Scenes from Shelter in Place, Part 3: More Room to Grow

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had plans to increase our gardening space this year.  Each of the last two years, we’ve added new raised, fenced beds on the side of the property that gets warm afternoon sun.  This year, we wanted to make more space to grow things that can’t take hot afternoons, so we decided to create a fenced space on the side of the house that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.

Here’s a “before” shot of the space.


We started with a delivery of 5 cubic yards of “excellent blend” and composted chicken and mixed horse/cow manures from Aptos Landscape Supply.

Over the course of a month, we turned the blank slate into a beautiful, functional space.  We pulled the oxalis and other weeds, fenced the area, and made pathways out of wood chips and sandstone.  You’ll notice that we scorched the outside of the raised beds, which we constructed from douglas fir.  This is a Japanese method called shou sugi ban, which makes the wood more waterproof, and also protects against insect damage.  We decided to try this instead of building the beds out of more durable, but more expensive, redwood.


I’m excited to have a dedicated shady space to grow greens.  They’re enclosed in wire to prevent birds from snacking on them.


We’re growing peas as well, also protected from hungry little birds.


Strawberries, too!


Bush beans, in different states of emergence.

We’re hardening off our tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers before we plant them in our sunny-side beds.  Nighttime temperatures have not been reliably warmer than 50 degrees, so we’re watching the forecast and waiting patiently for optimal planting conditions.


I wish you could have smell-o-vision to smell our lilac.


Finally, the succulents in the greenhouse are showing a lot of color right now.  Here are some of my favorites.

Given our new public health orders, we’ll be home until at least the end of May.  Again, I have nothing but gratitude to be in this place, where we have lots of space and so many ways to pass the time.


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