Sunday, 24 May 2009

'Big Garden' 2009

I think this year I may have managed to get the best of both worlds: raised beds without having to build any actual raised bed structures. For this idea I have to thank Steve Solomon and his book, Gardening When it Counts.

Last year when we first put in the 'big garden' I had yearned for nicely enclosed raised beds. That didn't happen (we had mistakenly bought treated lumber instead of untreated) and it turned out just fine. But I so loved the neat orderliness of the raised beds. Then, over the Winter, I started reading Solomon's book, and thought it sounded like a good idea when he suggested shovelling the dirt out of what I wanted to be pathways (for ease of weeding and watering) and onto the adjacent part of the garden patch. So I shoveled out a central path, and then three cross-paths and lo and behold, I had eight nicely raised beds. Plus I didn't 'waste' the dirt in the pathways by just tromping down on it - it was moved over to where it could do the most good - i.e., nourishing my veggies. What with this and my new rock pathway to the garden itself, I am one contented gardener!

15 comments:

EJ said...

I fear that tilling and then placing rocks is not lasting solution. Frost and soil do not make a good bed. You need to dig, level, tamp and add a layer of sand or you will end up with a muddy, uneven path.

Theresa said...

I wondered about some of that. There is a sandy base under the soil, and the soil itself is sandy but some of the rocks are not solidly anchored, that's for certain. I will see how it holds up for now. If it's a complete disaster by summer's end, I will re-think it...

SoapBoxTech said...

Phew, that looks like a lot of work. I bet it will look great in a couple of months!

I love the orderliness of raised beds as well but our garden is much too big to expend that kind of energy...plus we are constantly fighting off encroaching grass.

Heather @ SGF said...

Looks great!

Liz said...

Looks good, Theresa!

Amber said...

Theresa, your beds look beautiful! Can't wait to see pictures as the season progresses.

Theresa said...

Thanks everyone :) It wasn't actually that much work, because Farmer Joe had tilled the soil with his kubota tractor with rototiller attachment. It was more like shoveling snow than digging dirt!

Sande said...

It looks really nice. Hope it works out well for you.

Theresa said...

Hi Sande - thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment. I'm sure the garden will teach me more things again this year :) Brr...you look very cold in your picture!

Crafty Gardener said...

Good luck with your gardens. I'm interested to see how your version of raised beds turns out.

Theresa said...

Hi CraftyG - thanks for coming by and commenting. I am also interested in how they work out. So far they are holding their shape (i.e., not collapsing and falling into the paths) but with a heavy rain this could change. Unfortunately we've had very little rain so far this Spring...

Beth said...

Theresa your beds looks great but i am really excited 2 see something growing on it.wish you happy planting.
Beth-ihampers.co.uk

Theresa said...

Hi Beth - thanks for coming by and commenting! I am excited to see things growing in there too, and a few things are starting to sprout: kale and two kinds of beans! I will post pictures and blog about it soon....

Apple Jack Creek said...

My 'big garden' is sorta like this, but messier. :)

We have no tiller - coulda probably borrowed one, but I sort of figured it'd be intersting to see what I could do without the power tools (given that the safety net of Safeway is still out there). We pushed a bunch of mostly-finished compost into the garden area, and I've been shovelling/hoeing it into shapes much like your lovely picture - just way uglier. :)

I figure it'll finish composting where it is, and in the meantime, if stuff grows in it, so much the better. I can't afford to bring in topsoil, and the stuff had to go somewhere ... so why not where it'll feed plants? Potatoes grow in this (proof erupted today!) and I hear squash does too (still waiting to see if that is true) so ... hey, why not?

Gardening is so awesome. I can't quite figure out why it makes me want to jump up and down yelling "WOOHOOO" when stuff actually sprouts out there ... but it does, and I do, and if the neighbours don't like it, well, too bad! :D

Did you do the happy dance in your garden yet? And can we see pictures? :D

Theresa said...

AJC - I'm with you about the unbridled enthusiasm that a sprouting sprout causes! It is such an exciting thing to see edible growing things pop out of the soil and stretch towards the sun - amazing really!

I had plans of doing hand cultivating this year, but when we decided to expand the garden it made sense for him to till the old part too, not just the new expanded part. This is as big as the garden's going to get for the time being, so next year I have plans to hand till it, with one of those spikey cultivator thingies that my brother has agreed to help make. (Probably he will make it and I will watch, actually :))