Old kitchen garden, retaining wall progress

After finishing up at the old wood pile, there was time enough in the day to start on the retaining wall at the end of the old kitchen garden.

Here is the start of it.

We have not been able to get those metal fence posts out, so I was thinking of putting this first corner block over the post. I wanted to put it in one of the slots around the edge of the chimney block, but the post was too big to fit. I considered putting it through the middle, but after thinking about where that would put the block, as well as any future plantings, I decided to just line the block up with the post itself.

That rock in the bottom left corner was something I dug up at the base of the post. I felt other rocks under there as I loosened the soil with my fork, and I suspect the rocks have something to do with why we can’t get them out of the ground. When I was working around the middle post, I hit rocks there, too.

Moving the mulch as I worked across the end of the garden revealed a couple of things that needed extra effort to get rid of.

Like this rose bush root.

This is one of those things that just planted themselves and my mother left them.

It was really hard to cut! I used a hand saw, as I didn’t feel like running an extension cord around the house for just a couple of things. There is a plug in that’s closer, in the sun room, but the kittens were locked away for the night already, so I wasn’t going to do anything like that.

Working my way down, I first used the fork to move the mulch aside, then loosen the soil under it.

I found some really amazing, soft soil, riddled with earth worm holes. That mulch was definitely doing its job!!!

Once I loosened the soil with the fork, I used a metal fan rake to level the area, moving any mulch left behind, fill in any holes from pulling root systems out, then dragging the back of the rack over the area to further level it. It was rare for me to place a block, then have to move it out again to level the ground under it more.

This is where I stopped for the day.

Some of that mulch will go into the middles of the blocks, then topped with some peat moss. The rest will be pushed up against the blocks to start building the soil up at this end and help level the slope of the entire garden area.

I expect to add one, maybe two, blocks up the side of garden at this corner. The slope is gradual enough that I don’t see the need to do more than that.

Once all 16 blocks we’d laid out were tightly placed against each other, I found I had room for one more block. The ground slopes a bit more right at this “corner”, so I will have to take that into account when I grab a block to place here. I will also be transplanting the chives into that block, so it will wait for another day. I don’t know that these have ever been divided since my mother planted them here. This is the right time of year to do it, too. 🙂

Hmmm. Maybe I won’t transplant them in the last block. I was thinking of dividing some of my mother’s perennials, and maybe putting matching flowers at the corners.

I’ll have to think about that. I don’t know when I’ll be able to work on this area next, so there’s no rush.

Most of the root systems I pulled out along the way were smaller, but I did have these two that gave me trouble. One is the rose root stock I mentioned earlier. The other is the root stock of one of those horrible invasive vines. As hard as the rose root stock was to cut through, the vine’s roots were more difficult to cut free and take out!

And only two rocks that needed to be taken out. Not bad at all.

If all goes to plan, this space will be a kitchen garden, for those vegetables and herbs we expect to use the most often. At least as much as we can while working around the ornamental apple trees, double lilac bush, roses and honeysuckle my mom planted in there. Not sure what to do about the asparagus, which is well past its production age, rhubarb and perennials. The blocks themselves will be ideal for planting things that have a tendency to spread and take over, like mint, as well as some of the flowers I want to put in there.

That’s something the girls and I will figure out as we go along. 🙂 I expect to finish up the retaining wall and have the area prepped enough to actually use it next year, and we can make our decisions over the winter.

The Re-Farmer

4 thoughts on “Old kitchen garden, retaining wall progress

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