Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vegetable Garden vs the Trees

Well, we did it finally.  I'm a bit sad, but also excited... When we built our house 19 years ago, we kept as many trees as we possibly could.  I  love! all my trees, as well as the birds and squirrels that make their homes high up in their branches.   
However after 19 years of working doubly hard to have a great vegetable garden while lacking the proper sun, we finally took down two mammoth oak trees at the top of the hill.  We are both not getting any younger, and I want a working garden more than ever, while we are still young enough and able to get the structure in place.   I enjoy growing our own food, and it's great exercise too.   Most years we have been able to grow some tomatoes, summer squash, broccoli, cucumbers, and leafy vegetables, but not in the great quantities we should have with the raised beds.  I cannot grow eggplant or peppers, two of my favorites. 
This shot was taken quite a few years ago.  We have about 24 raised beds, about 4 x 4 1/2 each and a long bed across the back. They're about 10" high, with nice rich soil.    The paths between them are lined with heavy black plastic covered by several inches of gravel.  We have room on the wooded side to add another long bed, but put it off because some of the boxes are getting crumbly after several years.  While we replace them we are going to re-do a bit, and make narrower longer beds.  It'll take longer because hubby has irrigation lines running into each bed to conserve water. 
This past time we used 2 inch thick pine (not pressure treated, it's poison) for the boxes and that held up for a long time.  This time we are using thicker rough cut pine from the sawmill, and blocks from Home Depot.  I really like the cobblestones and might buy a few at a time so I don't realize how much I'm spending on them!  They might be expensive, but will never have to be replaced again. 
The raised beds are pretty and make it so much easier to garden. Usually in the fall we dig in some of our shredded leaves and some compost, and the beds are nice and fertile.  We don't have to till anymore, and can just work the soil a bit and put the plants in.    After planting we add some composted chicken manure and then line each bed with newspaper and a ton of shredded leaves so there is very little weeding to do. 

Anyway, I have convinced hubby to add a whole new garden to the top of the hill where the trees were.... That is what we will concentrate on for this year, and I will plant the existing garden for one more year.  We've finally learned we can't do it all at the same time anymore, especially with my growning list of craft shows...

...will take some photos along the way!  
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Anonymous said...

Enjoy...I love to garden, I plant along the inside perimeter of our chain link fence in the backyard. Your added space sounds like it will be great. Will you be using the downed tree for firewood?

Sassafras Hill Primitives said...

Ronda, thanks so much, we will enjoy it. It'll be backbreaking work, but it's one of the things hubby and I have in common and can do together. And it's good excercise which we both need. Sadly I have put on some pounds since I've become a crafter by trade...
We actually sold the firewood while the guys were still in the trees. They told us to put up a sign and it sold in an hour... I miss our woodstove, but my mom is next door and has severe asthma.

Doreen said...

I am hoping to talk my husband into raised beds this year..I think they work so much better and I love how they look.

Wishing you a lovely day,

Sassafras Hill Primitives said...

Doreen, yes! you have to talk your hubby into raised beds. It's a lot of work to get them in, but every year they are in will save you a ton of work. They're easier to work in, and it's awesome not having a bunch of weeding. We keep adding more of them, for the herbs, etc. Large rocks also make great border material should you have the room for them.
Plus, being in the north, they warm up and dry out faster in the spring, so you can start some things earlier!
well, hugs and a happy day!

Sunflower Summer

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