Watch our garden grow

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Pictures of the garden are below, but before I get to that, I wanted to share the even better news of the weekend. You may remember this post, where I discussed my blood pressure struggles. I’ve fought semi-high blood pressure for years now, and have resisted going to the doctor for it, partially out of denial, but mainly because I dreaded the idea of being on blood pressure medication for the rest of my life. My prior attempts to bring it down have all failed, and I knew that sooner or later, I would have to bite the bullet and start taking drugs. That is, until I started eating the way I’m eating now. I had seen a significant drop in that post I linked, but yesterday when I tested my blood pressure at one of those self-serve things at the grocery store, I was shocked.

My blood pressure was 117/80.

Folks, that is the first time I’ve seen a normal blood pressure reading that I can remember since I got married.* That was 2005. There is no doubt that this little plan is working.

Anyway, the garden! Here are some finished pictures for you. First, the boxes as they looked before we planted.

This is what a square foot garden is supposed to look like, if I do say so myself. This box turned out the best, the others are slightly less even in their divisions. Overall, we were happy with how they turned out.

A better view of all three

We made three boxes, here’s a better look. Next, here’s what they look like all planted.

Not bad! Here’s some close ups with a rundown of what’s in each box.

Okay, on the left we have some broccoli (and I don’t have high hopes for that one in the back), in the middle two rows we have red cabbage and a couple more broccoli, on the right we have three squares of various lettuces and some rosemary.

This box is easy. All strawberries. Mmm, strawberries. Celine really wanted to grow them, and the book suggests an entire box for them, since each plant only produces a few. We’ll see how they turn out, they’ve already got flowers on them.

Okay, here we have three different types of tomatoes in the back, three boxes of lemon cucumbers on the right, two basil plants in the middle, a jalapeno pepper and bell pepper plant in front of the basil, and in the front row, another rosemary, thyme and lavender. The flowers are marigolds, which as supposed to deter pests. Not sure that’s enough to make a difference, but at least they are pretty.

I mentioned building cages for two of these boxes, here’s a look with those in place.

No super pretty, but they get the job done of keeping out the pests (rabbits and deer mostly around here). I’m still perplexed on the back box, since many of those plants can’t be confined by such a small space. I may end up building a makeshift fence, at least for that box. But that’s a project for next weekend.

Finally, here’s a picture that Celine took of our beautiful yard in bloom. I’m really loving the Oregon spring so far, and we’re just getting started!

*Please note that I am not blaming my high blood pressure on my marriage! It’s just a good frame of reference. In fact, if I wasn’t married to Celine, I’m sure my blood pressure would be much higher by now.


  • Breakfast: Granola bar and a banana
  • Lunch: Leftover beans and rice
  • Dinner: Vegan burrito from Taco Del Mar
  • Snacks: Maybe some chips at work? I don’t remember
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, whiskey and coke


  • Breakfast: Nothing. I accidentally skipped it, what can I say?
  • Lunch: Leftover beans and rice
  • Dinner: General Tso’s “chicken” at Marco Polo. When you put “chicken” in quotation marks, it means “not chicken.” I think this was vegetarian, but not vegan (probably had butter in it).
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, beer


  • Breakfast: Nothing again. We slept late.
  • Lunch: Vegan veggie burger and a salad
  • Dinner: Veggie pizza, with cheese
  • Snacks: Chocolate chip cookies
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, beer


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The garden is planted! Unfortunately, it was too dark for a photo opportunity, but I’ll try to get some pictures up tomorrow. We also made cages for two of the boxes, but I’m a little perplexed about what to do with the third. That box has tomatoes and cucumbers in it, so the vines need to grow up the nylon netting I’m going to set up soon. That means a cage won’t go over the top of them. Any suggestions? We have deer in our neighborhood, so if I don’t protect them, they’ll be eaten. I really don’t want to build a fence, but I need some sort of enclosure that’s easy to navigate. That might be this weekend’s project.

Anyway, pictures tomorrow.


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and dried cranberries
  • Lunch: leftover Brussels sprout stuff
  • Dinner: Salad and baked potato with soy sour cream and fake bacon bits. And butter.
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, beer


  • Breakfast: Banana and an Odwalla bar (strawberry and pomegranate)
  • Lunch: Basic Bowl with peanut sauce from Blossoming Lotus
  • Dinner: Beans and rice and a salad
  • Snacks: Some wheat thins
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, beer

Great weekend

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Sunday was an awesome day on the coast with an old friend that happened to be in Salem for the weekend (hi, Jessica!). I think it’s probably been around 10 years since we’ve seen each other, which was far too long. We mostly drove the coast taking in the view, and also making a stop at the Rogue Brewery. Awesome day, but totally not vegan.

Back on track for Monday and today, though. Still working on the garden, building the cages tonight to keep out the critters. I started them last night, but alas, they won the battle. I will win the war. Pictures when they are complete.


  • Breakfast: Caprese omelet from Word of Mouth with red potatoes and toast. Omelet had eggs, tomatoes, basil and feta cheese. Delicious.
  • Lunch: Clam chowder and an oyster shot.
  • Dinner: Vegetarian sopitos at a mexican joint (these had a bit of cheese on them)
  • Drinks: Water, coffee, beer


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar, walnuts and cranberries
  • Lunch: Almond butter, banana and honey sandwich
  • Dinner: Brussels sprouts and shallots in a vinegary sauce with brown rice. It was pretty awesome.
  • Snacks: Veggies, pita chips and wheat thins, all with hummus
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, beer

Square foot garden – harder than you think


So, this is the post I’ve been promising. I’ve been mulling this over for weeks and weeks, but I finally decided that I’m going to plant a garden this year. And not just any garden, a square foot garden. I got the book on this technique last year, but it was really too late to give it a go, plus we moved in August. I’d almost decided to not do it again this year, but one thing finally changed my mind. It was the state of the very back of our yard:

Here’s a better look at the disaster that was the waist high grass:

It was a true eyesore, and the stuff growing back there wasn’t really even grass. It was the accumulation of a few failed gardens and a lot of weeds. I just thought it would never look good if I was only mowing it. So, I bought all of the stuff to make 3 garden boxes to take up some of the space. But first, we mow:

Much better, right? Then it was time to actually build the boxes. Those of you that know me well also know that “building” isn’t exactly my strong suit. It doesn’t come up in my list of strengths in any of those fancy tests you take that tell you what you’re good at doing. But I didn’t do too badly:


Anyway, they turned out pretty well! The hardest part of this entire process was mixing the soil. This was also the most expensive part of the entire endeavor, so I hope this stuff is as awesome as advertised. Here’s the pile of ingredients:

The white stuff is perlite, to help with drainage. This stuff also contains a ton (well, it felt like a ton) of peat moss and almost 8 cubic feet of compost. It was HEAVY. Mixing it up took forever, but we ended up with some great looking soil. Here’s the almost finished product:

We also put grids on these so they were true square foot garden boxes. It was too dark when we got to that point, so I’ll try to get some pictures of that tomorrow. We also bought some plants to put in these boxes (it was too late to start from seed).

I was going to track stuff like exactly how much we spent on this and see how we did in terms of yield as the year went on, but you know what? I’m way too tired to do that right now. In total, we spent around $250 to get this off the ground. I don’t think we’ll really save money on this stuff this year, but we might next year when we really don’t have to buy any supplies. However, it’s not really about that anyway. It’s about having something awesome in our yard, and growing at least some of our own food, and just trying something different. I’ll keep posting about it as the season goes on so you can see the progress. Here’s hoping for awesome tomatoes in a few weeks!

  • Breakfast: Everything bagel with cream cheese
  • Lunch: Almost nothing. I had a few bites of macaroni and cheese (leftover from that restaurant last night), and some hummus with veggies and pita chips
  • Dinner: Three bean burritos, no cheese from Taco Bell
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, and beer


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Bad food day. Awesome post coming up next.

  • Breakfast: Leftover pizza (cheese, but no meat)
  • Lunch: House Special fried rice from Good Taste in Chinatown. It had pork, chicken, shrimp and calamari. Pretty sure that’s not vegan.
  • Dinner: We went to this BBQ place in Salem (still in search of decent BBQ). This was not the place that would prove us wrong about BBQ in the Northwest. We split some BBQ nachos and I had some ribs with macaroni salad and green beans (cooked with pork).
  • Drinks: Coffee, water, beer

Thursday food

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Just food again today, but I promise there’s good stuff coming. I predict a good post this weekend! With pictures!
  • Breakfast: Granola and a banana
  • Lunch: Grilled vegetable gyro sandwich from Nicholas
  • Dinner: Two bean burritos, no cheese from Taco Bell
  • Snacks: Handful of nuts
  • Drinks: Coffee, water


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Quiet day, but I promise some more interesting posts this weekend. For now, food:

  • Breakfast: Granola bar, banana
  • Lunch: Pizza from Hot Lips! I had two vegan slices and two of their veggie special, which had cheese.
  • Dinner: Red Robin. Had some chips and queso, and a Burnin’ Love burger with a Boca burger. Burger had cheese and some sort of mayo. And some fries.
  • Drinks: Coffee, water and a beer

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