Big Plans

So…..there is a void in my photos and blog posts for the last year.  We didn’t expand or do anything cosmic with our garden, and it was planted really late.  Normally we like to get everything in the ground by March during our spring break.  Allowing us to avoid the last frost and still offer the plants ample time to get ready for the upcoming hot, dry summer.

2015 had some serious spring and fall flooding.  With us planting really late in spring most of our garden was lost especially the squash, zucchini, carrots and peppers.  We didn’t try to recover from the devastation.  After the spring monsoon I lost my drive to post or photograph the progress for that year.

2016 brought a new desire to get back into the soil; we’ve made some big plans.

Raising the Garden bed one more level

Raising the garden bed

The Square – our main raised bed we’ve been using for the past couple of years. I say raised loosely, from the front to the back section it slops about 6”, so the front of the garden bed is level with the yard.  It is 13’ x 13’ and has a nice layer of gardening soil (1 part sandy loam and 1 part mushroom mulch).   

“Plants that are grown in sandy loam need frequent irrigation and fertilization to support healthy growth.  Incorporating a 2-4 inch layer of compost or peat moss over the area can significantly improve the ability to hold nutrients and water.” – Daniel Thompson

Our biggest gripe with this bed – ever since we carved it out – was that it really isn’t raised above the yard.  It is extremely easy to fling the soil over the blocks when we till for the new season; and throughout the growing season grass and weeds loved to crawl over and get their clutches on the lush garden bed.  So this year we are adding another level of cinder blocks to the bed to give us more room for soil to play with in and keep it from flying out.

New Garden bed

New Garden bed

The Longhouse – our newest addition to the plots is 12’ x 18’, and the surface is raised 6″ above our yard.  As with ‘The Square’ we are using ordinary cinder blocks (8x8x16). 

The garden soil will be purchased from the same company we did before ‘American Stone and Turf’.  While I was writing this post, I started to doubled check my calculations, and to my horror discovered a massive mistake. When I ordered the soil I didn’t catch on that they were selling it in cubic yards – commonly done.    All my measurements were calculated in cubic feet not yards.  So I ordered a full truck load ~ 16 yards of garden soil, when I only need somewhere around 8;  3 yards for “The Square”, 4 yards for “The Longhouse” and 1 yard for the extra buckets we are adding.  Luckily I was to fix my mistake and modify the order to just half a load.  I am not sure what I would have done with the extra 8 yards of soil.

So why was it so easy for me to make this rookie mistake, Kelly Trimble illustrates it really well in Gardening By the Numbers: How to Calculate Cubic Feet and Cubic Yards

I will post construction photos on my Flickr album Garden 2016, and plan on having a follow-up post with illustrated plans.

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