Bill and I are both sore and tired from the weekend. We had humid and warm weather, and absolutely no breeze until the late afternoon. Either way, we had a lot of work to do.
Saturday morning Bill finished drawing up the plans he created to build our raised vegetable bed while I continued clearing the weeds and Bermuda grass from the corner of the backyard where this bed would rest.
Here’s a before photo of the corner:
The fences are all stucco and five feet tall. In years past, we grew watermelon in this corner, it gets full sun most of the day and drains really well. This summer we had been growing two artichoke plants, but they weren’t doing very well and our neighbor’s cat had been using this corner as a litterbox. I’m sure the artichokes were fighting for nutrients in the soil with the invasive Bermuda grass. The tree on the left is our Asian pear tree, it’s a very young tree and will give us four pears this year. Last year we had almost twelve. It’s kind of amazing since the tree isn’t really supposed to produce any fruit until next year. The pears are small (about the size of an apricot) but very delicious. The large shrub is rosemary. It was here when we moved in and has to be whacked back each once in a while. It produces a lot of thicker branches that are great when used as skewers for grilling shrimp and vegetables.
I went to work digging out the bricks (I found a few buried under the soil) and removing as much of the Bermuda grass as I could. I also came across a few giant roots that I think were from a shrub or plant from the neighbor’s yards. Bill went over the area with the tiller and I did my best to sift out the chunks of grass.
After the cleanup.
Here are the plans:
Build a two-tiered vegetable bed. Raise up the existing sprinkler head. Install a border and mulch along the edges to keep the Bermuda grass from invading (this might be futile) Fill the box with dirt from the front yard. Plant stuff and make it grow. Simple enough, right?
Work in progress.
Bill’s dad gave us a cordless circular saw that was a really big help. Louie came over Saturday morning with his dad’s pickup truck to help us run to Lowe’s for the lumber. We’re opting to use un-treated Douglas Fir. We wanted to use cedar, but it was a little hard to find (Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t carry it) and it was more expensive. We know that it will eventually rot over time, but it’s better for vegetable garden soil to be un-treated. Plus, we plan to be moved out before the wood begins to rot.
Bill and I were barely able to move the bed at this stage to this part of the backyard. It was really heavy! In the end, we had to call our former-roommate Doug to come and help us move it into the corner.
Moved into the corner and the new sprinkler has been installed.
Bill also added a step that will make it much easier to do any work in the upper tier. We’ll probably use a couple of pieces of rebar to anchor it into the ground and prevent it from inching away from the corner. There are bricks under each of the corners to prevent uneven settling. After I took this picture, we were able to move about four garbage cans worth of dirt into the lower level. We’ll mix in some mulch and manure to add nutrients and then begin filling the upper level. Then I’ll go to work creating an edge to the lawn. I think it will definately create a more manicured look. I hope.
Bill and I are both tired and sore. Bill’s allergies started going crazy yesterday and he’s still sneezing. I learned that my sunscreen (that I was really starting to love because it doesn’t smell like sunscreen) isn’t sweatproof. So my shoulders, and the back of my knees are very pink even after reapplying a couple of times. I also have a stripe of sunburn along my lower back where my shirt lifted up. Great.
Bill will be traveling a few days this week, so I’ll do my best to move some dirt in the evenings after work. We’ll see how much I can get done. This coming weekend, we want to be able to install a new sprinkler system in the front yard. The existing one is placed terribly. I think I heard that Patrick may fly down and give us a hand.