Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Day Dan Made A Box Of Dirt

Listening to The Dogs from Detroit. They rock!

Dan is the vegetable gardener here at the Casa Concordia. We have been growing tomatoes each year since we moved in to the house but this spring Dan decided it was time to plant a real vegetable garden behind the cottage apartment. And we started composting. Things did pretty well and we were looking forward to home grown organic corn, tomatoes, carrots, beets, green peppers and cantaloupe. We also have a fig tree behind the cottage. I don't like figs at all but I was impressed with the hundreds of tiny green figs that were emerging. I do like squirrels. In fact I love squirrels. If I was an animal I would want to be a squirrel. Squirrels love vegetable gardens. They really loved ours and they loved all those figs, too. It was so hot, dry and dreadful this summer that the squirrels were starving and eating anything that had a little moisture in them like geraniums and succulents in hanging pots on the front porch as well as corn, tomatoes, carrots, etc. We didn't get a lot from the vegetable garden but the squirrels did and I guess we did our part in helping them survive the hottest summer since the invention of the wheel. Now that it's cooled off and rained the squirrels are not so stressed out and Dan will now try his hand at a winter veggie garden.

We have a really ugly backyard and don't want more yard maintenance (the front yard is plenty for us), so we figured we would use the backyard for veggies. See the box of dirt above that Dan made? It is our first raised vegetable planter! We figured a raised bed would be hella easy to make and we wouldn't have to do all that rototilling and digging in the nasty hard rocky alkaline soil. Dan layed landscape fabric down on the ground (to stop weeds) and made the planter out of four pre-sized 12 inch x 8 foot boards. Very clever, Dan. No cutting, less labor! This is always good! He then took a 2x4 and cut it into 1 ft chunks to brace the planter in the corners. So there you have it: a very sturdy and lovely 64 sq ft planter. It took him about 20 minutes to make this thing!

What about the soil, you may ask. If you have ever tried to plant anything in Austin you have found that the natural soil in these parts is pretty nasty and rocky and needs lots of amending with pH corrective stuff. We decided to detour this little problem with our new raised bed planter. To fill it Dan made 5 trips to the Home Depot garden shop (you may have noticed we shop there a lot because it's about half a mile from our other reason) and brought home a total of 72 bags of Texas Friendly Top Soil and Texas Friendly Manure. Here is a picture of Dan in the midst of moving all those bags from the car to the backyard. He is my he-man!
In addition he added all that rich, delicious, home made compost that has been churning away in containers in the backyard for the last few months. So, our recipe for the planter soil is pretty simple and easy - except for all that lifting and horrifying back pain!

The icing on the cake: Plants! Dan planted veggies that are good for Fall/Winter in Central Texas: Lettuce, carrots, beets and broccoli. He planted everything from seeds except for the broccoli. We shall see what happens.
Stay tuned.....

We are punk rock martha stewart

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