Raised Beds & Chicken Poo
Around the middle of February I started to feel the itch to get my garden planned. I started browsing seed websites with fervor, examining the pros and cons of Japanese black tomatoes versus Big Juicy Red Tomatoes (spoiler, I got them both – plus some). I even went so far as to place my seed order before reality finally hit me.
I didn’t have a garden.
I’m not going to lie. There was a moment (or two) of genuine depression when I received my package full of heirloom and old fashioned varieties of veggies, and realized I had no where to put them. The seeds went on the shelf for a few weeks while I contemplated the situation. Eventually I decided to start them anyways and I’d figure out the minor detail of where to put them later.
The ground around the house is prohibitively sandy, to the point that even grass struggles to grow. I know that the little area I did have, wasn’t going to work for a garden. It just didn’t have enough nutrients, and even if I dug it all up and mixed in good dirt and fertilizer, it wouldn’t last more then a season. So I turned to researching raised beds.
I’d never built anything from scratch before (I’m not counting the three tiered garden I got from Lowe’s!) So when I went to Menards and started looking at cedar boards, I was more then a little intimidated. Using the massive saw at Menards was also an…experience…but I still have both hands, and I have gotten MOST of the wood chips out of my eyes, so I’m counting it as a success!
When I finally got home and unloaded all the boards there was another moment of self doubt. Before I could start building the bed, I had to level the ground. My plan was to do a 4×8 foot raised bed. That’s a lot of ground to level. Plus my back was already trying to tap out from hauling multiple eight foot pine boards. I let myself have a moment, and then I grabbed some water, turned on some tunes, and started shoveling.
It took awhile. That might be an understatement. There were a lot of dropped screws and I broke a nail (sad day). But I got that raised bed built. I reinforced the corners with stainless steel braces, and pounded 3′ stakes into the ground at 2′ intervals around the bed to help secure it. Then I screwed those stakes into the pine boards to hold it together even more. That bed isn’t going anywhere. When I finally finished it the boards were even, the corners were 90 degrees, and I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud!
Sure I don’t have any dirt in it yet, but my delivery of chicken poo and good dirt is coming this weekend, and my back is bracing itself for some more intense shoveling…
Those tomatoes better be grateful!