Wednesday, 23 March 2011

We've Started Our Garden Project!

We have lived in our current home for nearly 9 years.  For almost that long I've been trying to convince My Handyman that we should put in a garden.  Needless to say, he has not been on board with the idea at all!  He reasoned that, because of all the deer, geese, squirrels and other critters that frequent our property, it would be easier to just join a local CSA.  So that is what we have done.  And we have enjoyed being a part of Fresh Harvest, but I have still wanted a garden of our own.

For the past couple of years I've been reading all about "Square Foot Gardening", watching many shows about gardening and cooking with fresh veggies and herbs and being totally jealous of everyone who grows their own produce.  We even built a compost bin out of pallets that I got from work and we faithfully added chicken poop from our two coops, veggie scraps and dried leaves to it for 2 years, until I hurt my back and could no longer turn the compost with a pitch fork.  We took town the bins last Fall and spread the compost in the yard.

FINALLY I've convinced My Handyman that now is the time to become more self sufficient!! Or maybe he just got tired of hearing me talk about it?  He does say that I should never say that I am "just a little spoiled!"  Of course my thought was just to build wooden boxes, as suggested by Mel Bartholomew in his book, "All New Square Foot Gardening", but My Handyman does masonry for a living and he had 2 pallets of brick pavers stored on our property, so he decided they would be perfect for this project.

Here is how we spent our Sunday afternoon:

We chose our spot.  This area was the original garden spot that the previous owners used, so there were no trees to remove and there is plenty of sun.
The Spot
We discussed the plan:

My Handyman and his helper.
Notice my brand new compost tumbler on the right.
We marked the spot with string and leveled the string to determine where to begin laying our pavers.  It's a masonry thing!
The "helper" resting inside the marked off spot.
We leveled the spot and started building our raised bed.  The interior measures 3 ft. x 5 ft. and it will allow me to reach all the way to the middle from all sides.  Mel suggests 4 ft. x 4 ft. or 4 ft. x whatever length you want,  and it did start out to be 4ft. wide, but somehow, when all was said and done, it was only 3 ft. wide.  No worries, but I did seriously question the measuring skills that got us to this point.

After laying out the first couple of courses (that's masonry talk for "rows"), we used masonry adhesive instead of mortar to stick the pavers together.

And we added more courses until "we" were satisfied with the depth of the box.  My Handyman leveled the soil on the inside of the box, we placed chicken wire in the bottom to keep out moles and other underground critters, then we placed one layer of weed cloth (purchased 2 yrs. ago at season end-cheap) from end to end, extending it up the sides to help keep any weeds from sneaking through the sides.  And then another layer from side to side, also extending it up each side.  Probably a little over kill, but that's how we roll at our house.

We placed additional pavers on top of the weed cloth to keep it from blowing away until we can add the soil.

The next step will be to purchase the correct soil mixture as suggested in Mel's book.  My Handyman says we can now afford to buy exactly what I want because the raised bed structure cost us nothing.  Well, maybe not nothing, but only the sale price of the weed cloth!  The pavers were FREE!  My favorite price.  And there are plenty of pavers and more weed cloth so we can build several more.  I'm thinking a total of 4 is a nice even number.

Come back next week to see how we progress.


Buttons said...

I think that looks great and what a nice price. Good job I can't wait to see it when everything is growing. B

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Love your garden spot! Looks like you have it all planned! Thanks for entering my giveaway! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

Vickie said...

Hi Kathy - well I see you haven't been posting much either! I just wanted to come by and thank you for your kind and sweet comments about my friend that lost her dear daughter, Kayla. My blogfriends have really reached out and it has touched me so. Hope everything's going well for you ---

I, too, bought that book about square foot gardening, and I'm seriously considering doing that next spring. I even showed the book to my dad, which he promptly took home to read. We may both do that next year!