle of our back yard.  Little did we know, we really built the raised beds to last.

Gardening in the back yard is a great way to wear dogs out.  They follow us from one side of the yard to the other, making sure we are safe from all lizards and doves, eat the compost, and supervise the removal and transport of all soil.   This can be quite annoying in the moment, but right now, it is an absolute wonder – all of the dogs are sound asleep!

New digs

“New digs” means a lot of different things to us right now.  We were challenged to become “official” with our urban farm through naming it.  Naming a place has a lot of history to it and goes a long way with creating identity.  Think about the different places you have been, that just by thinking of the name, images, memories, and feelings are conjured up.  Seattle is one of these places for me – I immediately think of Pike Place Market, early 1980s Pike Place Market.

Of course, we rose to the challenge, and as soon as we did the name was right there – 5 Dogs Digs.  Yes, we have 5 dogs now (I can’t figure out how to get a picture of him posted on the sidebar).  And, I’m really hoping, fingers crossed hoping, the dogs realize that “digs” means where they live and hang out, as opposed to meaning that all 5 of them will be digging in the new beds.

Digs, right now, also means a lot of digging going on…  We are in the process of completely redesigning our backyard layout.  The two beds we have been experimenting with are located in a space of our yard that either gets way too little sun in the winter months or way too much sun in the summer.  We have talked about moving or shading them in this last year, but haven’t been motivated enough to take those steps.

Motivation occurred this last week when we ordered 10 fruit trees and decided the best place to plant them was right where the beds are currently located.  We ordered apples, peach, apricot, plum, aprium, kumquat, and Meyer lemon.

To make room to plant the trees, the beds are being disassembled and moved to the east side of our yard – hence, new digs!


I found this great tool to figure out the sun angles or “solar dance” in our possible planting places.  It’s an online solar angle tool.  You just type in your address, and the date and time of year you want to know the sun angles for.  It’s connected to Google Maps, so you can see your land in either map format or satellite.  The link is,-112.0527,20/2012.01.11/13:32


Try it for your gardening area!

We’re back!

Well, it’s been a year plus since I last posted anything about our gardens…

Our little seedlings came up beautifully, grew about 3″ tall and then did nothing.  It has taken a couple of different plantings with seeds from different companies, different times of the year, shaded vs. not shaded, to find out that not all compost is equal!

If you look at the last pictures posted, the soil bed has a LOT of wood chips in it.  It turns out that having a lot of wood chips in compost continues the breaking down process which requires a lot of nitrogen.  This process robs the nitrogen form the plants…  boo hoo!  Long and short of it, we have too much organic material and not enough good mineral content (sand, silt or clay).  Not a problem!  We are going to mix a clay dominant soil in our other raised beds into the compost mix and try another planting.  Keep checking back on our process…