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Here is the start of my gardening blog. Let me know if the thumbnail previews are fine, or if you would prefer all pictures behind a cut.

So this spring I put in a new raised bed, which Neal built for me out of 2x4s. It's in the front yard, which has more sun and less exposure to dogs, but the dog deficiency means the feral cats my next-door neighbor feeds think it belongs to them.

I didn't dig up the grass, just put down a thick layer of cardboard,

set the box on top,

soaked the cardboard, to provide all the elements necessary to decomposition,

and filled it with compost.

The white tubes are the bases of a hoop cover. I have some smaller-diameter flexible pipe, bent into half-circles, whose ends go into the white pipes. Then I can put a big piece of UV-resistant polyethelene over the top, and have a mini-greenhouse.

Next step is to mulch. Usually, when you are choosing a mulch, the first consideration is "What do I have lots of?" and then you evaluate how well those things work as mulch:
- Does it shade the soil to suppress germination of weed seeds?
- Does it keep the soil cooler?
- Does it let water get to the soil?
- Does it slow down evaporation?
- How fast does it break down, and what does it add to the soil?
- Will it stay where I put it?
And so on. But for me, the second consideration is, "Will this make my lovely loose soil more or less attractive to the feral cats as a litter box?" So the first mulch I use is a few layers of brown paper that came as packaging material.

Here it is in the rain:

Right now it is covered with snow, but I don't have a picture of that.

More about mulching and planting next time.
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