Monday, April 11, 2011

Working the Herb Bed

Monday!  It's a gorgeous morning here after a warm dusty weekend followed by an overnight downpour.  My rain gauge says my area got .75 inches.  Fanstastic.  (The new rain barrel worked this time!) Ironically last night I hosed down everything in my backyard -- I was just so weary of the dust.  "They" said we had a 30% chance of rain, but when the sun went down it was all blue skies.  Frankly I don't take chances of rain below 40% seriously... thankfully I had checked the weather before I went to bed, and saw enough promise of rain that I rolled up my porch rug and moved my porch furniture closer in under the porch.

I'm happy to report that I accomplished everything on my weekend wish list other than I didn't totally get herbs into the front bed.  I did a lot of bed prep, but didn't get the plants in the ground.  I'm frustrated with myself about that -- I've had them a week now I think -- but I apparently have too many balls in the air.

Here is the bed I am working in -- it's in the front, adjacent to the front of my porch:

View from the driveway end of the bed

View from the front door end of the bed (porch to the right)
A few weeks ago I took 3 shrubs out of this bed.  I was going to take everything out, but decided that I like the screening they give to my porch.  I still need to work on getting the stumps out...  My plan is to plant the herbs behind the shrubs.  This bed faces southeast -- a fair amount of sun and the will provide shelter from the wind.  Perfect for my herbs I think!

The main issue with this area is that it has way too much dirt in it; I suspect that over the years, gardeners had just repeatedly added dirt.  The entire thing was mounded up so high with dirt that many of the border stones were buried.  Water run off is a problem with the slope, there isn't room to add any soil amendments, and visually it just isn't pleasing.  So I knew my first task was to get some of that dirt out...

These photos were taken after I had loosened dirt with my pick, and loaded up SIX WHEELBARROWS worth of dirt.  Six.  And really I think I could easily remove another 3-4 and be in really good shape.  It's insane! The good news is, the soil looks pretty good -- apparently what was added was good stuff.  And as with so many other areas of my yard, it contains lots of earthworms when you start digging around.  I was able to identify some low areas in the other front bed area so I dumped 3 of the wheelbarrow loads there.  The other three I put in the back -- two in the driveway center and one adjacent to the driveway.  Talk about a major redistribution of soil!

So, I still need to loosen and remove more dirt, and then loosen the new top layer and I should be ready to plop in my herbs and mulch the bed.  I hope that I can muster the energy to make that happen one afternoon/evening this week.  By 8 p.m. Sunday when I stopped working on this, the last project of the weekend, I was just beat.

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