Garden is done!

This was a labor of love and need: the need for easier weeding, the need for fencing to keep out critters and the love of a pretty (and neat!) garden space.

A month of rain made this a challenge to accomplish given the need for electrified tools. But during the final “push” my husband was fed up with waiting for the rain to stop so he set up a canopy under which he could use the saw to build the final piece of the puzzle, the gate.

We dug the post holes using a two man auger (it alone weighs 75 pounds) and (thankfully!) had the help of some family that were in for the weekend. The amount of effort involved in managing one of these machines cannot be understated–the weight of the auger coupled with the weight of the soil you are pulling up is just so, so, SO much. And you have to do this several times per hole, ugh. The holes that were not obstructed by rocks were drilled very quickly, but when we hit rocks (which was half the holes!) we had to dig them out by hand. The holes took 2-3 hrs to dig out and the vast majority of the time was dedicated to rock excavation.

******There are lots of pictures, click to make larger.

Once the posts were set, they were braced to keep them level and concrete was poured into the holes.

Then the rails went up, hardware cloth was mounted and the bases were attached:

The raised beds were made deeper than our previous ones–these are 10″ and made of 2″ pine, untreated. The beds are 2 foot wide to make weeding easier. The strawberry beds are in front of the garden. The grass has been dug out and weed fabric is next. The middle will have small beds and a hexagonal concrete form on which we would place a bird bath. The garden orients with the slope of the yard, everything slopes away from the house.

Good quality (I hope so given its price) weed fabric is laid down, mulch is loaded on top of the weed fabric and LeafGro is hauled into the beds. We ordered 4 yards each of mulch and LeafGro–about 5 tons each and we hauled it wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow. It was purely exhausting work, I need a nap just thinking about it.

In the home stretch! The wood will eventually gray and appear less stark.

Final push: the gate was made, the birdbath went onto the hexagonal form, the strawberries were planted. To keep out birds, chipmunks and squirrels but allow bees, he built strawberry bed covers using the left over hardware cloth. Added copper caps to the posts, did some finishing and voila!

So dang worth it. I love it.

Update on all fronts

I have something to say about all of our projects! Chickens, bees, garden, meyer lemon.

I let the chickens out twice today and they really enjoyed it. When we had a large pile of compost in the back, they would go over there and dust bathe and just loll about in the warm, soft dirt. Today, there was no pile but there was sun:

Doesn't this look relaxing?

We have a couple of raised garden beds under a maple tree and over the years, the yields just haven’t been so great from those beds. The roots of the tree infiltrated the beds and sucked the water and nutrients out. Today was the day to move it:

The old location.

A very large pile of dirt that we then screened and replaced in the new location.

The raised bed was moved. It was leveled and the screened dirt was replaced.

Another bed in the line. The second one from the right was the home of the monster crookneck squash plant last year. I'm so glad we're not growing squash this year.

The bees were bringing in pollen: bright orange, light yellow and a grayish color. The bees were hard to photograph:

Full pollen basket at the top of the picture.

My hive stand has kind of started tipping. I’ll need to level it off before I can install the Freeman hive beetle traps:

Can you see it leaning a bit toward the front and to your left under Demeter (purple hive)? We had A LOT of rain this past year and the weight of the hives just sunk the stand into the ground a bit...but not evenly.

My meyer lemon tree has had some serious yellowing of the leaves and they were DROPPING!!! Can I just say how much I was flipping out? Within 2 weeks it must have lost at least 3 leaves a day. I was wondering if I was watering too much but Al’s 5-1-1 mix should pretty much eliminate that problem. I stopped watering for a while and the leaves still yellowed. One thing that told me it was okay was the presence of new growth–the tree had new leaves coming on almost all of the branches. If it wasn’t water, then the only other option was lack of fertilizer. I was using Foliage-Pro (just a tiny bit) every time I watered and there was some citrus granular fertilizer in the mix but I have a feeling it just wasn’t enough. Citrus trees need lots of fertilizer and I’ve been giving it about 1/2 cup of the granular fertilizer every 3 months or so. It was time to fertilize when I repotted it but I didn’t want to stress the tree any more. I guess I waited too long.

I added the fertilizer under the top layer of dirt and just watered it last night–I left it in the sink to drain and then set it back on it’s rock-filled saucer. It’ll probably be a few days before I know if it worked. I really hope I didn’t mess it up with this new mix…