ARGH I got logged out while writing this post, and there was so much, and now I have to type it all again :(
In my area, spring only lasts about 2 weeks. It goes from too cold to be outside to over 80F in about that time, so as soon as you can be outside, it's time to have the plants in the ground, which leaves no time to build beds.
When last I posted about making the veggie garden a bit neater, I had just put edgers around the beds, to try to hold back the weeds and slow erosion.
But I realized I needed to get the lawn/weeds out of the paths in the garden, since I can't lift the lawn mower over the chicken wire that keeps out rabbits, and I didn't want to use the string trimmer so close to my stuff. So, I had a fall project!
I went down to the tool rental place and picked up a manual sod cutter. This is the kind you kick, not the gas guzzler kind. I had it for the weekend for less than $20. The guy at the counter chuckled a bit, telling me it's hard work. I said I could use the exercise.
I pulled up the chicken wire, moved the edgers, dug up the sweet potatoes, mowed the grass low, and got to work.
I couldn't carry rolls of sod by themselves. They're too heavy and fall apart-y. Happy I had picked up a large tubtrug, I shoved the roll of sod sideways into the top of it (with it on its side), and used the handles to get the sod to the compost heap. Back and forth, lots of stopping to pant and chug water. I got paths around the tomato bed and cleared space to add another bed. Newspaper hadn't been enough to stop the old sod coming up on the other beds.
Around sunset, I went to Home Depot to get wood to edge the beds and for building a new one. I got rebar and conduit for eventual trellises. They were sold out of 1/2" 90° corners for conduit though. When I got home, I cut the wood and tried to eat enough food to make up for the day's work.
My grandmother's (now-late) sister went into the hospital the Sunday prior (get your flu shot! Pneumonia is bad shit!), so I decided I needed to go see her after Meeting for Worship. I got up extra early Sunday to get some more sod cutting done. After the hospital visit, I assembled the beds. I put on just two short sides and one long, leaving one long edge open so I could cajole the wood into place around the misshapen beds before screwing the last side in.
Then there was some more work with the sod cutter to make sure the paths were wide enough, including the brick edging.
When I returned the sod cutter the next morning, the guy at the counter goes "see, it was hard work, eh?" and I agreed that it was, and showed him what I'd done. He seemed pretty surprised and commented on the "tree" in one bed. He meant my tomato plants.
This Sunday I put down landscape fabric in the paths to keep them weed-free and started arranging bricks, but it hurt. Somehow in the weekend's activities (went to an SCA event Saturday), I got gamekeeper's thumb. Oops. Home Depot was sold out on garden staples, so I had to lay edgers down to keep the wind from moving the landscape fabric. Mulch would hold it fine, I just didn't have any yet, and couldn't pour it in until the bricks are in place anyway, which means moving them out of where they're holding... I needed garden staples.
There weren't many bricks yet. I can only push a cart of about 30, and that makes slow going.
I came up with a brilliant plan. I ordered 175 bricks from Home Depot for in-store pickup (they don't deliver bricks). They had me pull my car right up in the garden center, and loaded my trunk from a pallet on a fork lift. Thankfully, my thumb was feeling better at this point.
I laid bricks around about half the bed, then determined I both needed more edgers and needed to be able to use the ones that were holding the fabric down. I also found I hadn't removed sod far enough out from the beds for the paths on all sides. It takes 34" to fit 24" of path, 2" of edger, and 8" of paver. I used the shovel to do a little more sod removal as I laid bricks, measuring each one's placement.
Then I visited a garden center that's only 5 minutes from my house, that I saw on a listing of places to go for native plants. I'd never been there. I didn't know if I'd find anything useful, but they had two packages of garden staples left!
I went over to Home Depot to get the remaining edger bricks and see what it'd take to cut them for where the corners needed only 4" and not their full 12" length.
Here's what happened:
Me goes to Tools department What do I use to cut this? Hoping one of the saws I've already got'll work
Guy 1 what do you have?
Me Sawzall, track saw, mitre saw, hack saw...
Guy 1 to Guy 2 mitre?
Guy 2 7.25 or 10 inch blade?
Me 10 I think
Guy 1 know what? Check in the Tool Rental department. They know this kind of stuff
Me goes there
Me how do I cut one of these?
Me masonry blade?
Me Thanks. Was hoping I wouldn't need to use the hack saw
Her Nah, that'd just make a mess
Me goes back to Tools She said Sawzall
Guy 2 Sawzall?
Me reciprocating saw...
Guy 2 I know what it is
Guy 1 the blade'll just jump around
Me she said to use a masonry blade
Guy 2 but they're only for metal or wood
Guy 1 yeah, there is no masonry blade for Sawzall, see? leads us to the blade display
Me points there's one
Guy 1 well, I'll be damned. I still think it'll jump around.
Me I'm not going to hold it still with my hand! I have C-clamps!
The next thing to do is going to be putting the chicken wire back in place and ordering 4 cubic yards of mulch. Between these paths and my soon-to-exist orchard, I need 2 cubic yards, and I'll need another 2 cubic yards for the front garden and on top of the veggie beds come spring, so I might as well take advantage of the $18/cu-yd sale the local place is having and only pay one shipping fee, then keep the extra wrapped in a tarp on the driveway.