The Garden of Merrick: 2015 edition ?>

The Garden of Merrick: 2015 edition

Despite our efforts to live a more relaxed and not so overly-planned life, we seem to be awfully busy. I’m not complaining, because the plans we have almost always involve spending time doing things we love, but I miss being away from our house so much. Thankfully, the clouds happened to part (literally) this past weekend and Josh and I found ourselves with a Saturday free of commitments. After a trip to the Portland Farmers Market for our weekly groceries, we decided to spend some time in our backyard, prepping for spring.

Our first task was to build a better system for containing our raspberries. When we planted them last spring, we underestimated how much they would grow, so when some of the plants shot upwards of eight feet, we threw together a quick “fence” to keep them from falling to the ground. We quickly realized that wasn’t going to work, and decided to build something more permanent but never really got around to it before winter. But luckily this unusually warm February weather allowed us to get outside and address the wild and crazy raspberry bushes threatening to poke our eyes out as we walk by them. We are very pleased with the finished product!

DIY Mason Bee House

Once we tackled the raspberries, we built a little house for our mason bees, which I wrote about in last week’s post. When we bought our bees and their tubes at Portland Nursery a few weeks ago, I swooned over the beautiful houses they had for sale. But with prices ranging from $30 to $70, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to buy one. Instead, we decided we’d build one. Luckily I have a husband and father-in-law (the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree!) who save every piece of scrap wood from every project they’ve ever completed, so with just a few small cuts, we were able to build a pretty cute mason bee house for free! I think the bees will like it, don’t you?

But perhaps the most exciting project of the day (I know, I lead such a thrilling life) was planning our garden for the year and even planting a few seeds! We learned a lot about gardening last year, mostly about what crops are worth the effort, so based on those experiences, we made a list of what we’re going to plant in our 2015 garden.

One of the biggest successes from our 2014 garden were our tomaoes, specifically the varieties we grew from seed, so we’re going to be ambitious this year and plant most of our crops from seed. That could lead to some disappointment but gardening is all about trial and error, right? Plus we always have the farmers market to fall back on if necessary.

We’ll be getting more seeds than we’ll be able to use, so I’d love to share seeds. I’m also up for a seed swap, even if you have seeds for varieties I don’t have listed below. In case you are interested in swapping (or just want to know), here’s a list of what we’ll be growing this year:


  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Delicata squash
  • Flowers (wide variety)
  • Green beans
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes (sun gold and brandy wine)


  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Jalapenos
  • Lemon cucumbers
  • Melons (variety TBD)
  • Parsley
  • Tomatoes (lemon boy)

I purchased the seeds from Territorial Seed Company, a company located here in Oregon. They have a huge variety of seeds, plants and gardening supplies so it was hard to keep our list to just the dozen that we chose, but we only have so much garden space so I had to stop somewhere! If you are interested in purchasing seeds, I recommend checking them out. Many varieties are organic, all of them are non-GMO and they offer a refund on any product that you’re not satisfied with. While it’s the first time I have purchased seeds directly from them, I have received their seeds through swap events and was happy with the quality. So, as long as I give them some TLC we should have another successful gardening season!

What are you growing in your garden this year? Are you experimenting with new crops, or sticking to the familiar ones? I’d love to know!

2 thoughts on “The Garden of Merrick: 2015 edition

  1. Hi Emily! Thanks for reading my blog – I'm glad you like it! We use a combination of fertilizers. We got some chicken manure from one of Josh's co-workers and mixed it into the soil this fall, and once we plant our seeds and starts we'll buy some vermicompost (worm castings) to put on top. We get the castings from a guy who has a farm out in Camas and it's very reasonably priced and all natural so we're not using any chemicals. And then we use other basic practices like proper watering techniques and companion planting to keep the plants healthy as they grow. I'm sure there is more that we could do, but we've had two seasons of successful gardening using those methods so we'll keep going with it. Also, my mother-in-law gets really good compost from Al's Garden Center near Beaverton and their plants went crazy last year. I think we're going to get some from them to top off the beds that settled over the winter.

    Thanks for commenting! Have you tried any particular fertilizers?

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