Our 2021 garden: old kitchen garden, part one

A change in plans.

Today, I wanted to get started on the old kitchen garden, where we intend to plant the poppies.

This is how it looked at the start.

The hose is from the sump pump in the old basement.

It has not turned on in ages. It’s simply been too dry.

You can see a path has started to form, a couple of feet from the wall. This is mostly from the cats crossing the garden, though we sometimes walk through there, too. The plan was to add new soil against the wall, to plant the poppies, and put in a stepping stone sort of path where one naturally formed. We found some concrete blocks out near the barn that we decided to use for the paths.

But first, it needed to be cleared.

Our first summer here, we did a major clean up of this old garden, removing a fence, cleaning it out as best we could, laying down cardboard, then covering it with straw, grass clippings, kitchen waste, and any soil from various places that we could get it. You can read about the clean up we did here, here, here and here. Yeah. It took a while! (all links will open in new tabs)

My mother had flowers growing here, and quite a few of them made their way through the layers. So did the crab grass and a vine we’ve been fighting continually since moving here. So the first thing I had to do was rake away the mulch, down to what was left of the cardboard layer. You can see lots of roots that were uncovered!!

Most of the biggest ones were from that invasive vine. It used to cover the entire wall until my brother and his wife pulled it down while painting the house, the summer before we arrived. They were causing damage, so we don’t want them growing back.

Speaking of damage, that crack is in the foundation under the old kitchen, which was tacked on to the log cabin portion of the house at some point. There’s a crawl space under there.

My brother told me about fixing the broken attic window above the old kitchen. It never occurred to me that the glass would still be on the ground! We’d laid cardboard over it, and never new it!

Finding glass from a broken window, I can understand. But this?

Why a spoon?

At this point, I was breaking up the soil with the fork and pulling out lots of roots.

Lots of roots.

So many roots.

Which created a problem I did not expect.

I was pulling roots out from under the old kitchen foundation, and the concrete floor of the sun room. In the process, soil started falling out from underneath.

No wonder the windows in the sun room are cracking as it shifts!!!

This required a change in plans. There was no way I was going to turn this into a garden bed, where watering it might continue to undermine the concrete. I needed to get those roots out, then shore up the sides.

It’s a good thing we have a nice big rock pile over by the power pole. We also had piles of smaller rocks we’d gathered from the garden, though not very many.

Large rocks were placed against the wall, soil put back to fill gaps and support the rocks, smaller rocks are added on top, and the concrete blocks were placed to begin the path.

We brought those blocks over in the wagon, which is rated to 300 pounds. I don’t know how much they weight, but with three blocks, the wagon didn’t want to roll. My daughter pushed while I pulled. After that, I only put in two blocks at a time.

The wagon was used to bring rocks over, too.

After a while, it started to get hard to find smaller rocks. There is decades of detritus that has decomposed on them, with a very strong layer of crab grass rhizomes!

As we worked our way down, still clearing away roots, we got hung up by an old rose bush. It took a while, but I finally got it out!

That is one weird looking root clump!!

My daughter was just coming back from a break (we were very careful not to overdo it; the last thing we need is to injure ourselves!!) as I put it in the wheelbarrow with all the other roots. She was checking it out when she suddenly dropped it in alarm.

This thing had been exposed and wriggled at her!!

I don’t know what this grub is, but considering it was burrowing in the rose roots, I’d say it’s not a beneficial creature to have in the garden. :-/

This is where we stopped for a longer break. Sustenance was needed!

There are enough larger rocks to line the wall. My daughter used some to make a little wall around the power cables that run under the old kitchen. We also found a cable running along the wall to the corner, which is going to be carefully covered with rocks.

There are two more of those blocks in the wagon. They will be spaced out from one end to the other, and the gaps filled with soil and rocks.

As for the poppies, they will now be planted on the other side of the path!

Meanwhile, as I’ve been working on this post, the girls have gone back outside and are planting the Strawberry Spinach. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

One thought on “Our 2021 garden: old kitchen garden, part one

  1. Pingback: Our 2021 garden: old kitchen garden, part two | The Re-Farmer

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