Sunday, October 17, 2010

SuperGranDad to the Rescue!

What I learned in Kentucky: if your soil is bad, don't garden in it! Just build a box, toss in good soil, and pretend everything's all right.

Iain's Grandad is visiting. He arrived (by train!) late last night and in less than 24 hours turned what you see above into a potential urban farm.

Ok, maybe not quite that much. BUT, he helped to make real my dream of raised beds. This morning (after Iain enlivened brunch at The Dodo by vomiting! Joy!) we toddled over to Home Depot for a little hardware action.

Mmm...power tools...

The result you see above. 2x12 boards, cut into lengths of 4 and 2 feet. Grandad suggested we use a kind of bracket used in floor joists and other such things:

So the box is thick (strong) and held together with 8 screws (strong). It'll be deep enough for carrots, if I ever want to plant them, and it's deep enough to hold the blueberry bushes I bought last spring. We measured the space and decided on 4 beds, each narrow enough to reach across but each long enough for 8 square feet portions (I like Square Foot Gardening - no weeding and lots of yum!)
Note the changing leaves. This morning I cut back our neighbor's pyracantha and guess what I saw? No, guess! Her turban squash has grown up into the tree, and there are 3 large squash hanging like ripe fruit, ten feet in the air. Whee! Also, our neighbor's Red Delicious apple tree is speckled with gorgeous orbs. Must go over there and help her out.

Imagine 4 of these. I'll be using the lasagna method (read all about it) to fill the beds this fall, then planting in spring. Lasagna works like this: a layer of wet cardboard, a layer of peat moss, a layer of grass clippings, rinse, repeat. It attracts worms and basically composts into nice soil by spring. And it's handy, since you need someplace to put all those leaves, anyway. You can literally chuck your kitchen scraps straight in, if you're feeling saucy.

I'm still mulling whether to build a green bean trellis or just get a tuteur from the garden center and consider it garden architecture.

You can't see it now, but before these go down for good we're attaching brackets to hold short lengths of PVC piping. They'll hold up landscape fabric so that in early spring I can plant seedlings without worrying about late snows. It's like a cold frame, but easier. I can't wait for early lettuce. Mmm...lettuce. Must.Order.Seeds!!!

I'm also considering painting them. Perhaps orange? Something that will contrast with the green of the grass and the plants. What do you think? Rainbow?

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