Since we are featuring gardening ideas this week, here is an older post showing Tawra’s house when they first moved in and how they set up their garden beds for square foot gardening. If you have seen her recent pictures of the house, you can see how far they have come.
We have been working on the gardens each weekend and it has been some hard work! Right after we moved in, we had to replace our septic system and afterwards, the yard was a big muddy mess. We are first working on the septic tank mess.
Here is the "before" picture, where we started outlining the garden with the free bricks we got. You can see all the dirt where they dug for the septic tank and it’s just a mud pit! My motto is, where’s there’s mud there’s a potential garden! :-)
Here is the area over the drain field for the septic system. I’m going to try and put in a huge drought tolerant perennial bed. I was going to try and do it all this year but I think my dreams are bigger than my or Mike’s energy. You can see he started rototilling in the front and then the tiller broke. We are going to have to wait until we can fix it to get the rest done. It’s just too hard to hand dig. BJ is going to put his Giant Pumpkins in the back.
This is how it looked after we got the compost filled in. We just decided to do everything as raised beds because the ground is such hard clay it’s not worth digging unless we dig it out. We are going to cut down the septic tank vents so they don’t stick out so much. All that is right on top of where they put in the new septic tank.
This is our raised beds for our vegetables. We are going to make four raised beds this year and then, if we need more later, we will add them. I am doing my favorite method of gardening, Square Foot Gardening. It is SOOO much less work than traditional gardening!
Of course my wonderful husband did all the digging to get the bed straight and then he hauled and filled in with compost. He has worked hard but once it’s in, then it’s easy!
For all the paths, we are putting down newspaper or cardboard and then mulching with free wood chips.
That’s our start for this year!
Where do you get free wood chips?
most tree trimming companies want to get rid of chipped trees. call and ask if free.
Michelle in MO
Thanks so much for the Container Gardening website link! It is awesome and I am looking forward to trying this.
Question: Do you use the soil mix that they recommend? I was just wondering about the vermiculite they add to their soil mix.
I use the soil mix in Square Foot Gardening and even though my crops are just starting to sprout (I live in the south), I can already see the difference. In January, I gave up on my lettuce due to a late freeze so I didn’t bother watering them anymore, but they still came up…getting ready to harvest the lettuce and the spinach I planted!
we get all the free woodchips we want from our local Electrical Membership Co-op
From experience…the cinder blocks work GREAT!!! Make sure you plant inside each and every one of the cells around the perimeter-you will effectively increase your planting area exponentially!! GOOD LUCK! As for soil…get some organic manure (usually free) from a local farmer and till it in with some wood chips or bark-it makes WONDERFUL soil for your garden! BE BLESSED!!!
Try planting herbs or insect repelling plants in the empty squares of your cinder blocks.
I love these ideas and you make it look easy. I may get bold enough to garden.
Where did you get the cinder bock?
This looks like a great project I can’t wait to try it!
The building across the street from mom was done with construction. We asked if we could have the ones in the dumpster and they said sure you want more? They had several pallets full of brand new ones they were just going to dump!!! So we go the whole family out including my brother and his family and hauled bricks and cinder blocks for 3 hours one night! Yes, they really do love me!
Hello! I live in Northern Alberta, Canada. We are still having a few snowfalls and our ground is frozen. But I have an unbelieveable cure for your clay soil. Buy a bag of Gypsum (layman’s term is “Clay Breaker”) from a farm-supply store in your area. Sprinkle it over your soil and let the rains or snow fall onto it and let nature do the work. After several months (or in the Spring with the latter) Cultivate your soil with tiller or shovel. It will turn your clay into soft useable soil. It is a miracle in a bag. Don’t believe me? Try it! You can even treat those nasty clay lumps leftover when you’ve freshly planted trees in your yard. As a city dweller, every square foot of soil is precious and bagged dirt is expensive. Don’t pay for dirt when you already have it. Just treat it and let the Gypsum break the physical bonds of soil, water and sand locked into your clay soil.
Take it from a Farm Girl. You’ll me telling ALL your friends!
Elizabeth, your advice about using gypsum for clay soil caught my attention. I was wondering if it’s ok to use the gypsum around plants that are already growing in the clay?
Joyce one thing if you can find scraps of regular sheet rock, you can break it up and use too. That is what Tawra uses because sheet rock is made of gypsum. I think she usually puts that stuff on the soil during the fall so it has all winter to break down.
Yes, absolutely. Another name for it is Calcium Sulfate and it’s been used as a Fertilizer and soil conditioner for centuries. It can also be used on your lawn to soften the soil, to help it better absorb water and avoid compaction problems which many people attempt to resolve using aeration.
Thank you to Jill and Elizabeth for your answers. They’re a lot of help. Now to just get it done. Thanks again.