April 02, 2006

Rebuilding the Garden Space

There is something satisfying about being outside and working with your hands on your own land. I've been impatient to begin my raised bed project and get my chile plants in the earth, but with all the rain we've been experiencing...and more rain predicted next week, I was starting to wonder if I'd ever get the task done. I started early on my garden project and didn't wrap up until the sunlight had shifted into that golden hue we call magic hour. The weather was sunny and warm with just the hint of a breeze. Songbirds flittered in the trees and one of those little brown lizards kept scampering across my patio. I don't think that he knew where to find a safe place to hide for the day. It was the perfect day to do some gardening.

My first task was to use a shovel to clear away the gravel from the far end of the yard where the new garden space was to be. I decided to move 3 feet worth of garden space instead of the mere two that I originally had planned. Once the gravel was clear, I moved the cinders from the closer end of the bed to the cleared space at the other end. Then I used the shovel to move the rich soil that was left behind into the new raised bed area.

It was strange seeing the galvanized mesh that I had put down years ago to prevent moles from coming up in my garden. When I had first planned my garden, my neighbor from across the street had told me many stories of moles dying in her swimming pool and eating all her vegetables, to the point where I wasn't going to risk dealing with the little critters. I have never seen a mole in my garden and I had started to wonder if I had been silly to worry about the little rodents, yet when I looked closely at the soil under the mesh, sure enough, there were large tunnels leading up to where my garden would have been! I'll be darn....there be moles here! My mesh idea had worked!

Once the single row of cinderblocks were placed in the new location, I went ahead and put on the second layer of bricks. I am not very strong and had to move one brick at a time, but the task was simple and it went quickly. Fortunately, I thought to wear leather gloves to protected my hands. Those cinderblocks are very dry and scratchy. When I had put all 26 cinderblocks on, I discovered that I had miscounted the number of bricks needed and was six bricks short. So I made a quick run to the local hardware store for 6 more bricks and two bags of pea gravel to cover over the exposed end of the bed. The rest of the level went on quickly and I was able to get the gravel down to create the new path area.

I decided to return to the hardware store and I picked up a few bags of garden soil, peat moss and steer manure to start filling my raised bed. I managed to fill the bed just passed the first cinderblock level, so I know that I'll need more soil. Unfortunately, I'm out of time for the day and with more rain coming, I wonder if I will get those chiles planted this week after all?

After that, I did a bit of cleanup. Old pots that had been lying around for the past year found their way to the trash. The plastic bags that the gravel and soil came in were thrown away. I moved my little greenhouse into the newly cleared space where it now will serve as a tool and pot holder. My watering can seems to fit in there too. What is good about using the greenhouse is that the plastic cover will keep my tools and pots more protected from the weather and from all the pine needles that fall in that area. My side yard is looking neat again, the new bed has all the major work completed on it and I finally have that little shelving unit in a useful place.

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