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Jason DeRusha Turns Neglected Yard Spot Into A Salsa Garden

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Like many Minnesotans, I had that one spot in my yard that was a mess -- right by the deck in the backyard.

It was covered with weeds and overgrown grass.

"It's like a lot of homes, the landscape got let go, it's a weedy area and underutilized," said Patrick Warden, head of Bachman's landscape services.

I asked Warden about installing a garden, and at first thought I wanted to plant vegetables in the entire space. Warden said I was being too ambitious, and instead designed two raised garden beds.

"It's the perfect size for a garden," he said.

We've tried to start a garden in that space before, but we didn't prepare the soil correctly, and we tried to plant too much.

"The soil and the space makes a very big difference," said Karen Bachman Thull, director of marketing and corporate communications for Bachman's Floral, Gift and Garden.

Bachman's is known for its retail stores, but according to Thull the company has a 70-year history of garden design.

"Here we have raised garden beds, which gives you the parameters to plant correctly," she said.

It's called "square foot gardening." According to Thull and Warden, it's great for new gardeners or people without a ton of space. And the clean lines do match nicely if you have straight edging or contemporary-styled landscaping.

"It keeps it in the same parameters, and then fills it up densely with vegetables, so there is no chance for weeds to grow," Warden said.

The theme here is salsa garden: Bachman's planted tomatoes, peppers, jalepenos, and cilantro, along with strawberries, eggplant, and two columnar apple trees.

You can still start a garden in mid-summer, and you get the advantage of using plants that have been growing in a greenhouse, giving you a head start.

Thull pointed out that prospective gardeners should not be afraid to ask for help. Depending on your budget, you could hire a coach to talk through ideas, a designer to fully plan, or a whole crew to install.

"They think they should know what they're doing," Thull said. "A lot of times with new homeowners they inherit a little bit of a mess."

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