Friday, May 10, 2013

Garden Retrospective

We started our garden long before I started this little online diary.
It's come a long way in a few weeks from the the "yeah, this spot looks alright" to having 5 beds composted, chipped, and ready to plant.
Post-digging clay pit. Is it a garden yet?
Step 1 was defining the dimensions and removing the topmost layers of clay. Luckily, we have awesome neighbors, and they lent a hand with the skid steer. We then finished the edges by hand, and ended up with a nice open pit lined with clay. Whoopee.
The next step was filling it in with halfway decent soil. We found someone on Craig's List willing to bring a dump truck full of top soil for the low, low price of something we could afford. It was the best option we had.

The dump truck dropped about 9 cubic yards of good, rich soil into our dug out space.

The kids were glued to the window watching.
I made sure the driver didn't run over the swing set.

Holy cow! That's a lot of dirt.

The color difference between our clay and the new stuff was striking
Next was lining the edges (which we had already started) with logs to retain the soil and provide a sort of weed barrier. We chose logs for several reasons:

It's all falling into place. Mwah ha ha!!

  • We had a bunch already on hand from when I cut down trees to make room for the orchard.
  • They provide a nice "rustic" look.
  • As the wood decays, it will leech minerals and nutrients into the soil, attracting worms and improving the quality of the garden area over time.
So we laid down some landscape fabric and hauled in the logs. Then, we had to spread the dirt so it was smooth and even. This took a LOOOONG time. Eventually, it got mostly spread out, but was very lumpy. Neighbors let me borrow their roto-tiller to make short work of the clumps.
Donkey: earning his keep,
one composted bed at a time.
Then it really started looking like a garden.
Once the logs were laid, the soil was tilled real good, and my hands were mangled piles of ripped flesh and bone, the actual garden part started.Wife and I are into the whole 1 Thessalonians 5:21 "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" thing. So when we do something like this, we tend to take bits and pieces from here and there, and not rely solely on one method.
In the case of gardening, we use a combination of conventional wisdom, square foot techniqueswood chip covering philosophy, and donkey manure.
So, out of our 20 by 40 foot plot (roughly), we set up an initial 5 square foot beds, lined with small logs, filled in with composted manure, and finally covered in pine chips.
Once spread out, the pine chips will help
regulate moisture, provide minerals, keep out weeds,
prevent soil loss, and other cool stuff.
We have three more to go on the square foot beds as of right now. I'll post a final pic once all 8 are up and planted.
So there we are in our current garden journey for this year. More to come as we get there.

No comments:

Post a Comment