Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Garden Shenanigans

We’ve been trying to make the most of this Spring-like weather and do a bit of work in the garden. At times, the ivy, blackberry, and laurel battles can seem a bit overwhelming but we’re making progress in a few select areas.

Ben’s pumpkins have sprouted. He lovingly drowns them every morning. They’re going to be hardy souls - if they survive their first few weeks of overwatering. 

The raspberry patch was an overgrown mess and I spent a few good hours last month tearing out all the bushes and tilling the soil. This would have been a project better suited to the Fall, when the plants were semi-dormant, but I was a pregnant mess then, with limited digging abilities. Hopefully I haven’t totally killed our summer harvest. Robbie helped me straighten it up and then I dug some holes for a new trellis. In the rain. Welcome to Spring in Seattle!

The first trellis was only five years old but the original 4x4s had completely rotten through. After a bit of research I decided to use the dreaded treated lumber, provided that we bury the ends in concrete.

The thinking is that the chemicals in the lumber won’t be able to leach into the soil, thanks to the concrete, although there still is the issue of run-off. A number of publications argue that treated lumber is acceptable for trellis for a variety of reasons, but mostly because arsenic (the really nasty component) isn’t particularly mobile, typically only moving an inch or two beyond the wood source. I hope they’re right.

 Chris and his dad poured a bit of concrete into the holes and voila! A trellis.

You can see the old trellis laying against the fence. Those posts used to be four feet tall, but were completely rotten from the ground surface down. 

Our raised beds are made of non-treated wood and, although only two years old, are showing signs of significant rot. A real bummer, since treated lumber is definitely a no-no for vegetable beds. 

This trellis has a improved design: it’s offset so that we can have a path along the fence, allowing the harvest to occur from both sides.

Let’s hope for a nice warm summer - the raspberries are my most favorite thing to harvest in the garden!