Friday, February 15, 2013

Starting a garden from scratch

The previous owners had a spot where a garden once stood by the well house. It was full of half buried railroad ties which could contain creosote which is the black goo that the railroad company used to coat the ties in to prevent weathering. Some studies say that it can cause cancer. We don't need any more cancer so...out they go. 

This is a picture of our well house (so you can see the progress). This location is good because it has full sunlight and is close by a spigot for water. 

My cowboy Nate used the tractor to pull out the old ties. 

The result was a bathtub effect. It had to be leveled...a little bit or I would be on uneven ground. 

Luckily I know a cowboy with a dozer so we leveled it out. 

The result was unearthing the red dirt Oklahoma is famous for. 

I then started to construct my raised beds. I have six in all. They were put together with bolts and a couple of boards. I used half to make a desk (posted on here) and half to do raised beds. I was able to start with six. For the first year do not overwhelm yourself. 



First I placed the wood 'square' on top of the ground. I was lucky since my cowboy had done some work with the dozer.
Second: I then dug down and made sure that I did NOT step inside the bed again. You can compact the dirt with your weight and earthworms love to be able to move about. I used old feed bags around the outside to start killing off the weeds. You can use newspaper, paper bags from the grocery store or you could use cardboard boxes. Just wet them down and viola, you have instant weed suppression.


I then also wanted to kill off any weeds inside the bed. I added black garbage sacks and rocks to keep it from blowing away. I waited two weeks and then you can start amend the soil after a soil test and plant.

Note to reader: After becoming overwhelmed with garden layouts I just chose a block style garden. Sometimes you just gotta start something and plant...and change it year by year. Sometimes if you are super organized you can do a garden plan depending on what you want to eat/can/display. Just don't spend so much time planning that you don't go outside and do the 'grunt' work! 

More to come on these beds so look for future posts.
1. Installing a temporary wire fence to keep out dogs and varmints. 
2. Installing the drip irrigation system for under $60. (wow)
3. Installing the hoops for a hoop garden and installing the 'netting'.
4. Creating walkways using the feed sacks above and wood chips.

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