Hey all! Time for a kitchen garden update!
When I left you all a few weeks ago, we (Peter) had dug out and filled a pea gravel path to the workshop/shed/duck house, and we were just tackling transforming the entire side yard into our (let’s be honest, my) kitchen garden.
Well, a bit has happened since then!
First, this yard did have grass in it. Crappy grass that had been beat up by ducks and was patched with crab grass and clover, but turf nonetheless. So, the first step was tilling that up.
We talked about renting a tiller, but frankly, we will need one repeatedly over the next few years. However, a giant gas tiller was neither in the budget nor super practical for the size of our space. The kitchen garden really requires a smaller tiller, and I’m trying not to buy too many appliances that require gas. There’s maintenance and cleaning involved with gas motors that just…sucks. And literally everyone I know who has a gas tiller has to get it fixed every dang year? So, we bought a small electric tiller.
Admittedly, with our clay soil, it took quite a while for this little guy to eat through the turf, and Pete had to do most of it because it really jumped for a while, but overall we’re pleased with it. It did the job, cost under $100, and it’s ours for repeated use.
Once the yard was completely tilled (aside from the edges, which I’ll have to dig up with a shovel), I set to work figuring out the structure of the garden. I finally settled on a series of beds separated by paths of mulch. I figure this year is experimental, and we’ll play around with the design.
I got the tiller out and (after tilling in a year’s worth of duck muck– thanks, ladies!), tilled the paths really deeply so we could go back with rakes and trench them out. Once the initial till had been done, it was pretty easy for me to go in and use the machine. I just, you know, had sore arms for a week.
Basically, there are a series of rectangular beds with approximately 2′ walkways between. Each bed is anchored by a caged plant (tomato or pepper) and will be filled in with other stuff. I’m still refining this plan, though; I may move a couple things around still.
The Boy is obsessed with the space. We’ve already planted radishes and beets together (which he loves), and as soon as we get home, we go check for sprouts. Then, we talk about where the plants we started in February will live.
I’ve planted dwarf blueberries near the fence posts, and plan to hang these strawberry bags on the fence, as well.
We love coming out here every evening. I cannot wait until things are growing and we can wander out after dinner and sit down on the ground and just look at our work paying off. It’s my favorite thing to do. Like, I literally sit in the dirt and look at my plants and touch their leaves and poke their flowers and wait for bees and butterflies to buzz by me. It’s a very geeky, zen thing.
We’re about a week away from the frost date (even though it’s supposed to get down to 20F tonight WHAAAAAAAT?) and I’m just itching to do more out here.
Soon, friends. Soon.