This week I have a new seasonally appropriate Secret Project to share from Tricia in Seattle. Tricia and I are new friends, introduced by our special someone(s) who are great old friends. I am fairly certain if the distance between San Francisco and Seattle was slightly smaller, we would be great new friends, and eventually, great old friends too. Tricia happens to be a very good maker- a very varied, and skilled maker of all sorts. I asked Tricia to share a little something about herself, and she responded with this nice little bit:
Though I’ve got a degree in Interior Design I find I’m happiest when I have a million different projects going on. I’m truly grateful for the not-so-great economy for getting me out from behind a gray cubicle and computer. It’s given me the opportunity to try on many, many hats including: construction, woodworking, metal smiting, jewelry making, gardening, and more recently, knitting. I get pretty excited about anything hands-on that involves learning a new skill.
Here it is, Secret Project number thirty-two:
HOW TO GROW A FALL/WINTER VEGETABLE GARDEN
What did you make?
A Fall/Winter vegetable garden grow!
Why do you make it?
First and foremost I’m a vegetable nerd. There are so many different kinds! Oh the colors! Purple potatoes and cauliflower, golden beats, rainbow carrots?! I get embarrassingly enthusiastic about it. I’m blushing right now. Secondly, I truly believe in the local food movement. It’s a move toward self-reliance and a healthier way to eat. We moved into a house that already has a raised bed, so why not?
How do you make it?
1. Do your research: I hit up my good friend Meghan Fuller, a landscape designer, for gardening information. She has an extensive library of books she was willing to let me borrow. If you live in the Northwest the ONLY book you will need is “Maritime Northwest Garden Guide” by Seattle Tilth. This surprisingly unobtrusive book (magazine sized, really) is packed full of great information. The pages are organized per month and lists seed varieties that grow well in the Northwest area. It covers as far North as Bellingham, WA and as far South as Roseberg, OR.
1. Decide what you want to plant: This is the hardest part, I promise.
2. Order your seeds: I ordered my seeds from Territorial Seeds. They even sent me an extra little package of carrots to donate to my local food bank.
3. Prepare your soil: Put a small layer of compost on top of your soil to keep weeds at bay and feed the ground beneath.
4. Plant seeds according to package directions.
5. Water lightly a couple times of day or let the fall rains do their work.
6. If this is your first garden (like it was mine) you will worry: You will talk to your seeds, assign them personalities, feel shame you didn’t keep them warm enough. You’ll peer closely at the soil everyday and wait in torment for the first sign of a sprout. You will wonder if ANYTHING will grow AT ALL. Then, like a tiny miracle, they will sprout. Every last one. Then you’ll have to thin them out (according to package directions, of course) and it will feel like murder.
Growing your first garden is very melodramatic.
7. Keep the slugs and squirrels at bay:
For slugs: put half of a grapefruit or orange rind at at ground level. The slugs will crawl in the rind and hang out. My slugs come out to party around 9-9:30pm so that is when I go slug hunting. I just pick up the rind and toss the slugs in the yard waste, and replace the rind in the ground. Another thing that works is a couple inches of beer in a plastic container with the rim at ground level.
For squirrels: I’ve heard Reemay works to keep a variety of pests at bay.
8. Watch your garden grow. Love the food you eat. Share how easy it was to do.
How did you learn how to make it?
My good friends Meghan Fuller and Krista Hartrich were a wealth of information as well as my brother-in-law Steve and sister Terry. Also, the amazingly tiny book the “Maritime Northwest Garden Guide” by Seattle Tilth.
Why is making important to you?
As it relates to gardening, it’s simply less spendy. A seed package costs about $2.00 and grows an entire row of veggies. Turns out you barely even have to pay attention to them. Plus, digging in the dirt makes you feel like a hippie princess, all strong, earthy and beautiful.