Flower Ave Garden Project: Donkey Sh*t

Yet another amazing friend coming through for me…A good friend Tony, a Cheirmoya and avocado farmer and rancher in Santa Barbara, drove down a truck load of his soil blended with donkey manure or “donkey sh*t” as he called it.

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It’s beautiful and will be a great addition for my beds. I’ve inoculated it over a few days with some native soil from the original beds at the house to create a healthy microbiotic environment.

donkey shit

I am so thankful for these little gifts that continue to show up along the way and help on this journey.

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

~Henry David Thoreau

Flower Ave Garden Project: New Structures

All of the raised beds in the front are IN!! It was an intense day, building into the evening just to get everything done. After about 10 hours of sawing and drilling and measuring and leveling, they were finally finished. It was one of those days that had to be ended with a cold beer in a hot shower.

beds complete

The bottom of each bed is lined with ground covering to prevent weeds. The beds will be filled with soil and soon will be ready to be planted!

bed lining

The greenhouse is changing every day. My fava bean seeds have sprouted and are looking forward to being planted in their permanent home in the beds out front.

fava sprout
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“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”
~ John F. Kennedy

Flower Ave Garden Project: The First Of Many

Today was a great day, we got the first bed built for the front garden! It will serve as the prototype for the rest of the beds going in. It’s constructed of redwood to prevent rotting.

lumber

We framed out the bottom of the bed first, and secured the sides with 4x4s.

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A miter saw was used to cut angles and had a sweet “laser” (insert Austin Power voice here)

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skill saw

We put one more level of 2x6s and were able to complete the first bed!! We’ve got about 5 more of various sizes to construct, but working all the kinks out on this first was was a big step in the right direction.

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“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.”
~William Butler Yeats

Flower Ave Garden Project: Groundworks

 

 

 

 

The greenhouse is really coming together! I got a few more shelves, and put down some mesh covering. This will help wick away water, and keep mud and weeds at bay

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I had lots of stone left over from ripping out landscaping in the back, and I was able to build a little path to the street and line it with fencing. Hopefully this will deter people from walking over the beds. I just got some lily bulbs planted, and they should make for some beautiful edible flowers in the spring and throughout the summer

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“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

Flower Ave Garden Project: The Stakeout

I was able to get a good look at what the garden will be like once the raised beds are in. All of the beds were measured and marked, then outlined with twine

stekout

Some of my first seeding projects took place as well. I soaked my fava seeds before I seeded them, to increase the rate of germination.

soaking favas fava soak

I discovered that my old toques from culinary school make the perfect lining for my seeding trays! They are lightweight and breathable, and will let moisture pass through without falling apart. An education from the Culinary Institute of America, the gift that keeps on giving 😉

toque seeder

I was also able to get my chalkboard wall with my 2013 garden calendar up! Next step is to find someone who can bedazzle the wall with cool chalk art…currently accepting submissions from muralists :p

 calendar

Flower Ave Garden Project: The Kindness Of Strangers

The last two days saw some big changes in the front yard of the garden site. I removed all of the existing plants and grated down the hills of dirt.

Before &  after

Before Pic 2after3

I have to say, I was not able to accomplish this big task alone. The owner of the home had a friend and his daughter visiting from Virginia on vacation. They saw what I was doing and offered to help. They were amazing! SUCH a big help. Mark busted out the chainsaw and, with the help of Julio (another garden helper), they were able to get this giant stump out. And Camille was a pro with the rake!

mark camelle

It is humbling that complete strangers were willing to put in a few hours of hard labor for nothing in return. I think I would still be out there trying to figure out how to get that stump up.

Now that everything is level I can start staking off the borders for the raised bed locations and take measurements for lumber.

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”

~Amelia Earhart

Flower Ave Garden Project: Houston We Have A Greenhouse

I was able to get the irrigation lined up and the greenhouse erected today. It kinda feels like a new friend came to the party. So many fun projects will take place in here!

I found this “pop-up” greenhouse online. It was a good size for the space I have to use and not too priceyImage

My only fear was that it would be like trying to put Ikea furniture together; by the end of it you’re fighting with your partner, 3 screws are mysteriously leftover, and you now have a thing against Swedish people (but that doesn’t last long because then you realize where would you be without those delicious gummy fish [the red ones]).

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In the end, it came together relatively easyish-kinda. But it’s definitely a job for more than 1 person. The box said set-up takes about 30 min-1hr, we were on the latter side of that. If you could set this thing up in 30 min, then you my friend are a master Cub Scout…or a structural engineer.

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The next step is to get shelving set up and the drip system in. And then the fun really begins =}

I was also able to get some agretti starters planted. I re-purposed this hanging shoe organizer to grow the agretti vertically on the outside of this door

Agretti

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”

~Carl Rogers