The garden project: marigolds

week two

I came here last, bringing
marigolds from the round garden
outside the kitchen.
—Donald Hall, “Maple Syrup”

The last few weeks have been chaotic and I’ve had a challenge focusing on the garden project. The goal is to build six wood container boxes. But my weekly lumber allowance disappeared rather quickly; cost more over $17 to build two 4’x4′ boxes. The other challenge is the composting I did in the fall of ’09 only filled one box. So know I have to spend a few extra dollars purchasing topsoil.

Since I don’t own a motorized tiller, I resorted to a very old method of preparing the soil for planting. The New Self-sufficient Gardener by John Seymour offers an old English tradition for raised beds preparation. Basically, get a spade and dig down 6 to 10 inches and flip, or turn, the soil. After turning the soil in each box, I used a garden weasel tool to break up the soil even more. Finally, I added about two to three inches of topsoil before I began planting marigolds around the perimeter of the box. One source I read stated that marigolds provide an organic pest repellent. This is the first year I’ve used marigolds in the garden.

The garden project begins

Mid April Garden

The last couple of years the garden project goals have been simple: spend less than $100 on garden supplies (seeds, plants, etc.), use native or found materials (like creek stones or fallen, dead wood from local trees to make garden borders) and avoid using pesticides or herbicides (with the exception of natural, organic pesticides like cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon & the like).

This year I took the liberty to construct garden boxes with the goal of making raised bed/container gardens. The garden boxes are made from 2″x6″ pine boards and measure four feet square.

I began the garden project in April.

I’m using a variety of sources to put together this year’s garden project. But the primary gardening strategy handbooks I use include Trowel & Error by Sharon Lovejoy and The New Self-sufficient Gardener by John Seymour.