Garden Dreams Part 4

I had hoped this would be my final installment of my series on building a garden, but of course it isn’t.  Melissa and I have been cranking on the fence, and making great progress, but the magnitude of this project, and our mutual schedules mean we need more time.   The funny thing is that it’s totally ok.  I want to be done, and the plants need to go in the ground, but right now we are both so busy that being stressed about what isn’t done isn’t going to do anything but steal joy away from what we have accomplished, which is a ton.  All of the 8′ fence sections are built, and we have 5 more and a gate to put on.

The garden ended up being 40’x18′, smaller than originally planned, but not by much.
Darn that fence is level

Because I have some work travel coming up, and some of the plants were no longer thriving in their temporary pots, today we stopped construction, and I went to work on building some of the brick beds and planted.   Melissa went off to do some weeding and I immersed myself in measuring, bringing wheelbarrows full of bricks over, and planting.  After a few hours, I had some help from Sithean’s newest resident, H, an Environmental Studies intern staying with us for the summer so she can be close to her summer internship.  She didn’t have to like gardening, or volunteer to help, but both happened.

I built 2 5×5 garden beds today.  On 3 sides are 20″ paths, which will eventually be covered in mulch.  On the fourth side, at the front of the garden, the path is closer to 3′ wide to accomodate Hollyhocks and other fence-climbing plants.  The measuring tape is my best friend these days, keeping my rows of bricks straight and with even distances.

Each bed will eventually be framed internally into smaller squares, but for this year, putting the larger beds in place is what can get done.  Once they were framed out on 3 sides, I added about 3″ of compost on top of the dirt.

5x5 bed

Then we planted.  Today, dill, basil, pickling cucumbers, ‘Livingston’s Best’ tomatoes and begonias went into the beds.

I don’t know that I would have chosen to plant as I build, but I’m still pretty satisfied with the result.

First Planted Beds

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Garden Dreams Part 3

The Peonies are in full bloom, and that means summer is coming, faster than I am ready for.  The air smells like floral perfume, it is green everywhere, and the garden…is still not done.

 

But this weekend was a marathon of effort, and it will be finished and planted in a week.  We started with an auger rental.  Last year, we dug post holes for the temporary garden with a manual post digger, and between rocks and time, barely were able to sink the posts deep enough to stay up.  This year we brought in the heavy machinery.

Auger.jpg

It still required 2 guys to help us in order to get all the post holes dug.  Thankfully my ex and Melissa’s husband were willing and more than able.

They also helped us measure, and remeasure to ensure we were going to be level and the posts would go in evenly.  We never would have gotten as far as we did without them, especially when we hit a buried stone wall, halfway through augering holes.

Yesterday, Melissa and I continued our assembly line prefab and build approach, and cranked out 5 sections in the ground before we had to stop for the day.


We chose a method of 8′ garden sections made out of 1″x5″ pre-primed pine boards, flanked by the big splurge of 8′ cedar posts.  Each section is pre-assembled and then attached, with chicken wire stapled on.  Melissa and I worked as a team to prefabricate, level each post and get it installed while the smallish people did other, equally important things:

Connor being cozy.jpg

In the end, we built a full side and part of the front and back of the garden.  We got faster as the day went on, it stayed level, which is an achievement in and of itself, and by the end of the day, we had gotten pretty darn good at fencing.  I can’t say it’s a skill we’ll have much use for going forward, but it’s a good skill to have.