|My go-to gardening books|
Mel leaves out one important piece of advice in his book. Find some volunteers to help stir the ingredients.
Here is where Mel's simple mix got a bit complicated. Being about as dense as the bags of peat moss we spread out on the tarp, I had overlooked one small fact. Peat moss is compressed in its package and once it is released into the wild it doubles in volume. Let's go back to Jamie Oliver's Guinness stew recipe. I had just accidentally added in four cups of Guinness instead of two. In order to get the proportions close to what Mel suggested it meant sending my volunteer labour back to the gardening store for more compost. The good news is my garden boxes ended up with twice as much of Mel's mix as I had originally planned on. The bad news is, not surprisingly, it also cost twice as much as I had budgeted for.
Here is my new and improved garden. There are two things to note in this picture. In the bottom right corner is my garlic crop, looking very promising at this early stage. Garlic gets planted in the fall, and tends to poke out of the ground about the same time as the daffodils and tulips. Not as pretty as flowers, but much better tasting.
If you look closely you will also see some little white things sprinkled throughout the soil. When I was at the gardening store I decided to buy just one bag of vermiculite and for my second bag get perlite. The reason? Perlite is similar in action to vermiculite, but costs considerably less. It turned out to be a classic case of getting what you pay for. Had I bothered to read the section in All New Square Foot Gardening about vermiculite vs. perlite I would have seen this tidbit:
"...because it's white, it looks rather unsightly and unnatural."
My garden now looks like it has just snowed. Not quite the look I was trying to achieve. Especially when the morning after doing this garden upgrade I woke up to the real thing.
I think I need to add one more book to my collection. Gardening For Dummies.