When I set out on this little urban homesteading adventure, I had no idea how hard it would be. Sadly, I am not talking about the physical work. That's hard, but I do it, and then it is done. The hard part is embarking into territory in which is way outside my area of expertise, then standing like a deer in the headlights for fear of making the wrong choice.
We wanted to make raised beds in the front, but that begged the question of what to use. I could use reclaimed wood if I could find it, but that's not uniform and not always available. According to many books and internet sources, redwood or cedar are the best bets for applications like raised garden beds. So I trotted down to the local lumber yard to price them out. While I am sure redwood is awesome, 6 raised beds would set us back a pretty penny. I'm optimistic our beds will work out well, but I can't justify spending a ton of money for something I'm just learning. Thankfully a helpful young salesmen saw the panic and sticker shock in my eyes and suggested I give douglas fir a try. It doesn't have the same lifespan, but it will do the job and let me try my hand at this without sinking too much money in it.
With that decision made, I had to think about how to fill said beds with dirt. There are many different schools of thought on this, all firmly convicted that one way is right and another wrong. You should use dirt, or compost and mix in vermicilite and peat moss. Others think peat moss is an absolute no no. Then at the garden store, there are another half dozen selections with such a wide range it price it was hard to know what to do. I could have spent anywhere from $40-$140 to fill a bed, depending on what I used. At one point I panicked and just left the store with nothing. I was convinced if I came home and did more research or went to another store I'd be sure to find just the RIGHT answer. Eventually I just went and bought a combination of garden soil, compost, manure, and peat moss.
At this point, I had yet to make decisions about what to plant, how close to plant it, when to plant it, etc. I had a stack of wood,bags of dirt and an impending sense of doom that this was all a very silly idea. I was really struggling with this, like losing sleep over why I found it so hard to just put stuff in dirt. I was so caught up in doing everything just right, in doing it perfectly that I wouldn't do anything at all.
This little voice that says "only perfect or not at all" stands in my way all the time. I think about getting out a blog post, but then stop because I think "oh I should have pictures, but the lighting is bad so I can't take pictures." Or then I think, "It's been so long since I blogged, that I better make it masterpiece if I'm going to bother at all." The end result is the same; I get nothing done.
So I finally decided I just needed to build some beds, add some dirt, throw in some seeds and watch magic happen. I did just that, it was cathartic, and our winter garden is sprouting.
More to come, as soon as the lighting is perfect, the yard picked up, the camera battery charged...
In the meantime, I am going to continue on my journey to suck at blogging, but at least I'm doing it!