Friday, May 13, 2011

It Begins: The Raised Garden Bed Project

I'm excited to share with you that we started prep work on our various yard projects yesterday!  It doesn't actually look like much yet, but it's a pretty huge start for us.  Work on the raised bed (herb, veggie, flower, etc.) garden is underway!

In one of my recent Wordless Wednesday posts, I featured a picture of the hibiscus bush that we had in the yard.  The hibiscus wasn't doing too terribly well where it was planted because of the neighbor's massive tree: it was in the shade (they usually love full sun down here) and the tree's root system seems to be taking over.  Knowing that made me feel a little better about the fact that we had to remove it since it's in one corner of the yard where the raised garden bed will be.  My first order of business was working on chopping it down; Scott had to help me get the roots out of the ground (it was in deep and seemed to be fighting for it's life).  Can I just tell you how it broke my heart to get rid of it?  This is ultimately what it boiled down to:

This Was the Hibiscus Bush

Scott had the not so fun task of working on the massive root system that was taking over that corner of the yard.  The roots there run deep and actually intersect a few times.

This Root System Must Go, Too

This is the corner where the hibiscus bush was before removal.  The garden bed will extend from this corner across the entire length of the back fence line and also come out a feet few along the side fence lines.

Hibiscus Corner

Since this corner is so shady, this is where the mint garden will go.  I already have peppermint, lemon balm, bee balm, and catnip which are all members of the mint family so that's a good start.  I hope to add chocolate mint and spearmint, among others.

While Scott was working on the roots, I started raking to pull out grass and weeds as well as to start leveling the soil along the fence line.  We need to get a tamper to really level things out, but this at least gives us somewhere to start.

Pretty Much the Whole Length of the Raised Bed

Here is the teeny, tiny little container herb garden that I have now.

My Little Container Garden

It includes: rosemary, mint, lemon balm, bee balm, basil, parsley, celery, lemongrass, scallions, and lavender.  The lemongrass and my aloe will go on the opposite end of the yard from the shady mints since it gets SOOO much sunlight down there.  I started a pineapple plant, too, so if that continues to do well it will go in the sun.  Aside from that, everything else is up in the air.

I know I want to get a beautyberry bush (I love the name, it reminds me of a 3 Day training walk when I first spotted one, and apparently you can make wine from the berries!) as well as grow calendula and chamomile.  I had a yarrow plant a while ago, but the poor thing died in the winter so I'd love to grow another one.  I heard that to grow garlic, all you have to do is plant a few cloves of it in the ground: a flower will blossom and eventually, you'll have a bulb of garlic.  (psst: Just found this great post about growing garlic.)  That's really just a few ideas, but there are so many herbs and veggies that I would love to grow!

Coming up next (hopefully next week) in the project will be getting the tamper & finishing to level the soil, finishing up with those huge roots, and assembling the raised bed.  What are you working on in the yard/garden?  Please share!


Jessica Cauthon said...

You may already know this, but just an FYI from someone who has made the mistake and after ten years, is still paying for it: Put all of your mints in containers and do the best you can to make sure the seeds don't wander too far. The entire mint family spreads like wildfire and it literally takes a fire to make them go away forever.

Athena's Armoury said...

You know, I keep hearing that... I've only had container gardens so far, but I remember that when I was a kid we had mint planted in the ground and never really had much of a problem. Weird.