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Building The Vegetable Garden

August 31, 2009

We moved into the new house in February 2008. My first major project was the vegetable garden. I had always wanted to grow veggies and now I could. Selecting the site was the easy part. It’s the only suitable site on the property. It’s at the end of the driveway, which is right next to the kitchen door. Very convenient. Now all I had to do was wait for the ground to thaw, till, and get started. Easy as pie, right?

March 12, 2008

March 12, 2008

I read many books and articles online. Here in Connecticut, we can get a free soil test. That was my first task, after calling to make sure I wouldn’t be digging into electric or cable or any of that. I dug in a few places, as instructed, to get my soil samples. What I found was excess amounts of gravel. I know our Connecticut soil is rocky, but this was definitely more than just rocky soil. I didn’t know what to think. Was this part of the septic system? Would I even be able to have a garden here?

I did more research into septic systems, made calls to the health department, and dug carefully in various spots to determine just what I was dealing with. In the end, we decided that what I was finding was not consistent with a septic system. Yay! Just under the sod, a little deeper in some spots than others, was several inches of gravel on top of overlapping strips of black plastic. I consulted my garden guru on how to proceed with turning this plot into a fertile habitat for my long desired veggies.

May 31, 2008

May 31, 2008

If I wanted veggies, the gravel had to go. I suppose if finances were not an obstacle, the reasonable solution would be to hire someone with equipment to dig out the offending gravel and haul it away. That wasn’t an option for me. We had just moved and I had a budget. So, I was left with sifting out the gravel myself. I sifted all the dirt in the site through 1/4 inch screen stapled to 2×2’s and suspended over a plastic bin. It was slow going, but I was determined to have my veggies. I spent over two months sifting dirt and lugging it around. The neighbors wondered what I was doing. It looked like some sort of archaeological dig. As seen in the photo, I removed large amounts of gravel, many rocks, and even a couple of small boulders. There was also a good amount of nails, bolts, and other rusty metal bits.

June 4, 2008

June 4, 2008

Several relatives spent Memorial Day weekend helping in an effort to have the garden ready for planting before it was too late. Thanks to their assistance, the great dig was completed as June was beginning. Kirk built the planting beds from 2×8’s. The middle bed is 4’x20′. Each side bed is 2’x20′. We left a narrow strip between the beds and the driveway for marigolds to lure the pests away from the veggies. Removing all the rocks and gravel left me with less dirt than I needed and an excess of gravel. All the dirt went into the beds and was then amended with peat and composted manure. To make paths between the beds, I put down new strips of black plastic and several inches of gravel. Kirk erected a 4′ fence around the beds to deter deer and rabbits.

July 3, 2008

July 3, 2008

The veggies got off to a late start, but did pretty well. We enjoyed fresh cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, and a few eggplants. There were tomatoes, but they didn’t do as well. The squash was soon infested with borers. We had one small head of broccoli from four plants, but I surrendered the rest to the cabbage worms. All in all, my first garden project was a huge success and a great learning experience.

August 2008

August 2008



6 Comments leave one →
  1. Bunny permalink
    September 1, 2009 2:09 pm

    HEY THERE! I wish you could share MORE of the pictures! There’s just so much more to this story … a HUGE project. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your projects online. I can’t wait to see Kirks pond .. in progress and completed! Great job!

    • Kate permalink*
      September 3, 2009 10:10 am

      Thanks, Bun. Did I ever show you those pictures? I do have a few more. I’ll show you next time you’re here. The pond may not happen until spring. I get the feeling Kirk wants a project of his own after all the work I’ve been doing. He was busy laying flagstones and hasn’t’ gotten to the pond yet. He has started gathering his rocks, though, so I guess we’ll see.

  2. September 3, 2009 9:26 am

    You did an awesome job on your garden. Sometimes the most back breaking labor is what makes the best feelings of accomplishment. I always end up doing things the hard way too! I found you through Blotanical and will go leave you a message there too!

    • Kate permalink*
      September 3, 2009 10:18 am

      Heather, thanks for stopping by. The garden does give me a nice feeling of accomplishment, especially when I’m out finding homes for all the rocks we dug up. You know, the hard way may be more work, but it’s great exercise. I’m still finding my way around Blotanical. It’s great seeing what everyone else is doing in their gardens.


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