I can truthfully say that this weekend I was the walking, talking, breathing definition of bone tired. OMG! All I can say is God bless whoever invented the lower back support thingy. I am feeling muscles I didn’t remember I had and the ice pack got in some serious overtime. Need to replenish the ibuprofen as well. BUT – we built three 4×8 raised beds on Saturday. A friend was kind enough to pick up a ton of garden dirt for us before the place closed and then we all – including his visiting nephew – took shovel in hand and unloaded it. We also put together a makeshift compost sifter and I separated out all the gorgeous homemade dirt that has been brewing for the past few months. I would not have had as good a result without the 50 blocks of mushroom medium that I bought from a local grower last fall. It composted down beautifully and the mulched up leaves and eggshells were all there! (Tips for the next round: leave out sticks from the trees; they don’t break down. Be sure to break up the eggshells before I add them to the pile and soak the cardboard egg cartons and tear them up into smaller pieces.)
So, back to the process. It took all day Saturday to get the beds built and the compost separated. So, Sunday after church and the grocery shopping I hit it again and got one bed filled with manure on the bottom (watered well), then a couple of layers of folded newspaper sections (watered). Then I shoveled in about 95% of the garden soil and added a couple of thin layers of compost. It didn’t quite fill the 12″ bed, but I wanted to save some of the soil for the strawberry bed. I removed some old hostas and bulbs and expanded that bed with manure and soil and planted 8 strawberry plants. They are already in bloom and one or two strawberries are already forming. Can’t wait!
So, next Saturday, we go for another load of dirt – we’ll have our new used pickup by then – and fill in one of the two remaining beds. I’ll put in my onion sets and broccoli plants. I know its getting close to the last good days to get them in, but we just ran out of time, money and energy this weekend. Its a hard process putting in new beds and an expensive one, but next year should be a breeze compared to this. Speaking of money, FYI we spent $168 on wood, manure and strawberry and broccoli plants. The dirt was $43. We will need another two loads of dirt to finish off the beds, one next week and another sometime in April when it is time to plant the other stuff. I think I may need a 4th bed about May. I kinda went overboard with seed purchases. 🙂
Here are a few before and after pics – enjoy!