We have been at work on the new kitchen garden all week. If you read my post from last week you will remember the ugly patch of bare dirt I call the back forty. In the past, three large trees had grown here but had suffered from rot and had to be removed.
Every time hubby and I looked at this area we felt overwhelmed. How could we stop all those weeds from coming back? It is horsetail that gives us the most weeding as it doesn’t go dormant until August. It was time to make a plan and get moving on this area. I had used this area to grow tomatoes and basil last year. Each planting hole had to be dug using a bulb planter as the soil is a very hard clay. Fortunately the plants loved it there. Who knew basil would love this heavy water retentive soil?
After a long hot day of weeding the garden was free of weeds. The next task was leveling the ground. You see, I envisioned a kitchen garden with raised beds to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs. Hubby was skeptical but he said he wasn’t going to weed this area one more time. We had to do something. Off to the local lumber store we went. There we purchased the lumber needed for our raised beds. We only use untreated lumber and usually make our beds 4′ by 8′ but we wanted the beds to be 20″ high. Within a half hour our lumber delivery arrived.
It didn’t take long to put together the raised beds. We used deck screws to fasten them at the ends. Now we had to move them to their new spot in the back forty. Using the garden wagon with sides down we easily moved the beds to their new home.
We placed the first layer of beds on the ground to get an idea of how much levelling was needed. Remember that hard soil? It was a tough job grading this area but it was done. If you don’t level the ground the soil will leak out the areas that are not flush with the ground. Considering the cost of soil, we don’t want that to happen.
I dislike using landscape fabric but when you have tough weeds it’s the only way to go. As we laid it, we also overlapped the edges. This is a heavy-duty fabric so I hope it works. The fabric came in six-foot wide strips so we rolled it out and used bricks to keep it from blowing around.
Here it is half done and it took three large rolls of fabric to complete the job. This garden is about 700 square feet. Plenty of room to grow food!
We placed the beds on the fabric but knew we had more work to do. When first planning I figured we would use a mulch to cover the paths but that was an extra cost. We had a stash of interlocking bricks. Could we put them to use? Okay that’s not right, hubby had a stash. He seems to have a bit of everything. After many years we finally got around to using the bricks! We have never laid brick down before so it took a bit of figuring out. I knew I wanted the center path to be a bit wider. Here it’s almost five feet wide which allows a wheelbarrow to turn around and a good walking space for two people. Basically the bricks dictated the width of the path. In the center five bricks across looked and felt right.
Once we had placed the bricks from each corner to corner of the beds we knew we could bring over the second level of beds. Adding a second level brought the height to 20″ which is great for gardening. It requires less bending and that’s a good thing. The biggest drawback is the cost of the soil to fill the garden beds. I know its important to get the best soil possible.
Hubby went to task getting the bricks laid. He tried a few different patterns but liked this one the best. I think he really enjoyed this part of the job.
This is a view of the garden with the center path now in place. Its hard work hauling four hundred bricks. Hubby is such a trooper! They still need a good cleaning but will do for now. Soil still has to come so no point making it pretty yet.
That’s about it for this week. This new kitchen garden has kept us busy. I look forward to adding plants to the new garden soon. The bare patch at the far end of the garden will become home to about 25 Dahlias, Love lies Bleeding or Amaranth and some plants to attract beneficial insects. I have so many ideas for this garden. What will I plant you ask? I will be using two beds for tomatoes as I grow heirloom types for a seed bank. I will also be testing cucamelons, miniature peppers, cinnamon basil and some new flowers to attract the bees. I also have a new plant that not only grows brussel sprouts but kale as well. Yes, both veggies on the same plant.