Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Think Spring

It is the last day of my 4-day weekend, and I was determined to make it count. The sun came out and even with the wind it was a good day to be outside. I find it so easy to get caught up in the day to day indoor stuff, that the outside does not get the attention it needs.

I have an overall plan for our yard - in so much as I want out house to have curb (and back alley) appeal. With more chicks coming and a plan for bees in the future, a nice looking view for the neighbors is the easiest way to sell our lifestyle to the community. (that and fresh eggs)

So with this in mind, I went out to build the first raised bed (with a plan of 5) in our alley parking area. There is space for 3 cars - we only use one space so the remaining area will be a raised bed garden that will be mulched along the paths. I envision zucchini & tomatoes in the beds with nasturtium growing out the sides (I left holes in places for just such a use. There will be sweet peas (or real peas) on 6 foot trellises between the beds, creating a partial screen. Or maybe sunflowers. oh oh Potatoes.

So far it looks like this:

I did sort of build a bed last year - but I never finished it. It was a wood frame surrounding a potato box and 1/2 the frame had wood on it. But it looked bad - and was virtually ignored along with the spindly tomatoes I had planted in it. By the time winter had rolled around most of the planks had fallen off and the box inside was droopy. Even the frame was falling apart at the seams. (It was, along with the failed quail hutch, a bad design and execution) I had already dismantled it, salvaging what I could - the potato box went to the garbage and the soil into the new bed.

Here is the view from our neighbors' back yard:

The pallets are from another neighbor - I had planned to dismantle them and use the wood, but they are so well put together that I end up breaking the boards and the nails stay in the 2x4 frame. I keep them stacked up neatly while I figure out the best plan of attack.

The small box is a nest box we salvaged - I will build a trellis with 2x2 and chicken wire for the above mentioned peas. There is room for 2 more large beds (roughly 4x6) along the retaining wall + up to three more nest boxes.

The bed is filled with layers of compost, straw from the hen house and rabbit hutch, old potting soil & dirt from putting in the flagstones. It took about 3 hours to assemble and fill. Right now I have old storm windows on top - to help heat it up (and break it down)

Back to the job of scrounging up materials (as of now this project has cost me a tube of caulk . . . so 3 dollars - I wish to stay in that budget.)

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