In this day and age people don’t take crap from anyone. Usually I don’t either, unless it’s free. In my last post I lamented how bad my soil was and how dirt aint cheap. Riddled with endless solutions to this problem I decided to go with “I’ll do a little work if it’s free and/or cost-effective”. After a few minutes of creative problem-solving I found free horse manure compost literally 2 blocks from work! This was so exciting because A: I was at work and getting ready to go home, B: I wasn’t going to spend a lot on gas and nearly an hour of time driving to the dump to pay $70 for half of what I ultimately need, and C: It only took me an hour to load 2 cubic yards so in the end I came out on top.
I wanted to build up the height of my shade bed so I got some nylon strapping and stapled these pieces of firewood together.
Then I added some wood to sweep around the side and mixed in a little compost.
After that I staked in some steps to work my way back to ground level.
Then added some rocks and assessed what I wanted to add to this plant wise. I knew I wanted something that would spread and so I bought something that looked good and later realized that it was called Creeping Jenny. I have been naming each bed so it’s only fair that this bed be called The Creeping Jenny.
As I finished planting some Begonias in the Creeping Jenny these arrived. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get them in. The Japanese Snowbell smelled so good as I ripped open the package. Everybody looked healthy and I gave them some water and reconsidered where I want to plant them a little more based on the power lines that cut through the property.
The Royal Empress AKA “Crazy Heart” needed to be planted first. Before planting I needed to soak it in water for 2-4 hours. While it soaked I broke ground for it’s final location and churned some compost into the soil.
As I placed it in the ground I felt satisfied and hoped that I picked the right place. I changed my mind from my original plan so that I could maximise the shade it would give and also so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the power lines. After it was in the ground I sprinkled some wild flower mix around it and put a thick layer of mulch down.
Then I planted the snowbell and a whole mess of flowers around it. I plan on making both beds around snowbell and crazy heart bigger but I had a lot to do and was quickly going through the horse manure. Anyway, it is better to stagger the planting of the bulbs for a longer season of blooming.
At the end of the day I only had 2 wheel barrows left of manure so I decided to turn what was going to be my garden into a composting flat. I had several bags of leaves from my bonsai garden clean up and just enough manure to cover them up. I thought that I would want a vegetable garden this year but the truth it I think I’ll have my hands full with all the berries, grapes, peas, and tomatoes. Plus, the soil is especially bad in this area and dips down from the rest of the yard. I think giving this part of the landscape a chance to get healthy and with all the other things going on I’ll be happy I didn’t push it this year. Not to mention, it feels good to put my yard scraps to work. Hopefully in a year I will have a better sense of how much time I can dedicate to more veggies and a bigger budget.
And here’s a look at the front. Things are going pretty well. I am considering what I might plant now that some of the tulips have died down in the front. Who Knows? There’s still a lot of time to decide.
P.S. a little trick I am trying out for my grapes and berries is adding coffee grinds to the soil to make sure it is acidic. I just bought the cheapest stuff and mixed a little into the soil. It will be a while before I let the grapes fruit and probably a while for the berries to so check back with me in about 3 years.