There have been a few posts this week about getting our garden up and running. We put some of the finishing touches on it during our weekend. The layout of the planter boxes turned out a little differently than I had drawn on the graph paper. It just worked better for the space and the gravel we ordered. Neither of us can believe where we started and where we ended up. I usually put the money shot at the top of the post but you are going to have to work for this one. It is so much more impressive when you see the progression. We are kind of like proud parents, even if you told us our garden isn't that impressive we would be certain you are lying and jealous that it isn't yours.
Well it started out looking like this. Weeds everywhere. We figured we would just live with them and at least the planter boxes would be free of them after we put something down to kill them.
After some consideration we decided that maybe we should lay a gravel path in between the planters. We contacted the landlord and they agreed to take on a portion of the cost since the project would be an improvement to the yard. We were pretty excited and got some weed block on order to take care of the weeds so we wouldn't be weeding through gravel. Then there was a decision to rent a rototiller and in the words of my husband, the project began to take on a life of it's own.
We decided to line the planter boxes. I think it was a wise choice since it was free wood and we are growing veggies in there so I feel better about them being lined and nothing leeching into the soil. It felt like an episode of Dexter lining them. I promise you there was no blood spilled in the making of this garden. Well there was that one incident when my thumb hit the tree but it was merely a flesh wound.
The experience of buying enough top soil and gravel for this project had a bit of a learning curve to it and a reminder I should have retained at least a little more high school math. Once we finally figured out the area that we would need to fill and how that converted to cubic yards we were all set. In case you come across a similar challenge google cubic yard calculator and you will be on your way. Thank you internets you saved us again. After we got everything tilled we headed down to a local landscape place to look at gravel. It should have been no surprise but it turns out we have expensive taste. The rock we really loved was $400 a cubic yard. Needless to say we picked something a little more reasonable. We got 2 yards of 1/4 blue granite. It is a pretty standard gravel for paths. Until you purchase something by the yard you really have no idea just how much that is. The below picture is 5 yards of soil and 2 yards of gravel. We looked it up and it is 5 tons of soil and 2.8 tons of gravel. In terms that might make that more imaginable. 5 yards of soil equals about 75 wheelbarrow trips. 2 yards of gravel equals about 30 very heavy wheelbarrow trips. Don't forget you have to get the product into the wheelbarrow first. Tom is pretty tired right about now and he can't stop kvetching about the 8 tons he hauled.
While that last bit made it sound like he had all the fun and now has all the aches let us not forget someone has to smooth out all the piles of gravel. I think I will make a core exercise video that centers around landscaping projects. Who needs pilates when you have weeds and gravel. After the first day we had the majority of the driveway cleared and the garden was starting to come together. We made a trip to the hardware store for some edging supplies and then called day one done. Surprisingly this entire project only had us at the hardware store 4 times. That is an improvement over the last project but at least 4 trips.
Day two we finished up edging and cleaning up the driveway. The dump truck load is now all in the backyard somewhere. We decided to extend the gravel to the deck so it looks even more like a complete project. Behind the garden we finished getting rid of the weeds and planted a bag of wildflower seeds. Sorry we didn't use seed bombs but this covers a larger area. May need to sling shot some seed bombs into some other areas of the yard for the thrill of watching random patches start to bloom. In the effort of full disclosure; my brother is the maker of seed bombs and I am extremely proud. We also planted a border of zinnas around the front of the garden. The stakes are ready to make the trellis for the cucumbers and peas.
While the garden is ready for takeoff I am afraid Tom and I are ready for a weekend off. I don't see any big projects come up next weekend. The planting will start in a couple weeks while Tom goes golfing, assuming the night time temperatures are staying in the 40's by then. I am so excited to see everything come up. I just with that burpee catalog would show up so I could circle seeds like I used to circle the Toys 'R' Us flyer and the Sears catalog at Christmas.