Saturday, May 03, 2008

Garden Prep

Preparing my veggie garden is an all consuming task these days. The rain this week hasn't helped. It's really been a slow week. I have to say, sifting wet dirt is really not as fun as sifting dry dirt. It's really messy. Luckily, I have an old pair of jeans that is now three sizes too large. I put them on every time I go out to the dirt and when I'm finished, they're going in the trash.

Early on, I had a brilliant idea. I thought, instead of just turning the grass into the dirt and then having to weed constantly, I'd move the grass. There was a bare patch in the backyard that needed grass, so this seemed perfect. Well, I was so focused on my garden plot that I didn't bother watering the relocated grass. If it had rained at all, that would probably have been okay. But it didn't rain for over a week. Some of the grass is perking up from all the rain this week, but some of it looks very dead. Oh well. My wonderful husband wants to add grass seed anyway. I'm leaving the lawn to him.

This is turning out to be a much bigger job than I anticipated. I was prepared for lots and lots of digging and adding fertilizer and such. As I was moving the grass, I noticed lots of rocks. Once the grass was gone, it was clear that there is a large amount of gravel and plastic in my veggie plot. At first, I was concerned that it might have something to do with the septic system. This is our first house. The only thing I know about septic systems is a vague memory of my grandparent's backyard being off limits when I was a kid because their system was failing. I made a few calls and there's no record of where the leaching fields are. Can't even make a best guess going by the regulations because the regulations were different when the system was built in the 1960's. So, I fretted over it and discussed my options with my husband. Finally, I just carefully dug up the edge of it to really see what I was dealing with. Hubby looked at it with me and we have decided it is not likely part of the septic system. That's the good news. It means I can grow my veggies without worry of contamination. The bad news is that my plot was most likely an extension of the driveway before it was paved... when it was a gravel driveway. Veggies don't like gravel. So, all the gravel has to come out before the veggies go in. The pile of gravel didn't make it into the photo, but it's a good size pile and growing steadily. I've been told there could easily be a ton of gravel in my garden plot. I've spent the better part of two weeks sifting it out. I'm hoping to be done in another two weeks. That'll give me a week to lay the boards for the raised beds and work in the compost and peat moss and any other additives I need. Then I'll be right on schedule for planting after the danger of frost.

As a bonus, I won't need to buy gravel to line the walkways between my raised beds. I've already got plenty.