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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Making the Garden Beds ~ Part 1

We have spent the last two weekends working on our raised garden beds...we decided to go with raised beds this year since we just moved into this house last summer and the soil is really still not up to par yet (we have a TON of clay...hard clay). We spent some time researching what we wanted to do and also took a "fieldtrip" to a friends house to view their bed setup (Thanks Joe & Allison).

After weighing all our options and calculating the costs, we came up with a plan. After a few trips to Lowe's (shameless plug, that's BigDaddy's day job) we were all set. BigDaddy (aka the hubby) and Daddy (aka my dad) got started building the boxes :-)

In the end (for costs sake) we decided to go with one box that is 8ft wide by 16ft long by 12in deep and one box that is 4ft wide by 4ft long by 12in deep. I had checked and compared prices on the boards and found that it was cheaper to buy the 2X6X8 boards and stack them to get the 12" height, then we ran them side by side for 16' that's what we did...doing that saved us about $40.00 overall :-)

Now, you'll notice though that our ground was really not level and rather than have a lopsided bed...the guys (being the geniuses that they are ;-) decided to build the bed up and make it level...and I LOVE IT! But you'll see that it took more boards than it would have if the ground had been level. (The original plan was to build two 4X16 boxes...but that all changed).

The next step was to get the soil to fill the majority of the bed...I had called around and priced four different places and the "dirt" was gonna cost a small fortune...go figure, I mean it's DIRT for goodness sakes. To be honest, I thought my garden project was over...BUT then God intervened :-) See there's a lot right next door to us and they are building a new house the morning that we are to start building the boxes...I hear a tractor next door...I say to BigDaddy "hey, go ask that man what he would charge us for some of that dirt he's moving around". see, we live in the country and everyone out here sows their garden in the ground...that's what farmers do...and apparently I'm bucking the system...soooo, the hubs feels the need to explain the situation and proceeds to tell the man that his wife has him building a fru-fru garden bed and we need some dirt for it. His little plan worked like a charm 'cause the man felt sorry him...I mean it's not everyday that a fellow country dwelling MAN has to build a "fru-fru garden" ;-) Not only does the man say "sure, you can have whatever you want" but he also uses his scoop to bring it to us :-) By now I'm sure you've guessed that BigDaddy is doing the "favor dust dance" again ( can read all about that HERE see #4) you can see the guys went straight to work filling up the boxes...

Okay, so the dirt was basically the same thing that was in our yard...clay...but it would serve the purpose. Now we just needed a tiller...but I really didn't want to pay to rent one...hmmm, what to do??? You guessed it...another God intervention :-) In the excitement of getting our FREE dirt, we hadn't even noticed that our neighbor had started working on his garden too and he's TILLING. So BigDaddy strolls over, shoots the breeze, explains the whole "my wife is making me do this fru-fru garden" thing and then proceeds to ask if we could borrow the tiller for about an hour and it worked again! The neighbor is like "of course, that's no problem", I could see the compassion in his! So the guys get back to work...breaking down the clumps of clay and making the dirt's getting there...Now all it needs is a little help from the Lowe's garden center :-) See what I mean...

A great mixture of soils, composts, soil conditioners and some sand for drainage (we used more than is shown in the picture). Making the top several inches perfect for growing!

We added the mixture and then tilled it all in again...making a final pass by hand, to get it all smoothed out...

And the final product = B.E.A.U.Ti FULL dirt...if I do say so myself :-)

I made one last trip down the road to the local corner store where I bought 2 containers of night crawlers...BIG worms...I carefully added them into the soil and they went to work making the bed their own happy little home. They will be a great benefit to the garden as they multiply. Go be fruitful little as the Lord commanded ;-)

To Be Continued........Stay tuned for Part 2

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