Thursday, September 12, 2019

Garden Report: New Garden Bed with Path Construction Before the Rains Start

Here on Vancouver Island, we are waiting for the rains to start after our dry season. By waiting I don't mean we are lying around waiting. I have a whole list of garden jobs timed for just before the rains start.

On the list is a path through a garden bed to a tap and hose. Last year Ron installed the hose reel on a stand which is now so easy to use. The soil he dug up then went crazy producing a deep-rooted plant and quack grass. I am always on the lookout for grass because it is banned from the garden beds in the backyard. Shovel by shovel I have spent several weeks sifting out all the roots and grass from this area. Also, as is usual, I removed all rocks in the soil. It was slow going and I hope I don't see either of those two plants here again.
Next, I dug a trench and placed in it a layer of the rocks I had removed from the soil. I get a checkmark here for following the permaculture principle of using what you have.

I reused paper grocery bags to make a pattern of the paver size I was planning on using. I needed to know how many pavers to bring up to the bed.
At this stage I consulted the resident civil engineer for advice on materials and fluid mechanics. Phew, I got the go-ahead. I was on the right track.

The next path layer called for smaller gravel. We have a little gravel pile leftover from making the main garden paths. Another checkmark earned.

I started putting as much gravel in the wheelbarrow as I could manage to lift up the stone steps to the path level. This was hard work. I was getting tired but I was determined to finish the project before the rains were forecast to start at 2:30 pm.

I requested more muscle power with the heaviest tasks.

Five pavers were needed.

We selected five of the best pavers leftover from reworking paths and the new guest patio. 

 Another permaculture checkmark earned.

The gravel had to be leveled to ensure the pavers were stable and didn't move when walked on and well supported so they didn't break. The notches in the pavers will not be noticed once plants have grown over and softened the edges.

While the stronger of us worked with paver placement...

I dug out bucketsful of soil and took them up the steps to another bed to use later. I had been advised the soil level needed to be lower than the path so the water would drain off and away.

Arrgh, the rain started two hours earlier than forecast. I planted the north side and got thoroughly soaked. Against the rock, I planted a new perennial garlic bed. The large flower heads will look elegant when walking up and down the steps. In front of the garlic are broccoli plants I started from seed about a month ago. Next to the broccoli, following the path, I planted another 'best buddy', beet/beetroot seeds, quite densely because the thinnings, leaves roots and all, are delicious. These winter vegetables apart from being our food will protect the soil over the wet winter. Once the crops have been harvested I will plant more perennials in their place come spring.
Wet through I gave up before I planted the other side of the path because there is still a lot of extra soil to move before I can plant it out. I'll get that done once there is a break in the rain.
 I don't like the way the large rocks look like they are sitting precariously on top of the soil. I will put tall plants in front of them to hide the bottoms of the rocks. 
I look forward to planning over the winter months which plants will go where in this bed and in the others. 

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