*edit I added some before pictures
So I’ve talked about it garden/gardening project for months now. I figured I would share some pictures and talk more about. It has been a great way to deal with stress related to all things IF. Nothing makes me feel better than digging in the dirt. It relaxes me and I feel joy and pride at making something out of nothing.
Our project is in it’s final stages. We have done 90% of the work ourselves. We just have some regrading the we might out source. We have been working non-stop for at least 6 months. We are running out of steam. We got crazy quotes for doing the whole project in the $17k-20k region. It is easily 6500sqft of yard that we wanted to redo. Instead we did it ourselves and spent about $2k for 90% completion. And our time, a lot of our time.
I started ripping out 1200sqft of junipers on a hill in our yard in January and worked anytime I could, well when there wasn’t snow and during naptime. I became very efficient with my reciprocating saw. I named her Betty. It took me until April or May to finish. It was hard work.
Water drainage was an issue we had to consider because we were stripping a hill bare that, at some points, drained right into the house. And of course, the idiot who sold us the house had done a French drain that was completely incorrect and sticking out of the ground. Just one more thing to replace. Not very expensive for us to do but time consuming.
As I ripped out the junipers, we terraced the newly exposed ground. There are a bazillion large, 100-200lbs, rocks on our property. So we used these. This saved us money. I planted seeds, moved plants from other parts of the yard and looked for sales on perinneals. It would have been fantastic to buy beautiful, mature plants to put in but also very, very expensive.
I am interested in having space to plant veggies in an area that has perinneal herbs and flowers that will spread and will not need a lot of water. I’m going for a potager/companion planting style of garden that works for our climate. And bees, lots of bees. I would eventually like to keep some so it is important to consider plants that they love, like Russian sage. I also have a lot of space to fill so I planted things like Russian sage, mint, salvia, catmint, echinacea and yarrow. I was also gifted an edible strain of nightshade. It is an heirloom seed brought by a friend’s great grandfather from Russia, her family is Volga German. A very interesting heritage. It is doing well. It is called schwartzbeeren.
After ripping out the junipers, I discovered grape vines. Old vines or at least very old stumps. After they no longer had to compete for water with the junipers they sprang to life. The two uncovered first are enormous. The last one is small but still growing. I am assuming they are concord but don’t know for sure. We also bought two gewurtztraminer vines but only one survived.
The last section that needs to be dealt with is a patch that will stay grass for our animals. It is a small patch but it needs to be regraded. It drains towards our house. We are burnt out with all the work we have done and as of right now, digging, moving and leveling yards and yards of dirt isn’t something I should really be doing right now. So we have hired some guys to do it and they are sloooow. I have a pretty good idea of how fast I work and have done exactly what they are doing. I’m pretty sure I could keep pace or even be a little faster than one of these guys. They were the lowest bid so I guess you get what you pay for. They will get it done eventually and that’s the important part.
My garden has exploded in the last month which is very exciting. The section I planted first is doing the best and even seems slightly over crowded. I have four tomato plants that are huge with green tomatoes the size of my palm. We really didn’t know how well the soil was going to fair because it had had junipers on it for 30+years. I had been warned by many gardeners that I would have to heavily amend the soil. The growth and health of the plants on my hill garden have shown that wasn’t needed. Amending soil is a long and slow process so I’m glad I didn’t need it.
I really couldn’t be happier with how my sloped garden has come along. It has given me something productive to do while I wait for test after test during this transfer cycle. It has really helped my stress level. We have also met quite a few neighbors who have been curious about our plans. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback concerning our progress. It has been nice to meet so many neighbors and hear how excited they are about what we’ve been doing.
Calendula that E picked out and planted
A resurrected grape vine
The start of my strawberry patch
Part of the slope.. The pallet is where the chickens will be.
Our gabion wall and more terraces with my $5 roses that are starting to bloom.
Close up of the gabion wall.
Giant tomatoes and schwartzbeeren.