Cheap and Easy Soil Enrichment
A good bed of soil should be moist, but not too wet... and I've read the easiest way to achieve this is to mix in some organic matter. Luckily, the city gives away leaf compost at the various Community Environment Days held around the city. We borrowed a car (thanks Joe!) and hit the Lower Sherbourne Community Park to pick up one cubic meter of moist, spongy leaf compost on Saturday. The amount ended up being perfect for our four little beds.
There were a handful of booths set up on the rainy Saturday morning, including representatives for The Earth Machine, the St. Lawrence Market Children's Garden, and the City. Besides picking up a load of compost, we could've purchased various recycling bins, a backyard composter, a rain barrel, rain gauges (?)... anything you need to live a bit greener. Check out when they'll be in your neighbourhood.
We spent Sunday mixing the compost into the garden, and laying a brick outline around each of the four plots. The brick laying was a lot more work than I expected! But it looks nice now, which is something I know my landlord was concerned about.
It's crazy what you find buried in the ground. I found a Tupperware container buried 6" below the surface. I don't want to think about what was in it. We discovered a curved piece of metal with a nail attached to it. I saw that the neighbour's have matching nail and hooks sticking out of their garage, so at least I know where that came from.
As far as I figure, cats are going to be the biggest problem, in regards to critters. There's a whole garage of feral cats next door, and I know they'll try to use the garden for a litter box. I've read that scattering lemon/orange peels in the garden will help repel them. Planting lemon balm/grass helps, as well (cats generally do not like anything citrus-y). Blasting them with the hose will do the trick, too.
The four plots are ready for their seeds/transplants now. We just have to wait for the right time to plant them. Most plants just need to wait until after the last frost, which I think has past now. Some are early starters, like onions, lettuce and spinach, so I'll be planting those tomorrow evening (the forecast looks nice for the next few days- so no rain to drown out the seeds). I've already got the seeds soaking in some water to jump start the germination process. I'm anxious to plant!
Mangy cat photo taken by Stephanie Town.
Check out more photos of the garden progress here:
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