Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Adventures in Constructing a Raised Bed

It's been quite a while since I've written about my garden, and since moving to our new place, it's quite different! So let me catch you up with our slightly crazy shenanigans.

Before moving, Michael decided he wanted to do a gigantic raised bed, so we went to a hardware store to purchase the supplies to make it ourselves. Upon exiting the store, we realized that the planks for making the long ends of the raised bed were almost the length of our Corolla. As we discussed how to fit them in our car, another Lowe's patron walked by and commented, "You guys win the award for most unrealistic." Michael and I awkwardly smiled at each other and proved him wrong:

The two long boards filled our car from the dashboard all the way out of the trunk a couple of feet. During our half mile trip home, the two planks of wood managed to turn on our windshield wipers for us, making us laugh even harder than we already were at the ridiculousness of our venture.

We moved and constructed the raised bed. Then, we had to fill our enormous box with dirt. Even if we purchased every bag of dirt at Walmart, we wouldn't have had enough. So, with a quick internet search, I found a nursery that sold dirt in bulk, so we rented a U-Haul pickup and went. Mind you, the cost of the dirt and the truck rental combined was about half the cost of buying bags of dirt!

When we told the woman who worked at the garden center that we wanted two yards of dirt, she laughed at the size of our truck informing us that two yards of dirt would weigh two tons which was well over the load limit for our F-150. We felt about as sheepish as we did in the Lowe's parking lot with two huge planks of wood. So, we quickly halved our order to one yard.

Here's our dirt. It doesn't look like much, but it's a ton. Literally.

Michael then rolled a ton of dirt, one recycling barrel at a time (we're too cheap to buy a wheelbarrow) into our backyard dumping each surprisingly heavy barrel of dirt into our raised bed. It was the hottest day of the summer, peaking at 106 degrees. He finished around 1 or 2pm, so he managed to do this work when it was a mere 103-105 degrees outside.

He didn't let me help because I was (am) pregnant. I didn't mind! So I took pictures. :-)

After all of that work, it turned out that the 1/2 topsoil 1/2 compost mix we purchased was super clayey. We transplanted all of our plants into the new garden bed. A couple died, a couple lived and flowered like crazy without producing any fruit, and a couple of plants have thrived including...

...Thai basil...

(Shorn down.)

...and Thai peppers! How convenient for making Thai food. And that's exactly what we did.

Here's our final basil harvest.

The horrible soil has been super frustrating, but that's just how gardening goes. It's a lot of work. But, for some reason we really enjoy the challenge! Though when we have both an infant and a garden to care for and keep alive, the garden may fall by the wayside for at least a time. We shall see.

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