Building the Raised Bed - Part One

Monday, October 01, 2007
This weekend we broke ground on our new vegetable garden and moved all the plants from our plot in the District of Columbia to our new home in Maryland. It's Monday night now and I still have the residual aches and pains to remind me of all we did to accomplish this endeavor. Ouch.

There's no question about it: the first step -- cutting up sod -- has got to be the worst part of building a garden from scratch. I would tap at the ground and the ground would just about throw the shovel back at me. Even with the rain we had on Friday, the soil was tough and dry. Michael used his muscle power (and the better of the two shovels we had) to chisel the turf from its stubborn grip. Then I came along and ripped away the loosened-but-still-heavy clumps, one dusty piece at a time.

Initially we cut an eight by three and a half foot section, but then expanded it to ten feet. The width is just right to allow me to reach comfortably to the middle of the bed from either side.

When I stood back to admire at what we accomplished, I laughed. It looked like we dug a grave in our backyard!

Michael posed for this photo to demonstrate the sheer exhaustion we felt afterwards. I was laughing so hard when I took this picture. I can only image what the neighbors must be saying about us already.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're building a raised bed, you don't need to dig up the sod. You can compost it. First cover the area with newspaper, then cover the newspaper with layers organic matter, I've heard it called "lasagna gardening".

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sheet Composting" is another name for it. I like "Lasagna Garden" better :)

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:39 PM  
Blogger Gardenista said...

Hah! Before I even read the bottom of the post, I thought your freshly dug earth there looked a bit suspicious. If I were your neighbour though, I'd be happy to have a gardener next to me.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Muum said...

The photo w/ your husband's feet made me laugh. Hey, maybe your neighbors need some entertainment in their lives? Oh course they do.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They'll be absolutely fine once you start dropping fresh organic veg over the fence, you can be sure of that! Good luck establishing it all.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Carol Michel said...

A lot of people when they move in to a new house work on the inside first. It's nice to see that you have your priorities straight!

Regardig the lasagna gardening method, that works if you can do it now and then wait until spring to plant. You have to give the grass time to die and for the organic matter to break down some. To plant in the fall, I think you had no choice but to dig out the sod, which is not easy as you found out!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

6:30 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Digging out the sod is some tough stuff. I can commiserate--do you have that nasty blister in the middle of your good hand from slamming the shovel into the ground? Mine is just beginning to heal. Congratulations on getting that bed sod-free. I can't wait to see it with plants in it.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a pretty funny picture! I'm with Carol...glad you have your priorities in order!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Thanks for the tip about the lasagna gardening method. We will definitely consider trying that. We want to add two or three more beds in the future.

My husband got the exact blister of which you speak! I got a twisted knee, a sore back, and a bunch of ratty looking fingernails. Ug. It'll be worth it though.

Thanks, all, for visiting!

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post has a somewhat Halloween theme about it.
What with the grave like beginnings of a raised bed, the feet sticking out of the soil and all this talk about "our plot". hummm. I think you should stick a wooden cross in the soil and call it a day:)

12:38 AM  
Blogger Ewa said...

This is hillarious picture - I saw it before, but I didnt take my chance to comment :) So I do now :)
Greetings from Poland.

2:12 AM  

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