"There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food even if it is only a garden in your yard and a fruit tree or two. Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of food because of their foresight and ability to produce their own." ~ Ezra Taft Benson
Finally started the garden this morning!! :) Actually we built the boxes several months ago, but as with most of our projects life and distractions usually have us sidetracked. The boxes were built simply from scrap plywood and 2x4s in roughly 4x4 squars. We wanted them tall to minimize bending over and crawling on hands and knees and also in an attempt to keep the crabgrass from completely taking over the soil.
We have 4 of these larger squares and then set up one to be longer and lengthwise for the tomatoes so as to take full advantage of the full sun this area receives all day long. In order to save money on soil, we had two strategies. One was to fill the bottom of the planter boxes with straw bails.
Side note on straw bails... do NOT make the mistake of asking for hay bails.. they cost more than twice as much. I found this out the hard way. Our wedding was cowboy themed and our reception hall was to be decorated with straw bails. I had purchased them before to decorate for a Halloween party one time and they cost around $5 per bail, when I called for the wedding I accidentally asked for hay bails and they wanted $20+ per bail!!! I was in a panic because I didn't want to spend that much, even though I new I would be using it in the chicken coop later. I couldn't understand the huge difference, and it took a couple of phone calls before one of the vendors finally asked me what I wanted it for and kindly told me that I wanted STRAW bails not hay bails. :) It still makes Caveman laugh to this day because I didn't know there was a difference.
Another way we were going to save money and a reason why it took so long, was that Caveman had planned to buy the soil at a discount from a local company by a truckload full instead of spending more than double to buy bags from the store. While waiting on soil the sink in our kitchen began to leak something awful every time we ran the faucet and I got tired of treading on water puddles whenever the kids finished loading the dishwasher.
Instead of putting a nice new sink in our crummy old counter, we began work on the kitchen remodel we had put off for 6 years. Several weeks into that project and I really had no hand in it myself, so I told Caveman I was just going to buy enough dirt to fill one box so I could get SOMETHING of a garden started... Well as usually happens when I say I want to do something contrary to what Caveman had planned, things start moving forward! ha!
Here is our lovely pile of soil compost with two of our more lovely children industriously shoveling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow load of the stuff and we dumped it into the first box.
We made the mistake of filling the first box without wetting any of the layers of soil... so learn from that mistake, because once we got it full it took allot of effort and mixing to get the water to sink in and drain properly. Rather it floated on the top for a bit and my son had to stab and stir the soil with a rank handle.
After that first box, I decided to water each layer of soil as they went into the boxes and that worked out much better. Caveman and my son raked out the layers as they went in and mixed the soil to get it all nice and moist and ready to take seeds and plants.
Actually, my sons fancies himself more of a supervisor, but he still did an exceptional amount of work. :) Everyone did so much work this morning. It was really gratifying working along side my children and husband getting something accomplished together as a family that will benefit us all.
So, there you have it! Garden soil is in and ready to go. Going to plant some seeds tonight and see what we can still get out of this summer and looking forward to trying some winter crops. If you have a home garden or small farm plot, please post your comments, and ideas below! :) Part 2 - The Planting coming soon!
"If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh