Sunday, February 17, 2008

February 17, 2008

Sunday night update.  Dirt day was a resounding success!  Despite being sick with muscles already sore from the day before, I started at 8:30 am and finished at 6:30 pm.  I'm not sure I'll make it to 8:30.

Since I already had 2 of the three ingredients to Mel's Mix and the compost place didn't open until 10, I went to Lowes (I dislike them but they're closer than HD) and got 2 sheets of 3/8" plywood and had them ripped to 1x8 sections.  Then I came home and set them out to create a wheelbarrow path to the beds from my driveway.  Finally, I unloaded the peat moss bales and vermiculite bags into no-sun land of my garden area to get them out of the way, staged for mixing.  By then it was 10 and my dad was there.  My dad and I went to Sky Nursery to get 1 yard of Cedar Grove Compost and picked up my brother's wheelbarrow and tools on the way back.  My brother was there when we got there and had set up my 20'x20' tarp in the driveway. 

We started mixing by dumping half a yard of compost onto the tarp and put 1/4 the peat and vermiculite on top and used hoes and rakes to mix it together.  Then we added more compost, vermiculite and peat moss until we had 1 yard of compost and half of our bagged ingredients mixed together.  Boy was that long, tiring work.  My brother tried to tell me I owed him one, but I had two comments for him.  It was HIS idea to go 15 inches high and did he forget the 15 c. yards of gravel and river rock I helped him shovel and spread over his side and front yard?  Oh yeah, never-mind.


Of course I had to listen to decades of experience telling me that my mix may be ok for seedlings but wouldn't work for mature plants.  Finally my brother deceased his banter down to "I'm skeptical about it" but he didn't want to read the book.  /sigh

So while they continued mixing, I went and got not just the second yard of compost, but another half a yard to make them happy.  Doesn't the load of pure compost look great above? Anyway, I conceded mainly because our calculations were for 6.3 yards of material  for the beds and I had only 6 yards worth of material, plus I needed some for the potato bins. 

Anyway, we busted through the wheelbarrowing the mix to the beds and then had lunch.  By then we were all pretty tired and the "mixing" of the mix wasn't quite so thorough.  We convinced ourselves that shoveling the mix into a wheelbarrow, dumping it into a bed and spreading it around would mix it well enough.  We were basically right. 

We finished up the beds around 5:30 and while my brother smoothed out the dirt in each bed, my dad and I filled the empty vermiculite bags half-full of Mel's Mix for use in the potato bins.  Also if there is any settling of material when it rains. I don't think there will be or Mel would have mentioned it, but I've got extra if need be.  I actually have about a quarter yard.  Not too bad calculating.  Of course the bottom 3 inches of the beds is gravel. /shrug

Notice that the corn bed is a bit richer in compost than the background beds.  That's because we mixed 1.5 yards of compost to 2 yards of bagged material.  It still looks good.

Finally, after we cleaned up and everyone left, I broke out 8 bags of Starbucks coffee grounds we'd stored up for a few weeks and sprinkled them over each of the beds.  I also did a ring around the drip line of my blueberry bushes.  I had just enough.  Then I gently smoothed out the grounds with a rake under the light of the moon. 

I'm very content with my garden now. It's light and friable as the book would say and it should retain moisture and drain like a dream!

Now I'm going to scarf down something to eat, take some NyQuil and Alieve and get some rest.

1 comment:

  1. Wow they look great!! Aren't you glad that you just have to do this "set-up" once LOL Just think, if you were using the old fashioned "row" gardening, you'd have to prepare your garden area every year...

    Great job!