End of an era

This past weekend the last two of the original garden beds were replaced.  After over twelve years, all of the garden now consists of six garden beds that ‘hopefully’ won’t need to be patched up and repaired each spring.

For anyone interested in building a garden bed like these, check out my earlier posts where I go over more of the details. See Garden Expansion and Out with the old.

The replacement followed the same script as in the spring. I started off by digging out the dirt from around the inside of the beds and piling it into the adjacent beds.  With the soil removed, I could start pulling out all of the old side boards.

Removing the soil around the original beds

West garden bed with the soil removed around the original bed and one of the sides removed.

Garden bed lost containment

Warning!  Garden bed lost containment!

Old bed parts

Some of the old bed parts.  They held up quite well for being next to soil and out in the weather for so many years.

Two new beds waiting for their new home

The two new beds waiting for to be moved to their new forever home.

Thankful for the neighbors spud bar for use removing all the old posts

I am very thankful for my neighbors generosity in lending me his spud bar for use removing all the old posts.  Some were so rotten they practically fell out.  Others were still very well stuck in the ground.

Second bed missing its walls

Second bed missing its walls.

There are some small gaps between the boards and around the bottom.  I used some landscape fabric to line the insides of the new beds to help keep the soil inside.

Final two new beds all ready to grow vegetables next year and hopefully for many years to come.

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Out with the old. In with the new.

After 12 years, it is finally time to start replacing the original raised garden beds. I’m starting off this spring by replacing two of the original four beds with a plan of replacing the remaining two this fall.  The two beds added six years ago are holding up quite well and I decided to construct these replacements the same way.  I bought enough 12 inch raised bed corners from Gardener’s Supply to build two new beds.  After that, I needed to get 12 cedar boards for the sides.  I picked up these 2 x 6 x 8’s from Menards.

Enough cedar boards for two beds

Enough cedar boards for two beds

I used 8 of them for the long sides and cut the remaining 4 in half to form the shorter, 4 ft ends for both beds.

Cutting the 8 ft boards in half to make the ends

Cutting the 8 ft boards in half to make the ends

I found I could save a bit of money by buying the 12 inch corners but continue to use the 6 inch lumber. The corners hold both boards just fine and I drilled two extra holes and added two more screws.

12 in corners with just two pre-drilled holes

12 in corners with just two pre-drilled holes

Two more holes and screws for good measure

Two more holes and screws for good measure

Continuing assembly

Continuing assembly

Completed bed awaiting its new home

Completed bed awaiting its new home

Digging out the inside perimeter

Digging out the inside perimeter

It turns out, building the new bed was the easy part. Removing the old beds was a bit of a back breaker. The 4 x 4 cedar posts  and sides were pretty easy to remove as they have been there for some time and the bottoms were mostly rotten. The 2 x 2 pressure treated support posts I drove in over the years to help hold the bed together were another matter all together. After a lot of digging and prying with a shovel I managed to finally get them all out or broken off below the soil line. After a week of resting my back, I tackled the second bed. The second bed being replaced was not going to be so easy. That bed had four repaired posts secured with some Quickrete and the 2 x 2 support posts screwed into the 4 x 4. If I was going to build this style of bed again, this is how I would have done it. For this task, I borrowed my neighbors spud bar and while my back didn’t hurt any less than the first bed, it did make the job possible without breaking my shovel.

Original garden bed completely removed

Original garden bed completely removed

New bed maneuvered into place

New bed maneuvered into place

Remains of the old garden bed

Remains of the old garden bed

New bed with soil returned

New bed with soil returned

Rinse and repeat. Do it all over again on the second bed.

Rinse and repeat. Do it all over again on the second bed.

Both completed beds

Both completed beds

Now… let’s hope that these new beds last at LEAST another 12 years.

Spring Garden Update

Spent a bit of time in the garden tonight. Hard to pass up 70 degrees and sunny.

I’ll start with the good news first.

There is green in the garden!  The peas are comping up pretty well and I am hoping to hold off the pill bugs long enough to get them up off the ground and out of harms way.  Radish plants are doing well along with both the Romaine and Salad Bowl lettuces.  The spinach is a little spotty, but I am hoping enough of this first planting will grow to get us by until I get the second batch started.

The peas are coming!  The peas are coming!

The peas are coming! The peas are coming!

Another view of the peas.  Trying to be a bit artistic but not sure I puled it off.

Another view of the peas. Trying to be a bit artistic but not sure I puled it off.

Short row of radishes

Short row of radishes

 

Now, as for the bad news…I’ve got another busted raised bed that is in need of repair this spring before I can plant in it. At some point, there won’t be enough left to repair and I’ll need to replace them.  Until then however, back to Lowes for another set of 1x1s I can cut down to make spikes I can drive in to shore up the sides and posts.

Another busted bed again this spring

Another busted bed again this spring

A weekend of garden prep

With the weather actually quite warm this weekend, it was nice to finally get a chance to go out to the garden and get things ready for the new season.
I raked out all the undecomposed grass, leaves and pine needles and repaired the three busted corners. Nine more support stakes and a lot of dirt digging and I think I am ready to plant.

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Garden bed with winter debris and broken corner.

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Cleaned up and repaired garden beds

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Winter break is almost over

While you wouldn’t know it by looking at the weather outside, we have now officially entered into spring.  So, that means it is time to wake up, stretch and start planning the 2014 garden.

To start, I took a short survey of the garden beds to see how they fared this winter.  Sad to say, three of the four originally constructed beds are going to require more repairs again this year before planting.  As can be seen by the pictures below, the problems are the same as that of the past couple years.

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Broken bed corner

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Second broken bed corner

Now, on to more exciting planning, I have started laying out my plan for what and where to plant this years vegetables.  I started off with last years plan and attempted to work in a bit of crop rotation along with my experience in plant spacing.  I had a number of crops that were planted too closely together and while I am sure to do that again this year, I am really trying to learn and give each vegetable its space.

2014 Planting Plan

2014 Planting Plan

Finally today I have done some shopping and preparing my list of seed purchases.  Looks like costs have gone up, not that I should be all that surprised since it seems the cost of everything goes up each year.  I really need to look into saving my seeds from year to year and save some of that money.  I tend to leave them in the garage or some other inhospitable place rendering them less ideal for spring planting.  When seed packets were just a couple bucks it wasn’t that big of a deal but with prices getting up to $5 a packet, the total seed order is getting quite expensive.

September gardening

It was a wonderful September day to do some work in the garden.

The weather in Ohio can be pretty volatile.  We’ve been known to have some pretty harsh winters and some sweltering summers. This week give us a hint of both. On Tuesday (Sept 10th), the Garden Weather Station recorded the highest temperature of the year, 97 degrees*. In just four days (morning on Sept 14), the low temperature was a nice and chilly 40 degrees.  A swing of 57 degrees.  We also managed to finally get a little rain.  You won’t see it on the weather page though due to the return of the spiders gumming up the rain gauge again.

Despite all the changing weather, I am still getting tomatoes and cucumbers.  This has been the latest in the year I have had cucumbers still being harvested.  My family (and neighbors and coworkers) have been spoiled this year with all the fresh cukes.

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Still getting cucumbers

I spent a couple hours in the garden today doing some of the clean up that I should have been doing over the last few weeks.  I removed a number of weeds, the two squash plants, the pole beans and dead leaves from the cucumbers, brussels sprouts and lima beans.  In the end, I filled a lawn back with discarded plant debris.  As can be seen in the pictures below, it was a great day to be in the garden regardless the chore.

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Beautiful September day in the garden

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September sky and sunflower

 

* The thermometer still reads a degree or two high when the sun is bright and hot.

Two tons of small river rock

Or also known as “Ohh my aching back”.  After all the new construction last spring, a number of new garden walkways were created.  I was out of steam (and had already spent enough money), so I left the spaces between the beds and around the perimeter as bare dirt.  With the recent rains, the walkways were getting pretty muddy and the weeds were getting off to a fast start.  So, with an 18% off coupon and a weekend that was dry, partly sunny, and not too nice to be booked with fun family activities, I decided it was time to take knock this off task off the list.

After some calculations, it looked like 2 tons of Small River Rock from the local mulch/landscape provided should do it.

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Two tons of Small River Rock

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Graveled Walkways

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Hired Help

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Finished Path

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Adding the finishing touches

In the end, the job took about 2 hours to complete.  Having someone in the garden helping make the job go a lot quicker.