I was going to have to head into town this afternoon, so I made sure to get out and continue working on the garden beds as early as I could.
I didn’t think to take a picture until after I’d hauled loads of soil onto one of the beds. Before I started on the soil, I made sure to soak down all the straw again.
Note the pile of soil in the background for later. 😉
After leveling the soil and wetting it down, I decided to go through the piles of wood from when we had the power lines and roof cleared and lay the thinner pieces I could find around the bed. We weren’t going to do that originally, but we paid for that soil; I didn’t want to end up walking on it, and it was starting to run down the sides with the watering.
Filling this bed took at least a dozen wheelbarrow loads of soil, and it took me all morning. Which is when I threw in the towel. There was no way we could keep this up. We would just have to bite the bullet, go through the budget, and see what we could afford for a new wheelbarrow. I checked online and a local hardware store had two options in our budget in stock. So one of my daughters and I headed into town and made our first stop at the hardware store.
When I came in, I went straight to a clerk. When I told them I’d looked online and found something it said they had in stock, the clerks just started shaking their heads, saying that didn’t mean they actually did! LOL I had the link on my phone and read off about the one I hoped to get. Again, I just got head shaking! They had no wheelbarrows at all. Then they suggested I go to the place were I got my baby chainsaw. The two businesses are linked. The hardware store’s building is just too small to have much inventory, so for a lot of the bigger things, it’s all at this other place.
So we went there, and they had only 3 wheelbarrows in stock, in 2 sizes! I got the bigger one, at 5 cubic feet. It was smaller than the one I hoped to get, but it was still bigger than what we had, and 2/3rds the price of what I had in mind, so I wasn’t going to complain!
Here’s our new toy, next to the little wheelbarrow we’ve been using the most.
When we moved here, we found two wheelbarrows kicking around. This is the problem with the little red one we’ve been using the most.
It looks like someone jerry rigged a wheel that’s the wrong size. The axle is bent. It continually loosens, but if it’s tightened too much, it doesn’t turn as well because of the bent axle. Basically, it makes hauling the soil much, much more strenuous than it should be!
It’s been used so much, the bottoms of the legs are worn away!
It’s still sound, overall, so I’m thinking we could probably replace the wheel assembly and get more use out of it.
The other, larger wheelbarrow is not worth fixing.
The barrow has holes in the bottom, and the end is bent up. The metal is very thin, too. Though larger, it can’t handle as much soil as the little one.
You can see one of the holes in this picture, too! 😀 I haven’t been able to tighten this wheel, as it’s too rusted. I have a spray I can use to loosen it up, but it’s really not worthy the time and effort. Structurally, the frame on this one is a lot weaker, too. It’s fine if we want to use it to haul straw or something, but using it to haul soil was really pushing it’s capabilities!
In starting the next bed, I put logs around the sides before I started hauling soil. It made it more awkward to dump the soil, but it worked out better. Here is how it looked when done, but before being wet down.
I was having a hard time finding shorter logs for the ends, and ended up using the comically large piece of maple. 😀
Finishing this bed went SO much faster than the one next to it! What a difference it made to have a wheelbarrow with a good wheel on it! 😀 Though I didn’t fill it completely with each load, it still took fewer trips to fill the bed.
That done, we put logs around the last two beds that needed soil. By then, we were rifling through 3 different piles of logs, trying to find suitable pieces. Most were cut to about the same length, but we were running out of the thinner ones. Finding short ones for the ends took a bit of creativity. We do actually have a whole stack of shorter ones, but they are all way too big around.
Once we managed to find enough logs to frame the beds, we started adding the soil.
And they’re done!!! Six beds, ready for planting!
We’ll probably add logs around the first two, at some point.
Notice the pile of soil in the background?
We haven’t used half the pile yet, but we’re pretty close! I’m rather please with how much is left!
Now that these beds are done, there are no others that need to have such a deep layer of soil added over such a wide area. I did measure the beds, and they are roughly 3 – 3 1/2 ft wide by about 15 ft long. (About 1m x 4.5m) Plus the width of the logs, which is variable. When we build our high raised beds, Hugelkultur style, those logs will be on the bottom of the beds. 🙂 With the dimensions we have now, the permanent beds will be pretty much exactly where the current beds are.
The weather forecasts have been changing pretty much every day, with the predicted warm days being pushed further and further back. We should still be able to plant something in these beds right away, though.
Our onion starts are still in the process of hardening off.
I found a way to keep them away from the cats. We still have the broken frame of my daughter’s market tent (if we could replace the piece that broke, I would be very happy, as it was a very excellent tent), so I used that to hold the puck board cut to cover the old basement window over the winter. The outside cats have shown no interest in the set up.
Those are the last of the onions we grew from seed; I’m hoping we’ll still have some salvageable red bunching onions. While in town today, I noticed onion sets and checked them out, and was very happy to find sets for shallots! It’s only a dozen per pack (I got 2 packs), but that’s okay.
Along with the transplants, we now have sets for the shallots and yellow onions, with sets for red onions to arrive in the mail this week. Once they’re in, the transplants should be hardened off enough, and we can plant all our onions.
Now that these beds are done, the only area we need to work on for things that need to be planted right away is the old kitchen garden. We’ll be using the soil from the other pile. While the one in the old garden area is closer, it would require going over the roughest part of the crappy plow job, and through the maple grove. The distance to the other pile is all nice and flat, with only a gate to go through. I’ll take a longer, smooth trip over a shorter, bumpy one, any day!
But that is a job for tomorrow!