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Friday, October 03, 2003

Digging in

Laying the groundwork for glory by Emily Green, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, October 2, Page F9, (Free LA Times Registration required) is a great look at what you need to do to improve the soil in any garden, with a specific look at the soils of Los Angeles.

I have needed to do this exact thing in my garden for a long time, but simply couldn't bring myself to face the work invovled. When we moved in 7 years ago, I did amend the back shade garden, but it looks like it needs more.

The article also lists 4 areas in Los Angeles where you can pick up free compost, courtesy of LA County.

13 Labs Garden

I saw a reference to this blog in one of my RSS feeds and it looks like a neat site.

It is always interesting to me to see how others interact with their gardens. This is also another gardener in a cold climate, so there might be some good information for those of you who have to deal with killing frosts, etc.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Roses and Raised beds

The Lady Banks Roses I planted for the front yard trellis seem to be settling in. Something is munching on the leaves a bit, but otherwise they look healthy. The other large rose I moved is doing well, also. I took a HUGE rootball when I moved it, so I really didn't expect too many problems.

I am starting to investigate changing the large, triangular bed in the back garden into a raised bed. Nothing I have planted there has taken off, even if they are designed for the deep shade I have there. I think the soil is just too poor (not friable enough) and simply chokes the roots. I wanted to calculate the area of this bed, but could not remember any formulae for calculating the area of a triangle. Of course, a quick search turns up this page and this page, with explanations and calculators.

It looks like I would need about 110 cubic feet of topsoil to build it up. I need to find a bulk source somewhere in the city and then figure out how to get that much soil into the back garden. One major limitation is that there is no access by truck or even Bobcat loader to the back garden. Everything would have to be delivered via wheelbarrow. We once moved about a 1/2 ton of compost this way, but it took more than a few days. I will also have to select a method to enclose 2 sides of the area. I already have a low wall of recycled cement on the longest side, but the others will need retaining wall blocks or some other method to contain the soil.

Halloween preparations are being combined with garden cleanup for the next few weeks. I purposely leave some leaves and other garden refuse around to soften the cement driveway for the trick-or-treaters approach. Even in California, I try to give a little of the feeling of Fall with crunching leaves and hanging branches. After Halloween passes, it will be time for some serious Fall/Winter cleanup.

Until then, keep digging!