There is a project that Ron and I have been working on since mid-April. I have held off on sharing it because I was waiting to have something in it to show. We woke up at an early 6am and the view out our bedroom window had us very vexed. So, it is time to show the project and get some help from you experts out in the world.
RAISED BED GARDENS!!!
I know, not very excited to some, but it us, this is project has been a long time coming and it is very very exciting. We have always had a veggie garden. Though, in the past, it hasn't been much more then a small tilled plot with a half dozen or so plants. The new house gave us the opportunity to change all that.
Our yard is a full acre and although we would like it to be all lush and green, there is a large area what is dead and brown. In 2000, when an addition was put on the old house, they brought in a ton of "fill" to raise the level of the yard. Instead of bringing in "clean fill", they basically put a parking lot under ground. It is all the gravel and asphalt leeching into the ground killing the grass (and the two big trees that used to call the backyard home).
A big dead spot is PERFECT for raised beds!! Ron did tons of research, took ques from our friends Lindsey & Lucas that have beautiful raised bed gardens, looked at photos on flickr and videos on PBS.com. He debated if we would use cedar or pine for the wood. Once we heard that cedar would be about $50 a board and we needed 12+ boards, it was decided that the $5 pine would be the way to go, lol. And NO, not pressure treated, that would be putting chemicals into the soil... not good.
It was a really brisk cold day when we set to building the beds. The weekend before Easter, if I recall correctly. The sun was out, but oh how we shivered! The fill for the gardens is free leaf mulch put out by our town every spring. This isn't mulch in the classic bark like sense that you are used to. Leaf mulch is rich and black, and so much better then dirt. It took 8 truck loads (Ron filling his truck each night after work) to fill the beds. And they could probably use more!
We set to trying to grow plants from seeds. And frankly, we suck at it. Our tomatoes are tiny, our onions are so fine their stalks look like strands of hair, lol, and our peppers barely came out of the soil. Now, I know some things are easier to grow then others, but come on. LOL. We put the plants in the beds anyway, and added a few green house bought ones as well. Moving from the east to west in the garden we have planted... strawberries (a whole square bed to themselves), about a dozen tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, peas, beans, broccoli, eggplant, squash, cucumber, and zucchini. My Mom has taken over one of the beds too. So add to that list... spinach, radishes (yuck!), beats, more tomatoes, more peas, more beans, and other things I can't remember.
Now... our veggies are in jeopardy!! Homer, the groundhog, is eating everything!! Homer lives under the shed in the neighbor's yard. We see him out in the yard every couple of days. He is a bold groundhog, coming up close to the house, yet he races away with so much as a click of the door unlocking. Damn thing. GRRRR!!!! He has eaten all Mom's peas and beans... he has taken an eggplant... and chewed up the tops of the tomatoes too. We started researching what to do. Some say mothballs, but that is illegal because it contains a known carcinogenic (who wants that next to their veggies anyway), some say animal urine, Lindsey says Milorganite, I have read about electric fences, and Mom got these little gray-my-bobs that are supposed to work (but don't).
Lemme hear it... what has worked for you gardeners of the blog reading world?!? Lots more photos in my Flickr Photostream!!