Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time to Bed Down

Ed just wasn't happy with his vegetable garden last year. He made up his mind that he was going to have a nicer garden this year, and to do that he wanted to build some raised beds.
3 of our 4 raised bed boxes, 4' x 14'.  The 4th is wider at 7' x 14'.

As it happened, there were some small, ancient bleachers in the big hall outside my classroom.  Last fall the district decided the bleachers were no longer safe and should be disposed of.  My aide, Kim, who is also an avid gardener, quickly volunteered to take the 14-foot seat boards off their hands.  We each took half the boards, and Ed has been storing 9 of those big boys in our yard all winter.

Last week, Ed purchased more lumber and hardware, and we set to work building 4 big boxes destined to become raised beds in his garden!

While we built boxes, our son-in-law Chris roto-tilled the old garden area for us...

...and our son Dylan tried to tame the mountain of topsoil and mulch that was blocking the hen house and shed doors.  (Eight yards of dirt cost $266!)

Luckily, moving all that dirt was a little easier because of Ed's tractor (circa 1952) and an attachment that allowed him to scoop up the dirt and dump it in the beds.

The first bed (the wide one) is set into place at the side of the house.
The strawberries will go here!

Although the tractor helped by transporting the topsoil, all that dirt still had to be moved around inside the bed.  Chris and Dylan had that job under control. 

This first bed was the toughest because it was the widest, plus the tractor could only dump the dirt in one spot at this narrow end, so it had to be shoveled and raked all the way to the other end. 

Ed brings in another load.

The other beds went pretty quickly.  Besides being narrower, Ed could dump the dirt anywhere along the long sides.

Just after we'd finished filling the first 3 beds and set the final bed in place, the tractor ran out of gas.  Ed decided it was time to take his laborers out for a pizza.

When we returned with full bellies and a full gas can, we were stunned to find that the final bed had been filled with topsoil during our absence!

Danny Keith, a young man from church who returned from his mission about two weeks after our missionary son Jacob left, had come by earlier to borrow Ed's cutting torch.  We were gone when he came by to return the torch, so he got his CAT off his truck and moved the last of the dirt for us!  What a guy!

All 4 beds set up, filled, and watered.

Next: planting a garden!

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