May 21, 2009

Boxes For My Bounty

Neal has completed all four of my square foot gardening boxes and they look great, even without my bounty planted in them yet. I sure am one lucky girl to be married to such a handy and patient guy. Thanks, honey!

Aside from the the fact that our fence is rickety and old and we have a pitiful amount of grass on the ground, it really is a beautiful sight, isn't it? The white box to the left is planted with onions, and the black pot in front is dill, that I set out there temporarily to get good sun exposure. See that white garbage pail in the back corner? That's filled with alpaca poop, waiting to be turned into more compost and paca poop tea!

We tried to stick to the Square Foot Gardening requirements as much as possible, but we fudged a little on the soil mixture because vermiculite was $35 a bag! Our boxes contain a mixture of compost (our own mix plus some purchased mushroom compost), peat moss and vermiculite, just not in the exact proportions recommended in the book. My enviro-conscious self was a bit hesitant about the peat moss and vermiculite, due to the mining and non-renewable aspects, but I decided to abide by the recommendations this time and see how well it works. That reminds me of my mother's philosophy about recipes. When trying a new recipe, she would always prepare it straight by the book the first time, then make notations and adjustments according to her liking for the next time. So goes my attitude about gardening.

While Neal was busy making boxes and filling them with our soil mixture, I was busy taking pictures (of course), and watering pansies gifted to us by one of our neighbors. OK, I was having a cocktail, too, but who's taking notes?

You see, our neighbor's family owns a wholesale nursery business and every year she gets gobs and gobs of plants for free (lucky girl). These plants are supposedly the dregs of society, the castoffs, the ones bound for the dumpster, but they fall into my favorite category...FREE! Not only did our neighbor gift us with two flats of pansies, she also gave us an eggplant plant, a cayenne plant and a banana pepper plant because she had no more room. How lucky is that? And, her timing was perfect because I was wondering what I was going to plant in those empty containers on our front stoop.

And believe it or not, I ran out of room too, so I Paid It Forward by planting some pansies in Herm and Eileen's patio containers, which were empty and calling me to fill them. Herm and Eileen are out of town for a few weeks, and I'm hoping the patio pansies will be a nice Welcome Home surprise for them.

Back to the watering pansies part of this story...while I was at Herm and Eileen's watering their newly planted pansies, I got the sneaking suspicion I was being watched. And boy, were my suspicions right on. A mother robin was sitting on her nest, right outside the back door, atop the electrical box...just feet away from where I was watering. She flew off the first time I tried to get near, but she later returned and obliged me a photo opportunity. Another beautiful moment in time, courtesy of Mother Nature.


frugalmom said...

Your boxes look great! They will be overflowing with bounty before you know it.

And how sweet of you to pass on your good fortune of some free flowers....Im sure they will be happily surprised when they return home to such pretty pots on the porch. said...

Your raised beds are gorgeous! And you are such a sweet neighbor. That will be a great surprise for them when they return. Cute little birdie too - won't it be nice to see the babies when they hatch and watch them learn to fly? Spring is such a wonderful time of year - and your post reflects it perfectly!

I see Frugalmom has been visiting you. Careful what you write - she has a LONG memory and will be sure to use it against you ;-)

Anonymous said...

your boxes are beautiful and they aren't even filled yet!
and i love that your neighbor passes on her bounty to you like that and then you pass it on to another neighbor :)

i cant wait to see your boxes covered in green and happy plants :)

we have a porch bird ourselves and i have to be super careful she doesn't get into the house... also she tends to dive so close that i feel her wings brush against my face when she leaves the nest - it always scares the crap out of me!

frugalmom said...

Dont listen to a word Penny says. She just likes to get me in trouble.

Lilla said...

Thanks for all the compliments. It is exciting to witness all this new change and growth, isn't it? I planted my garden boxes a couple of days ago and wouldn't you know it's been windy and rainy ever since! I've been worried sick about my tomatoes. Updates to come.

Now, Penny and ladies behave yourselves. Don't make me come over there!!! said...

Well, ok. But don't say I didn't warn ya......

Susie said...

Love the robin's nest. We are blessed with two nests, that I know of, in our neighborbood and are enjoying watching for the babies.

I don't know about you, but I miss the beautiful blue jays and cardinals from Louisiana. I don't see many of those these days.

Lilla said...

Hey Susie, yes I do miss the blue jays and cardinals. I've seen what I think are a few blue jays here in the city, but no cardinals. I do like the magpies around here, though. And we have the most incredible little mountain bluebirds on our property in Westcliffe. They are such a vibrant, rich blue.