Garden Accomplished …

Garden Accomplished …

Re-Designed Raised Beds

Well — that was a project!

This weekend was gorgeous — sixty, sixty-five degrees both days, although the wind kicked back in yesterday afternoon (along with the clouds that made this photo a little gloomy).

Thank goodness it was gorgeous, because this was a real project. I am sore. Even my fingers are sore.

Where to start? First thing I did was to pull the screws all along the right side of the garden, and pull the boards up. Then I recycled the wood, trimmed the edges, and used scrap lumber to fill the gaps for the long bed on the right hand side. It’s 25 feet by 3.5 feet, which means that now I’ll be able to reach all the way to the back of the bed, something that was impossible before.

End of day one

Here’s what it looked like at the end of day one. So Day Two, I pulled the rest of the lumber, and then spent an hour or two clearing out the herb bed. It was not only overgrown by lovage — which had taproots many feet deep and as thick as my forearm (I’m sure I’m not done trying to kill the lovage) but was infested with crabgrass. Luckily for me, if unfortunate for plants, the ground was really dry, so I could pull up clumps, shake out the dirt, and get rid of the roots. We’ll see. There’s a reason that “grassroots” is synonymous with “insidious.”

Eventually, I got the second long bed built — which was much easier this time since the boards were in better shape and I didn’t have to trim so much to get straight ends. Hence, I didn’t have to patch quite so much. Then I patched an eight foot section across the back to complete the U shape.

The last task was building the two six-by-three beds in the center. When I drew it out on paper I thought I’d do one long bed down the middle, but it turned out that I had a pile of six-foot boards. So I recycled into two beds. I call them “the graves” since that’s what they look like at the moment. I moved dirt from the old beds into the new, which was a chore, especially since a couple of beds were still frozen. I was chucking lumps of frozen dirt from one place to another.

I’m really pleased. The garden is much easier to get around in, and I think most of it will be much more accessible (those back corners along the U will be a tiny bit problematic, we’ll see). I flipped as many of the boards back to front as I could, so they should weather from the other side now. I used old chicken-feed sacks for weedcloth in new beds that were built over old paths — I wasn’t quite as anal as I probably should have been, so I’ll probably be pulling grass at some point. Next step is to empty the chicken coop compost piles into the beds, and turn everything over once again, but that’s going to have to wait a few days until my sad-ass middle-aged sore muscles heal up. Really, I should have done more over the winter. Yikes.

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