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look for the girl with the sun in her eyes

Liliana and the snow-free garden

This past weekend Noah told me I wasn’t allowed to do anything, as it was a yearly personal milestone of which I do not wish to speak about. I was to do work, no chores, nothing. He said he’d do all of it. And he did. And I didn’t leave the house once on Saturday. I spent most of the day outside in the sun and it was awesome. I’m going to soak up every positive-temperatured snow-free day I can.

Last week I started building a raised flowerbed. Our landlords gave the go-ahead on it (because they’re rad) and I finally had a snow-free day to do it. And I had help.

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My time was limited, so we didn’t get very far that evening. Also, I got frustrated a few times because I’m apparently not a master carpenter. I tried using the drill in the wrong direction. I took out a screw, then tried to put another in a different hole forgetting to switch the drill back to the correct direction. I stripped the hole I’d just drilled. Whoops. I didn’t make that mistake again.

This past weekend, with my whole Saturday off, we finished it.


I used the Pioneer Woman’s raised bed instructions for the main part of the bed. I changed it a bit, using two-foot boards instead of four-foot boards on the short sides.

For the inside, I lined it with thick layers of old newspaper, filled it with a mix of top soil, compost, and manure (three big bags of each), and topped it off with a covering of wood chips.


I can’t wait to fill it with flowers. We have two flowerbeds currently, but they’re both on the south side of our buildings and don’t get much sun.

I got a giant truckload of wood chips last fall and covered the garden with them after harvest. I still have two big piles of them that are nicely rotting away, which is where I got the covering for the flowerbed. I checked how decomposed the ones on the garden are and was pleasantly surprised.



The soil is full of moisture, even though the top layer of wood chips is dry. If you haven’t heard of this method of gardening, here is the CliffsNotes version: no tilling, no watering, little weeding. Sounds good, right? This is my third year using this method, but my first year using wood chips. It works, and I love it.

The long version is definitely worth the watch. The method is called Back to Eden. The video is about an hour and a half long, but it’s fascinating. I’ve watched it three times already. Totally worth it.


My seedlings are still teeny, as we don’t have any south-facing windows. They get max 2 hours of direct sunlight daily, but I know once they’re outside they’ll flourish.

Is it June 1st yet?

title: lucy in the sky with diamonds by the beatles

Categories: the garden project

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kami Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 9:39 am

    Yay for gardening and spring except for can the wind go away for jsut one day pretty please?!

    Happy personal milestone of which you do not like to speak. I had it in my calendar and then still forgot to wish you a happy day.
    So glad you are blogging again and that Noah have you a special day. You deserve it!

    • jenwilson Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 1:44 pm

      It’s been really windy here, too. But remember last spring when there were TEN MILLION MOSQUITOES? I’m hoping the wind takes them away and kills them forever.

  • Kristan Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 1:36 pm

    I covered my garden with all the fallen leaves from my tree in the fall, and I can also say that my soil is nice and soft and moist and decomposing. This will be my first year not tilling the garden and I’m super stoked! Love your posts about your garden! :)

    • jenwilson Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 1:46 pm

      That is awesome!!! Leaves are great as well. I mixed some into my mulch, as we didn’t have tons of leaves. :)

  • Angella Sunday, May 18, 2014, 8:36 pm

    Hooray for spring! Matthew’s been dealing with the flower gardens and got the vegetable garden ready for planting. Next weekend, baby!

    • jenwilson Monday, May 19, 2014, 11:07 am

      I can’t wait for planting!!!!!