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This weekend: building veggie beds

pushing wheelbarrow building veggie bedsIt's day 22, not that anyone's counting, and it's just been announced that there are at least 31 more days to go here in Alameda County.  While of course that means all sorts of truly important, life changing things for most of us, I want to share a small, specific effect of the extended shelter-in-place for our family and garden.

My post two weeks ago about digging holes wasn't just a theoretical suggestion. It's what we're doing every afternoon, along with moving rocks and gravel as we transform a patio into a space to grow food.  It's one of the few activities that the whole family can do, peacefully, that leaves us somewhat calmer before dinner.

What started as "someday" planning a few months ago suddenly turned much more important when our easy access to produce became limited.  And as a happy coincidence, this business of slowly chipping (literally) away at stones and earth is interesting enough to a 5-year-old that she doesn't interrupt and shout demands 2-3 times per minute as she does when un-entertained inside.  Granted, it's hard physical labor.  The mental rest we get is accompanied by physical exhaustion, but right now, that's a bonus.  And little by little, veggie beds are taking shape.

peeling back the landscape cloth

Step one was removing the flagstones, gravel and landscape cloth that made up the old patio. 

playing in the newly dug holes

 One of the features we're planning to build after veggie beds is a kid-size bike track with jumps that loops around the yard.  Here they're testing out the route.

laying out the veggie beds

 Once the patio was clear, we started laying it out with stakes and string.  

starting to dig the veggie beds

 And then digging could begin!

still digging veggie beds

 And continue . . .

almost dug veggie bed

Don't let all these images of the man digging fool you. I've been digging too!  (I'm just also the one who remembers to take pictures as we go along.)  The image above is of my absolute favorite tool so far in this project.  Called a digging bar or post-hole digger, it's just a big steel bar with a flat, shovel like end.  For moving the thick sticky clay in our yard, it's indispensible.  Also, cathartic, after another day of the parenting / work at home juggle to rhythmically pound the ground dislodging big chunks of soil.

Much has gone by the wayside so far during the shelter in place.  But because digging these beds is one of the few projects where we can make progress while also tending to a child, we're making surprisingly good time.  

Me digging veggie beds

Veggie beds almost dug

Veggies coming soon!


2 comments

  • Will you be growing capers?

    grant
  • Super fun, Anne, to watch your progress on this project. Your uplifting attitude, plus your darling daughter, are good for all of us.

    Thank you!

    Gretchen

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