Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Garden Project (Part I)

I've come to grips with the fact that I'm living my college life off the beaten trail. I have chickens and rabbits in the backyard. I haven't blacked out. I haven't even eaten Top Ramen yet.

My newest project that will push me even further into the thicket of "unrelatableness" to my peers is a garden. Not just container gardening either, a full fledged 100 square foot plot of raised beds in my backyard.

The first hurdle was a large ominous shrubbery that covered about half of the space in the yard.
(I had already started working to tear out one of the Rhododendrons in this picture...)

You can't tell how much of a whore this bush is from the picture, but it was the biggest. With such a cute innocent name, Barberry, one would assume that it shouldn't cause too much trouble. Well don't assume jack-shit, 'cause you weren't there. The Barberry has basically no redeeming qualities: no beautiful flowers, no pretty smell, no edible pieces. It does have lots of thorns though, and a ridiculously strong will to live.

Still reeling from Christmas, I asked my parents just for their help tearing the bush out for my birthday in February. The following pictures document the ensuing battle...

Used a hack saw to sever the limbs

 Digging around the root ball. 

Using ratchet straps to leverage the root cluster out of the clay. 

Breaking the roots up 

Finally making some progress; any place we nicked it, it bled yellow. 
(Booo! U of O colors!)

Out she comes! Sonofa...

So much better. Weren't even gonna try to tackle the Rhodie's roots, we just put the raised bed over them. 

So much better! Ahh... feng shui...


This struggle took the greater part of the day.
My parents are fucking awesome.

After the root-ball-from-hell dried out a little, we used out new fire pit to give it a ceremonial burning.

Too bad we forgot it was the devil and nothing we do can kill it!

The next step was building the raised beds...

And that was the end of one very long Saturday.
I picked up working on the project again in April, when it finally stopped raining long enough to order topsoil.

I got my two yards of soil (special veggie-growing edition) from Shamrock Landscaping & Nursery, they delivered it right to my house, ah-mazing!

Then, with help from one of my amazing roommates, we got the soil distributed to all of the beds.

I couldn't plant anything until I had my chickens contained, they are notorious for digging and scratching in loose soil and eating tender little seedlings. So using left over chicken wire from the building of the coop, I fenced off the garden. Using the cages I transport the chickens and rabbits in, I lazily blocked off the other side of the patio as well.

(A funny note on this subject, my roommate Cori and I were sitting out on the patio when she said, "It's funny how they haven't thought to jump over those cages yet." No more than five seconds later, a chicken ran up to the cages and jumped over. Way to jinx it. Thanks.)

Picked up two extra chickens when I got my animals back after Spring Break... 
In case you were wondering. 

We get an absolutely insane amount of precipitation here in the Pacific Northwest. Our patio has a metal sloped roof that has a pretty steady stream of water coming off of it during rain storms. I put a 20 gallon garbage can under the dripping one night and it was filled by morning. The next day the wheelbarrow was full too. I have almost all the beds planted and haven't used any water from the spigot yet.

I have almost every square inch of the garden planned out; planting everything from marigolds to melons.

More to come in Part II!

No comments:

Post a Comment