Biointensive Gardening

“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

 -Albert Einstein-

We are making progress towards the completion of our raised garden beds.  The entire garden area has been made level.  This was quite a process because just like everything on our property it was on a downhill slant.  Not only that, most of the native soil is rock-laden clay.  We moved most of the existing soil (sandy stuff we trucked in 2 years ago) downwards to fill the bottom corner of the garden plot.  We will also have to build a retaining wall of sorts at the lower corner so the whole works does not wash down the hill.  All of the old rickety chicken wire fencing will go and there will be sturdy posts put in to replace the wooden stakes. We have the heavier gauge wire fencing ready to be used.  Our dogs and whatever others dogs we have boarding with us have access to the entire fenced acre of land so a sturdy fence is important to keep them out of our little garden patch.

The majority of the beds have been constructed in place.  The garden has taken on a terraced look to accommodate the leveling process.  These beds are deep…22 inches…and the paths between them will pack down a bit too.  I am thrilled to know that as I age and my back aches even more, I will not have to bend way over to do my planting and weeding.  There is only one totally separate area that I have planted with rhubarb that will remain ground level.  I plan on transplanting my chamomile to that area to join it, the Shasta daisies and the hollyhocks.  All these are low maintenance and hardy growers anyway.  I also have a circular wildflower patch desperate for attention…maybe next year.

We checked with the topsoil supplier and it will be another week at least until they can access their pile.  They are at a higher elevation than us and things are still frozen.  We do have a good four weeks before we can plant anything outdoors but I can hardly wait.  We were able to get last year’s price quoted for the topsoil…a big savings.  I have as yet to rake up the old soggy leaves from the upper level of the property for the compost pile…another project.  This year we will rely on the quality of the topsoil to grow.  Next growing season we will have to have some natural compost ready to enhance its growing nutrients and I will not disturb the soil below 1 foot to keep the microorganisms of the spongy under layer healthy.  Sustainable gardening means putting something back into the soil that is natural and not chemical.  I have decisions to make on a fall-over-winter crop that will be dug into the soil next spring too.

It is a big expense to build a raised bed garden this way however it will offer years and years of enjoyable and accessible gardening.  Every year since we moved out here and I opened my dog grooming shop, I get to choose how my grooming hobby earnings get used.  Last year we built a cat habitat for our two shop cats to enjoy the outdoors in safety.  This year it is for the garden and greenhouse improvements.

Today’s “stone” is Day 109  building, planning, waiting, planning some more

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