Saturday, June 15, 2013

Adding Determination and Plain ol' Hard Work

Last weekend we cajoled our girls to pitch in for about an hour to pull weeds in our new garden and I was amazed that we were able to get the whole area cleared.  We had laid one of those black cloth-like weed barriers beneath the wood chips when we first built the playground area, so that all had to be pulled up as well.  Most of the chips have decomposed into a nice top soil, but last fall's leaves are still there, so the area was a mixture of both of those, plus tough Putnam County clay and rock as well as old sandbox sand.  One good thing: there are tons of earth worms, even those huge "night crawlers," as thick as my fingers!

Today was a beautiful dry day, and not too hot, so I spent a little time down there filling buckets with sandbox sand and distributing it to areas that had more clay, moving leaves to the sandy areas, and stirring in some good soil from an old compost pile.  But I knew if I had to mix all this in by hand, well enough to plant a healthy garden, it would probably take me weeks.  The area is roughly 30'x 30' - really a good size!  There had to be a better way...

Luckily, there was!  We bought this tiller years ago and have gotten good use out of it, but it hasn't been in running condition for a while.  Thank goodness Mark is handy and was able to tinker with it this afternoon (with a little help from Youtube) and got it up and running again!  Yay!

In under an hour, he was able to go through the whole area twice, mixing all the leaves, sand and clay into a nice homogeneous mixture and aerating everything really well.  The soil looks dark and loamy, perfect for a lush shade garden, and now it will be fairly easy planting.   But before we do that, we have to decide where the paths will be, lay down new weed barrier there, and cover them with gravel.   We may pull up the existing wood frame too, so we can make the shape a little more natural and organic.  I think it's going to be great...  Cassie is already making herself comfortable there, as you can see!  I can't wait to get a bench, maybe an obelisk for climbers, a whimsical statue or two, and maybe a water feature...

No comments: