Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Garden Spot

Kelly has wanted a garden at every house we have owned so far and so far I have let her down on the last three. It was time to make that change.

My Neighbor Bob was wanting to start construction at his place so we came up with a plan to get an excavator out there. My contacts didn't work out so well so Bob suggested renting a backhoe instead. To make a long story short, that's exactly what we did and three of us ended up splitting the rental. We spent the better part of three days excavating for Bob's house and shop, then I started on our garden spot. The plan was to make a rock retaining wall and then fill it with topsoil.

I gathered all the rock I could at Bob's while he was running the backhoe. Kelly and I stacked it up pretty quickly but it was really easy to tip over once it got over about 15' long so we used the backhoe to move all the boulders we had into the wall line. That helped it a lot. Then we filled in the gaps. Kelly took the new 4-wheeler and snowmobile trailer and gathered more rock around the land. I used the backhoe to gather rock and mine topsoil.

Once we saw how rocky the soil we had was we called to get a price on topsoil. It was almost $400 a truck!! Yeah right!! I'm too tight to spend that kind of dough on dirt so we started mining it again. The girls would ride with me for an hour at a time. I ended up making about 60 trips from the bottom of the hill to the garden spot and I burned about 20 gallons of diesel making it happen but it's done now. Enjoy the pics.

Somehow we got started without taking any good before pictures.

With all of the tractor work done it was time to start tilling. That took some time to arrange since we don't own a tiller. My In-Law's donated two to the cause. One needed some work and the other was a "Mantis" tiller that is an awesome machine for making the seed rows. My folks ended up giving us their old tiller in the hopes that we could fix it and use it. When they quite using it we were all under the impression that the motor was shot. It was stored under their steps for the better part of 10 years without an air cleaner or spark plug in it. I picked up a plug, poured a little oil on top of the cylinder and hoped for the best. I tried to start it the next day and on the first pull that old briggs fired off and we were in business.

Kelly did all the hard work though. She tilled and raked rocks for over a week. These pictures will give you some idea of how many rocks were in that "topsoil" that I mined. She's still cussing me. After the majority of the rocks were gone she hauled a load of manure in from the local feedlot. After shoveling it all out she tilled at least twice more. Then I got to do some fencing. 6' tall woven wire. The posts were 8' tall so starting them was interesting. I think I'll go for the shorter ones when we fence the rest of the land.

To say the least the garden has taken off. These pictures were taken this morning. It takes some water to keep it all going the right direction but I think that we are going to have some excellent produce this fall.