One task that I had thought to "outsource" through the landscaper was constructing raised beds in my side yard (or as it's affectionately known, "The Point"). I've only had to make about 6 very careful applications of herbicide so far this year to keep the bindweed out. (I use a technique that involves "painting" it on the plant to minimize the amount used and the impact on anything else.) So, The Point is ready for its transformation!
Here we see the full lot at the beginning of its change from weed-infested lot into my food-raising area. In the foreground are some cinder blocks and large branch marking out the dimensions of a bed we'll put in for blueberries. I'd like to have 2-3 blueberry bushes, so it will have to be fairly deep and long. I won't use cinder blocks because they'd have to be stacked pretty high and would require re-bar reinforcement, so I have something else in mind.
Moving clockwise, a few more stacks of cinder blocks mark out the dimensions of the asparagus bed. Again, I likely won't use cinder blocks since this will be a pretty deep bed, too.
At the far back is the single bed I constructed this year. Heaps of edging blocks are laying around, awaiting my artful arrangement of them into outlines of future beds. We'll build the blueberry bed, one for asparagus, and one more for annual veggie rotations this year. The rest will have to wait for future years, but I want to have a plan for where to put them.
Here's a close up of the one raised bed I do have in place now. I had waited and waited to discuss raised bed design with the landscaper, and when I finally got the ideas and estimates I was pretty floored by the price. So, one nice Sunday a couple weeks ago I started working in the garden sort of early and decided to just put together a bed with materials I had on hand: cinder blocks, concrete edgers, and compost. I had thought to plant something climbing at the one end (which explains the goofy trellis thing), but it's so late in the season I couldn't find any seedlings (like cukes or beans) and I wouldn't get much if I planted seeds. I did find a very limited variety of pepper and eggplant seedlings, as well as a tomato plant for Mark. (I don't like raw tomatoes, so I only grow them for Mark.)
An interesting note about raised beds: when I decided that I had to do the beds without the landscaper's help, I Googled "raised beds" to see what sort of products and info I could find. One of the results was from a site called WikiHow. It has step by step instructions on how to build a raised bed, and photos for examples. I thought the photos looked familiar at first glance, and then I realized they were photos of raised beds that we constructed a year or two after moving to this house. Mark would have taken the photos, and I must have posted them somewhere. They're not on Flickr so I can't recall where they were uploaded.
I was out with the camera today, so there are more photos to see on my Flickr account in the 2007 Garden set. I took a few photos of the dogs, too. I can't resist posting just one.
Sadie loves to do this crazy spinning round and round thing in the grass and on the rug. She looks so goofy doing it, but clearly loves the sensation!