From garden planning to garden building

A few weeks ago I showed you the development work which was underway in part of K’s garden in this blog post. A great deal of work has been undertaken since and recent photos tell a great story of progress.

K and her partner are continuing to debate fencing even before finishing the third bed. But, she remarks, ‘there is progress to show you since my last photos’.

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K tells me , ‘after completing two of three beds we started discussing fencing. And then realised I hadn’t allowed enough room between the beds and the fence that would run along the driveway. Once the fence posts are in, it would be too difficult to move along the pathway comfortably.’

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A view from top of the drive. The path needed about 20 more cms width. 20 cms!

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K’s partner came up with a strategy to brace the beds and use a jack to do the heavy lifting (or rather pushing). ‘I dug an extra 20cm width outside the far sides and inside the near sides of the bed. Then placed supports for where the corners would sit.’

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See above for a close up of the jack arrangement. The tool connected is an impact wrench.

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The photo above shows how it looked after the bottom bed was pushed – apparently taking all of maybe 10 seconds with the impact wrench.

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And then the top bed followed – another 10 seconds of pushing. ‘Straightening and levelling added; more time of course. I am particularly bemused that after half a day’s work and multiple cups of tea you wouldn’t know we had done a bloody thing. But I had my extra 20 cm and so could now fill the beds. Hooray.’

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The  photo above is the second bed. ‘Because it is quite raised now (on the slope) I filled the bottom of it with a bunch of old timber we had previously put aside from trees removed trees. Then filled in the gaps as best I could with twigs, horse manure, coffee grounds from my Audrey runs, chicken pooped straw from the girls at work (referring to the Silkies there – not my co-workers), and some cleared nasturtiums. If you are thinking “hugelkulturyou are correct; this is a bit of a hugelkultur/raised bed hybrid. Then all that was left was about 20 or so wheelbarrow runs up the street to my neighbours’ who had offered me some of their excess soil recently delivered and not required. Sorry – I forgot to take photos of the hugelkultur fill but remembered to take a pic before completely filling with soil’.

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Finally K was able to remark, ‘And voila! Just like that – two new beds. The soil’s not great but it’s a start. I’ll be adding in another layer of my home compost efforts from recent months before planting out. With all the rain the larger bed has now dropped noticeably as the soil settles into all the gaps of the huge fill. Stay tuned.

And stay tuned I will.

I feel sure that other RTBG Food Garden volunteers reading this will be eager to know more about K’s garden changes. K has returned to her garden studies and so, even when we are no longer isolated by the virus, she will be unable to rejoin our team at the gardens – but that doesn’t mean we aren’t interested in what she is preparing and growing. I am super impressed by the progress. This story is one that all gardeners face in principle. That is, with all the pre-thought in the world, as you do a job you discover unforeseen problems and solve them on a continuous basis. This is part of the joy (and hard work) of gardening.

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