Concrete Backyard

This January we moved to the little city of Redding, California. When we arrived, belongings stacked to the roof of our rental truck, we had only ever seen our rental house on Trulia. We drove the 685 miles from San Diego all the way up the 5 in good faith, and in one day! Trust me you do not want to do that drive with a toddler in only one day!

I had dreams of starting a glorious organic garden. Scatter some seeds here, water some plants there and viola, a luscious cottage garden. I had never gardened before- how hard could it be? In San Diego I had faithfully composted all my kitchen scraps in a tumbler, longing for the day that I would start my garden. Naturally, I had to take my nearly finished compost with me- I was not going to leave that precious black gold behind!

So we arrived to a beautiful, if humble, 1930’s cottage located a short walk outside of the downtown district. We unpacked our truck, compost and all. It was perfect! We knew God had truly blessed us with this house. There was one small challenge however. Our backyard was a small strip of concrete with a garden bed that was a discombobulation of unfinished compost, weeds and dead tree roots.

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Above you can see our skinny backyard, complete with heating system taking up the pathway.

 

Under the Patio

And in the other direction is our patio, with old cracked concrete and a sad collection of outdoor furniture.

Loving a good challenge I rolled up my sleeves and donned my gardening gloves. Having absolutely no idea what I was doing, I dug out all the crap from the garden bed. I separated all the compost and placed it in it’s own pile at the side of the house and I threw out all the roots and weeds I could wrestle out of there.

And so began a steep learning curve that I am still on today. I was not about to let a crappy concrete backyard get in the way of my beautiful garden. Over the two months of February and March, I turned that backyard above into this.

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As you can tell, my backyard is still very much a work in progress. Yet over the past two months I have managed to:

  • Make temporary slightly raised vegetable beds
  • Plant some perennials to attract pollinators
  • Work to improve the soil in the garden bed
  • Experiment with different composting methods
  • Start some crops from seed, and
  • Follow an organic approach to my gardening

I am so looking forward to sharing with you some of my experiments- both successes and failures- from this short season in future posts.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Join me on a Journey

This winter I moved into a new house with my handsome husband and our little toddler. We moved into a charming cottage in Northern California but- it’s a rental! With no prior experience, I am setting out on a journey to turn my little (rented) garden lot into an organic cottage paradise. The challenges I face are numerous. How do you tell the difference between a seedling and ‘weedling’ in the vegetable patch? How do you make changes to a garden when you are a renter? How do I spend as little money on a garden that will only be mine for a brief period of time? How do I make my stupid tomato plants bear fruit?!

I will be trying my best to answer these questions, as well as so many more. So join me you brown thumbs and garden maverick wannabes, let us stumble through the freshly mulched soil together. And join me too, you green-thumbed gurus- please feel welcome to comment when I’m accidentally pruning my roses to death! Let us embark on this gardening journey together.

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