April showers in the garden

Despite spring break–and a long break from posting about the garden–we’ve made a lot of progress in the past month.

After building and installing the raised beds, we filled them with a vegetable garden soil mix purchased from Cedar Grove.  Then we gathered materials for laying wood chips on pathways around the beds:

  • For weed barrier that will break down over time, we picked up burlap bags from Seattle Coffee Works, Distant Lands Coffee, and Gatewood family-owned C&P Coffee. Large sheets of cardboard were obtained from our local Wiseman Appliance. Good recycling, and thanks to all of these businesses for the free supplies!
  • Who knew arborist chips were so hard to come by?  After being on the list for free chips through ChipDrop for well over a month and a half with no delivery, then offering to pay but still with no luck, we finally purchased ten yards from Sawdust Supply Company.


A first grade class helped move some of the wood chips and thoroughly enjoyed climbing the temporary hill.

During a work party this past weekend, we used remaining log rounds and soil to build a hugelkultur bed. We dug a shallow trench and layered split log rounds, small branches, greens (fresh leaves, clover, and coffee grounds), and soil into a mound.


In the process, the kids found some awesome earthworms in the pile of dirt and rescued them from our shovels. They also sorted red wrigglers from their castings in a worm bin, and we added the castings as an amendment to the hugel bed.


Here’s the resulting hugel mound, where we plan to plant blueberries and strawberries.  The idea is that the decaying wood will help retain moisture in the bed and slowly break down to feed the plants.

The area by the sidewalk will be part of a sensory garden.

In other news, we start our spring after-school gardening club with Tilth Alliance this afternoon. The fourth grade portable team has their field trip to the Beacon Food Forest scheduled for the first week of June. And the next School Learning Gardens Network meeting, on May 16, will be held at Gatewood!


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