A Major Milestone! Our 1,700 Square Foot Community Garden Is Prepped!

We are broken and hurting, but very glad to have this one checked off the list! Our 1,700 square foot community garden is fully prepped for the season!

This garden goes through quite the transformation every year. What starts as a mangy, derelict and winter battered garden always transforms into a clean, well kept and bountiful space that’s ready to grow some serious food. It’s a lot of work, but we’ve become really good at preparing it every year. I think we hit a record time this year, it only took us three hours of hard work from beginning to end!

Our process starts with cleaning out all the old detritus left over from winter’s burden. We add in about 10-15 gallons of compost per 40 foot bed, plus we rake in any nearby organics (leaves, broken stems, etc.) into the beds. This is all incorporated into the soil using our small tiller, down to about 6 inches, ensuring we’ve got lots of organics in the soil. From here, we rotate our beds by simply moving the weed fabric we have over each bed.

We primarily use what we call “raised row gardening” at this garden. This is where we’ve essentially created raised beds, just by raising the soil, but without all the expense of wood and other typical “raised bed” structure. The raised soil allows the soil to warm more quickly, which results in objectively better plant growth in the subarctic. The weed fabric we use pulls double duty by offering us soil warming mulch capabilities plus a way to manage a serious chickweed problem.

For those that don’t know, we operate plots F2 and F3 at Fairbanks Community Garden. We’ve been working these plots since 2016 and we’ve got a ton of blood, sweat and tears into our little gardens. We always welcome folks to say hello, so if you see us around, don’t be shy! It fascinates us when this little “social media” thing translates into the “real world” thing.

Some might wonder why, as prolific gardeners, we use community gardens. There’s multiple reasons for it. The biggest of which is that our homestead is off the water grid and that’s no “simple” problem to solve when it comes to gardening. But, we also enjoy the social aspects of gardening. It offers us community and opportunities to talk with newer growers, but also opportunity to learn from others as well. FCG is a tight knit community of some excellent growers, we’re proud to be a part of it!

We’ll have more to say on this garden tomorrow! We want to talk a bit more about the efficiencies that one develops as they practice gardening. But, for now, it’s time for some ibuprofen and maybe a little bit of Bourbon!

That’s All We Wrote!

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