Monday, May 24, 2010

Another Garden Tour

Last Thursday evening I braved the cold stormy evening in the gardens of Bryce Meldrum and Rick Hjelm with a handful of women from the Lake City Ward Relief Society. We had  a great time, learned a lot and--can  you believe--it didn't more than sprinkle while we were out! Amazing!!

The Meldrum's Garden
Bryce Meldrum's garden was first.  He showed us his rows of lush raspberry bushes and strawberries that have been composted with plenty of Tagro.

He stressed the importance of digging your soil deep and using lots of amendments (such as Tagro and composted leaf mulch) to keep the soil fertile year after year.

Bryce also stressed the importance of purchasing varieties of plants and seeds that are suitable for our Northwest environment.  He warned that many of the big box stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot sell plants that do ok BUT if you want plants that do great get Ed Hume seeds or Territorial Seed company seeds.
His rows of vegetables have been hiding under  a small hoop system greenhouse through the winter.  The greenhouse is easy to make using just PVC pipe and clear plastic purchased at any hardware store.  Under the hoop he has grown carrots, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and much more. He feeds his family fresh vegetables year round using this hoop system.

These peas were planted in December under plastic milk and juice jugs (with the bottom cut out).  The jugs act like a tiny greenhouse and help the peas get a good early start. This is where I got my idea for early starting tomatoes last year.

 We enjoyed visiting his lush and prosperous garden.  He is a wealth of information and is willing to answer questions anytime. He also suggested that the public library is a great source of information for new gardeners.

These snowball viburnum weren't an official part of the tour but they were so beautiful I couldn't resist taking a snapshot.  I planted two of these bushes in my yard last year but they are still teeny tiny.

The Hjelm's garden
Rick Hjelm welcomed us into his backyard to show us his garden.  he has been working the same garden for 20 years.  They make use of everything they grow and enjoy using what they produce in their kitchen and giving it to their grown children.

Like Bryce, Rick stressed the importance of adding good amendments to  your soil.  He adds sawdust and manure and tills it in really good every year.  He too has devised systems to keep his tomato plants warm during the early spring with mini greenhouses made out of wood frames and clear garbage sacks.

His carefully designed and planted garden looks very simple but yields great results every year.  He has strawberries, thyme, rosemary, onions, garlic, carrots, cucumber, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and chard.  He always has plenty to share with his children and had garlic in storage from last year's harvest that he shared with all of us.  He also sent each of us home with a tomato plant or two.

I thoroughly enjoyed these garden tours.  I came home inspired and spent as much of my Saturday as I could spare out in my garden.  Isn't it fun to see how other people do things?!

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