gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

When we were still living in Portland, I wrote a post about getting serious about gardening as a renter. Since then, we’ve picked up and moved cross-country, and left behind several garden beds’ worth of lovingly built organic soil, two enormous compost heaps, and a summer vegetable harvest for the new tenants to (hopefully) appreciate and enjoy.

Now we’re in South Carolina and starting all over again. And again, we plant a garden not knowing how long exactly we’ll stay in this house. The house is GORGEOUS, actually, but we’re hoping in the not-too-distant future to be able to buy a home of our own. Solution: container gardening! If all goes well, we’ll be able to pick it all up — containers and soil and the fruits of our labor — and transfer it to the new place when the time comes. I’m all the more motivated to do so since good garden soil isn’t exactly cheap. Fill dirt just won’t cut it; you want a soil mix that’s fluffy, that has a lot of organic matter and that retains water but not too much. Here are a couple of different takes on the ideal soil mix for raised beds, and an easy tool for calculating how much soil you’ll need to fill your boxes or containers.

We got down to business yesterday, building two raised beds in the backyard:containerplantingThese are 4×8 feet boxes made out of untreated wood. It took us about an hour and a half to put them together, mostly because the mosquitos were so intense that we had to do a little dance every few seconds to keep them off. (The insect life here! It feels like we’re on a different planet!) We’re putting a few layers of cardboard on the bottom to suppress the grass and because we can’t be 100% sure that the previous tenant did not apply some horrific weed/insect killer here.

The backyard is going to be a lovely spot, especially with the patio and the cool shade of the trees (the sun here is also of quite a different caliber than in Portland…) and, of course, culinary herbs to be picked just outside the kitchen door.

containerplanting-2The front yard gets the most sun, and here I planted mostly herbs, lettuce, and sorrel in small self-watering containers.containerplanting2 containerplanting-5It’s small, for now, but it’s a start!

One thought on “Putting down roots on rented soil — again

  1. Sean Kerr says:


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