Heya cats and kittens!
I don’t know how you all feel about getting dirty- like gardening dirty, not like creepy and inappropriate dirty.. this isn’t THAT kind of blog.
I really enjoy gardening. Now that we finally have all the space in the world on the Dream Farm, I decided to get my handy-skills out and conquer one small slice of all that dirt to make a garden!
I did a lot of research first. Have you ever heard of “Companion Planting”? If not, I suggest you Google it. And then Pinterest search it. Be prepared to fall down a rabbit hole of information! Basically, it’s the idea that some veggies/plants grow better near others, and much worse near different ones… so the idea is to plan your garden(s) to optimize their awesomeness, and keep the grumpy neighbours apart. A happy garden is like a functional 60s sitcom neighbourhood. An unhappy garden is like living next to a scavanged carcass. Or, you know, just a lot of dead vegetables. I might exaggerate the importance here. Anyway, If you’re going to grow stuff, you might as well grow it NICELY, right? So, I did all this research, and here is my garden map. Yeah. I planned this out like a weirdo, in my bullet journal. I know. It’s gross.
So, if you zoom in, you’ll see I actually have 2 garden beds. One is for “brascias”, and one is for .. uh… salsa stuff. Nightshades? Something like that. I also planned where to put it, as it needed to be somewhere near full sun most of the day, and I knew I was going to have to fence it to keep the local wildlife away- we have bunnies, and deer (which I haven’t seen, but have been warned about), and voles, and something that left some really big doggy-type foot prints, but maybe hasn’t been back since.
I decided to make each bed 6ft by 4ft, so it would be easy to reach to the centre from any side, thereby making me NOT have to sit inside the garden to tend it, and thereby also hopefully not squashing anything with my butt. I used UNTREATED pine boards for the boxes, so that the treatment stuff wouldn’t leach into my plant-babies, and I used organic soil (cuz that’s what was on sale at Rona. Honesty.). The reason I built boxes, instead of just planting in the ground, is because our soil is clay, and also, since it was all dug up recently to put in the new septic bed, it just seems like a weird idea to plant food where things..uh… disperse. Know what I’m saying?
Here are my supplies:
4 pieces of 6ft by 12″ pine
4 pieces of 4ft by 12″ pine
16 bags of organic black soil
enough very small weave chicken wire to cover the bottom of each box
A shovel or flat roofing shovel
A large roll of larger-weave chicken wire
staple gun and staples
a bunch of small paving stones (Thanks Laura and Koree!)
a rubber mallet
Lots of sweat. Like, LOTS.
1.Decided where to put those gardens. Get one of your 6ft pieces of pine, and one of the 4ft pieces. Brace them, and drill the corners together to make an L. Now do a 7 using another 6ft and 4ft piece… and then attach those together. TADAA! FIRST BOX DOWN!
Repeat for box 2, then drag them around until you have them in the right spot. Remember to leave at LEAST a 16″ border all around, and between each box, so you can navigate around them. I left 2′ between, so I can comfortably sit between them.
2. I covered the ground underneath with my small-gauge chicken wire, and then I covered THAT with newspaper, to help limit the grass from growing up into my gardens. I guess I could have cut the sod, but the gardens are actually in one of the few areas WITH grass in the yard, and cutting grass is hard, and I was already sweating like Aquaman in the desert, so I skipped that. Then I filled those babies with dirt! Allllll the dirt.
3. Now for the fence! THIS part i DID do some digging- made my lines in the turf, and dug it out a little so the fencing would slide in a little, and so I would put my posts in a straight line. I figured out the spacing for them, and used my rubber mallet to really wail on them until they were about a foot into the dirt. I spaced mine about 2.5′ apart, and that back fence is the back wall- I made sure each of those two back corners had a tight post against it. Once those were in, I started unrolling my heavier chicken wire, and stapling it to the posts. THIS WAS THE HARDEST DAMN PART! holy moly- GET A FRIEND TO HELP YOU! I thought I might sweat/swear myself to death doing this. Eventually, I had it all wrapped. I had left a 2.5ft opening in the front centre to put my gate in, so I went side, front, side, and then all across the back. Then I used my pavers/bricks inside AND outside the fence, to press against it and stop any little critters from digging under.
4. To build the gate- pretty much the same idea as the boxes, only with the heavier chicken wire stapled across it. Once you have that box built and covered (I used extra fence posts for the sides, and that way, the gate is the right height! The only difference is, I made sure the extra length of the posts- the part that would be in the ground- actually sticks UP into the sky- and this gives me a handy handle to open my gate with, and also to lock it shut by wrapping it with a bungee cord to the rest of the fencing.), line it up with the fence post that you want the hinges to be on. Mark those spots on your gate AND that post, and do the hinges. Put them at least a handwidth up from the bottom, and down from the top, to better distribute the weight, and save pinched fingers. I attached the hinges to the gate FIRST, then propped the gate into place with a paver, and screwed them into the fence post.
(I realize the pavers aren’t in this picture, cuz I actually figured those out later! But you lovely smart folks might want to do that part right away. Also, in the above picture, I hadn’t chicken wired the back fence yet, because I was waiting to check with the neighbours.. it’s their fence. Remember that bit about the scavanged carcass? I don’t want that.)
Happy digging! Stay tuned for updates.. you should see what these babies look like now!!!