On my list of the many, many things I’m trying to get accomplished lately, “build an entire new garden” suddenly got thrown in there. I blame SmartGardener (after all my praises, yes!) because it really made me realize that I need to get on this already and so I went into a turmoil trying to get it all built. My rush was probably a little premature, because I wonder if Smart Gardener is aware of exactly how much snow has been covering our yard this winter…
Anyways, I took advantage of the last few sunny weekends and weekdays to get things moving. After much back and forth, we decided to tear up the existing flower bed to build above ground boxes like last year instead of in ground beds like I had planned. And unlike last year, where I basically had free (husband) labor, this year I acquired the materials and built the boxes myself! Yes, quality suffered as a result and my body was complete jelly last week, but they’re holding soil so, I didn’t do that poorly!
I don’t have a “before” picture of the massive flower bed but it was a 13 ft diameter circle completely full of an ivy ground cover and chalk full of bulbs (that we didn’t realize until we started digging it up). Of what kind of flower, I have no idea. I sent an email out to our neighborhood with the subject “Free Bulbs” and had a few interested people come by and dig some up. No one could identify them. Not nearly as many people came by as I was hoping for (4 total) but I was happy at least some bulbs got a new home! If we can’t eat it, we aren’t interested in it. At this point, anyway.
It was seriously back breaking work to dig the beds as the ground was so root clogged and full of bulbs that I was afraid we were going to have no soil left after we got rid of all the roots. This was partially true. It took a week of work on my part and another full weekend of more help from my husband. Fortunately, our neighbors are doing a home addition and have a large pile of dirt we were able to supplement with. Unfortunately, even after supplementing with compost, this soil very clayey, so I’m not sure how things will grow. I did my little soil tests and made amendments, but I guess I need to buy another kit to see what its like now. Sometimes I miss the days of access to a water quality lab. Its killing me to pay for these tests!
We also decided to do a third garden bed along the side yard. I want to plant some tall things here to bring us a little privacy from our neighbors yard. Corn, sunflowers, maybe some other flowers as well. This one is 12×4 ft and yes, I still need to recycle all the weeds just sitting by the side. These are some really rough “during” photos. You can also see the color difference in the soil. I really think we are going to need to add some more topsoil to the boxes.
Just looking at those pictures at our old garden in California last year make me realize how green everything was. Its so dreary here right now! I am really looking forward to the spring and summer and more color!