05 January 2010

New Year, New Raised Bed

The past couple of weeks, I've felt very unmotivated to work in the yard. There hasn't been much sun left when I got home from work, and the temperature was starting to drop. When I have been home early, I just haven't felt like going back outside. It's rained some too - enough to make it no fun to work in the mud.

I saw no end in sight, with Ella starting school on Monday - so I had to give myself a big push and tell myself that it was my last best chance to get stuff done. It must have worked, because I got another raised bed almost ready to plant in two afternoons.

Wednesday afternoon, I swung by Lowe's near work and picked up ten cinder blocks. I wasn't sure how many I needed, but they're heavy and I didn't want to load down the car too much. When I got home I discovered I only needed only five more, so I immediately ran to Lowe's near home before traffic got bad. When I got back I laid them out and leveled them. Now they were ready for the compost.

Even though I'm off on New Year's Day, my only chance to get compost from the county landfill was after work on Thursday. I knew it might rain, but as long as it wasn't raining more than a light drizzle, I would still go. When I left work the rain was holding off, so I decided to go. I put plastic down in the back of our hatchback and I was off. When you buy compost by the ton at the landfill, they weigh your vehicle entering and leaving and you pay $10 a ton for the difference. I had been there in the rain before and it wasn't that bad, but today was just extremely muddy. I was having to scoop right on the surface of the pile to get the fluffiest and driest stuff. The deeper I dug, the wetter and more compact it was. It was a slow process - I also suspected that it would weigh more and I'd be paying a little extra because of it.

I loaded the car as full as I dared and then left to be weighed. 520 pounds of compost cost me a whopping $2.60. The landfill and the recycling center sell the same compost for $2 per bag - the bags probably weigh 40 pounds. Going to the landfill may be a little more effort, but it's well worth the price difference.

Once I got home, I backed the car as close to the garden as possible and shoveled it into a wheelbarrow and dumped it into the new raised bed, repeating that process four or five times. So, I'm nearly ready to plant in the new bed - I thought I would plant more lettuce or spinach, but I realized I have only a month before I will need to plant more onions and potatoes, so that bed may sit fallow until February. Our broccoli is close to being over done, so I may pull that out and plant spinach there - we'll see. I've got places to put possibly five more raised beds. As I'm thinking about the warm-season vegetables I want to plant, I may need all of those. I've posted a diagram of my raised beds here.

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