Monday, May 14, 2012

Building A Garden

Original side yard.

Here is the side of the house when we moved in, with Sonny hanging out while I work. It's been calculated that nothing has been cared for on this property for the last 8 years, and I certainly believe it!

The soil is utterly void of organisms, which is okay, really. I am going to be building on top of the dirt to create raised garden beds. Eventually, the dirt will be fed with all the nutrients added on top, the soil creatures - worms, beetles, organisms - will begin to populate the area.

Luckily, we had a ton of boxes from moving, so this was where I began to place them after a good solid rain to keep the moisture in. I began to place them in possible garden areas, with walkways...

Future garden beds.

Cardboard placed over the dirt.
As we have ground squirrels and moles, once I was ready to create a bed, I started with some metal mesh or hardware cloth. The root systems can get their feeders through, but the moles will not be able to burrow up, pull down and gobble!
Running the mesh across the main floor of the bed.

After getting the mesh in place, I covered it with cardboard and soaked it all.  Cardboard is a great way to keep moisture in, shade out the soil, and should you have plants that you'd rather not allow to grow, you can easy chop them down and let them break down under the cardboard. This helps feed the soil as well. The cardboard breaks down over time.

After outlining the bed with bricks and rocks, I fill it with a layer of dirt from the property, then compost. We have an area where former tenants had kept chickens, and the soil there was quite good, so I pulled a bucket of that out and poured that in the bed!

Bed outlined and filled.
Once I finished, I added wind and shade breaks - which can be done with rocks, branches, broken pots. Anything to make little cubbies of safety from the wind and Sun. Then I seeded with an assortment of clover, legumes, wildflowers and herbs. I need to start a large assortment of growth in order to get the garden bed started!

Adding shade and windbreak elements.
Finished bed. One side is taller due to wind.

Other beds created with metal mesh, cardboard, rocks and compost! 

Mulched and seeded garden beds.

Stay tuned!

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