Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden progress

Back in February, we started clearing space for our garden. It turns out the perfect place for the garden was also the area previous owners filled with gravel. In some places the gravel is tiny and you can dig through it to the soil below. Some places are just pure soil while others have large gravel that cannot be dug through. Needless to say, creating our 1800 square foot garden required scraping off the grass and rock and then bringing in 20+ yards of soil.  After seeing the mess the scraping created, I thought it would never look like the nice garden I'd envisioned.
Tractor ruts, piles of sod, clay, gravel and a lovely pile of garden soil. How in the world would I ever get this to look like a garden:?

Fast forward a month and there is improvement. The lovely soil has been raked into place and the piles of clay, sod and gravel are mostly gone. That was some back breaking work that I tackled mostly on my own since P was busy with other projects (not to mention that most of his time at home is either sleeping in the daylight or it's dark out so he deals with indoor projects). Using the trailer attached to our lawn tractor, I drove loads of sod over to the septic tank that we'd had to unearth earlier this year. The sod made for instant grass over the top of the existing mud so I felt like there was immediate progress in that area of the yard. The gravel I scooped into wheelbarrows and put in the muddy areas of the driveway. The clay was a different story. Not so good for planting and it was super heavy so I couldn't really take it anywhere with the lawn tractor. So I ended up throwing it by shovelfuls and handfuls in some cases, over the fence into the low spot in the sheep field. Let me tell you, my back and arms were sore for the many days it took to deplete that pile.

And finally, it is beginning to look like a garden!!!!

I've spent hours raking and hoeing rows for planting. Normally I wouldn't mound my rows, but it turns out that the garden is now lower than the surrounding area so water pools in it. Literally, there was a lake on the end closest in the photo above. Some of my garlic actually drowned. To combat that, I mounded my rows and during the next rain I saw that it was working as I'd hoped it would - the rows were happily above the water. And now, after some lovely warm weather, there are lettuces, brassicas, beets, spinach and peas sprouting. Mother Nature has been very kind lately and the warm sunny days have been on the weekends and the rain arrives during the week. So this weekend I did some more planting in the sun and Monday morning the rain returned to water my seeds. I may have actually gotten a little sunburn!

This was one of the hardest jobs I've ever done (P got the relatively easy job of using the backhoe to create the space). But the joy I feel at looking out my kitchen window at this gigantic garden that I put together mostly by hand is so worth the work. I am looking forward to that first salad that I get out of my first garden at my new house on my own land.