This weekend it was time to construct our garden. Two weeks ago we took a trip to the Home Depot to buy supplies to make some beautiful raised garden beds. We left the store with one packet of zucchini seeds. For the amount of space we wanted, the cost of building the garden boxes was high. As in, over $100 high. Plus the dirt to fill them would have been another $150 at least. So we left the Home Depot feeling very disappointed, but got some dinner and felt slightly less disappointed.
We spent a lot of time trying to figure out a new plan. After talking with Julie we thought my landlord would have some spare lumber under the barn that we could use. There was really only enough for one garden box though. Plus we would still have to buy a lot of dirt.
There was also talk by one of the meg'n'greg team (I'll let you figure out who that was) of acquiring some of the old railroad ties that were piled up all along the railroad that runs by the barn. Unfortunately this did not seem entirely legal, and we also figured that these might be pressure treated, in which case we would not want to be growing food out of them.
A new hope for our plans of a beautiful garden was restored when my landlord told us, "You only need to make the boxes if you want to be fancy." Good point! I do like to be fancy, but strongly prefer being thrifty. The soil at the barn is not good, so we would still need to get a scoop of dirt, but we had known that would be a cost the whole time. So the latest and greatest plan would be: borrow my landlord's tiller and build a garden in the ground. I think a classic, in-ground garden is more our style anyhow. And we would get one scoop of dirt to spread on top to make the soil good for growing. This way we could have a bigger area for gardening, without needing two scoops of dirt, since we could spread the top layer a bit thinner. Mind you, when I say "dirt" I mean composted cow manure. Nothing but the best for our garden.
This past weekend was a beautiful, warm and sunny weekend. On Saturday morning we checked in with my landlord to get some tools and the tiller. He suggested, and Greg agreed, that it would be best to pull up the sod first, and then till the dirt underneath. I was thinking that tilling the grass was fine with me, but I had to agree that the extra work would be worth it, so that we would not have a bunch of grass and weeds (at least not as many) growing in the garden in a couple months.
And so we begin.
Here is Greg, shoveling the border of the garden. He also used the shovel to mark out a grid through the whole garden, in order to have squares of sod that we (really just he) could pick up and move. After Greg shoveled the squares, I used the pitchfork tool to pull the square of sod up from the ground.
I also focused on rock removal. I doubt this pile comprised even 1/10th of what we were to pull out of the plot.
This photo actually has nothing to do with the garden. This is the trench my landlord dug to bury the wire for the well pump. It was a day for manual labor at the barn.
Meanwhile, back at the garden, Greg was busy finding the second yield of the garden (the first being rocks).
We kept finding these root vegetable-looking things. They looked like little parsnips, and smelled like carrots. Greg tasted a bit and said it was alright.
Here we have some action shots of sod removal.
Pick it up.
And carry it to the wheelbarrow. I promise that all of the other sod squares were more perfect squares which could be carried with much more grace.
Here is proof that I worked too.
This is how I used the pronger-tool to rip up the sod square.
At the end of the day on Saturday we were quite exhausted. Too exhausted to bother taking a photo of the final plot of sod-free ground that was slowly but surely becoming our garden. Or maybe, as the designated rock-remover, I was just too embarrassed to have a photo showing just how many rocks were not removed from the plot.
On Sunday afternoon our dirt scoop was delivered. We smoothed it out, and then put some of the rocks back in. As footpaths. We figured it would be good to have designated footpaths through the garden. Plus it looks good that way. And we had so many rocks leftover that we surrounded the entire thing with rocks. And we still had two wheelbarrows-full of rocks leftover. For sure, we got a lot of rocks.
I present to you, our garden (plants coming soon).
It turns out, the in-ground garden can look pretty fancy after all! Here is another view, which shows the footpaths rather well.
I am definitely of the opinion that all the hard work was worth it.