Just last week, I talked about how we are going to start growing our own food, and I want you to know that I do my best to act upon what I say. Well, just last Thursday, we started putting the plan into action. I was thinking of what I could use to set the outline of the garden, when my wife told me that there were a few railroad ties that the previous owner of the house used to set against the fence between our property and the neighbor’s property. I assume at some point in the past the neighbors had dogs, or something that was getting under the fence. But anyways, I drug those railroad ties, along with some 4 x 4 treated lumber that I found near the same area, and created the outside edge of the garden.
I did not have enough railroad ties and 4 x 4 pieces of wood to finish the garden in the size that I wanted, so I had to get creative. So what I figured out was to take from the large limb that we had cut up and put back behind the house to be picked up by the trash man, cut that limb to size, and used it to fill the gaps so I could get the size garden I wanted. With the way the materials lined out and looking at my original plan, I decided to build a 15 x 16 foot garden, instead of the 16 x 16 foot garden I had originally planned. It worked great, and here is the result:
Now, before we get to the problems here, I wanted to point out the good things. First, we did not have to buy any railroad ties or lumber to get this garden laid out and ready to go. Further, the leaves that we put in the garden to fertilize the ground weren’t paid for either, we have a couple of live oak trees (see right) that provide us plenty of leaves that we can rake up and use for fertilizer.
But, as you probably can tell, we have a problem here. The problem is that the live oaks and other trees that are providing us with the free fertilizer are also giving us too much shade. I took this picture during the middle of the day, and I am going to have to solve the problem of too much shade. As you may know, most vegetables need direct sunlight to do well, and only part of the day does the garden really get the good, direct sunshine.
So you say, that’s easy Jeffry, just get up there and trim those trees that are shading the garden. However is isn’t that easy. These oaks are many years old, and the parts that are casting the shadow over the garden are extremely high up, and the part that needs to be cut is extremely thick (i.e. it would be very difficult to use a pole saw to cut it). So I guess I am going to have to get a tall ladder, and climb on up with a chainsaw to trim the appropriate branches.
This week, I plan to spade under the garden, build the planting rows, water, and get it ready to seed. Once that work is done, I am going to let my wife and father in law do the fun part – sow the seeds and water it. I will keep you updated as the work progresses…and remember, all of this work (and all tools purchases) was done on just a $100 trip to Lowes.