Friday, July 17, 2009

Eat Your Front Lawn! #4

Now I had four empty garden boxes which were 8 inches deep and 8 feet long. I put another layer of newspaper in the bottom to ensure grass or weeds would not come up and surprise me. I soaked it good. Since I had never had trouble with moles I did not line the bottom with mesh or chicken wire.

I called all the local garden stores and dirt distributors to compare prices. I found that it would be least expensive to purchase a yard of garden and compost mix. At that time I did not have access to a pickup truck, so I had the dirt delivered. I put down a blue tarp where I wanted the soil dumped. The dump spot was about 15 feet from the first garden box.

I filled the wheel barrel many times and loaded up the boxes. What I found out was that if I had had a pickup truck the work would have been easier on my back. Having the soil delivered meant I had to bend over and shovel the soil into the wheelbarrow (is it wheel barrel or wheelbarrow?). The next time I bought soil I used a pick up truck and shoveling from the back of the truck was much easier on my back and saved the $20 delivery cost.

The first year I used a combo mix of garden soil and mushroom compost. There is a mushroom farm in our area which produces great compost. I decided the mix had too much wood material in it and the next year I bought from a different source. My recommendation is to go and look and feel the soil before committing to it. You can ask them if they have had it tested.

I am a great believer in the virtues of rock dust. Here is a great link to read about rock dust I added a few soup cans full of rock dust to each box and mixed it in.

Each year since I built the boxes I have added either my own compost or added mushroom compost. This year I also added in some 5-10-5 and rock dust and have the greatest results yet. Over the winter the soil settles down and each spring I fluff up the soil and add new goodies to help it along.

It has been five years since I built the first boxes in my edible front yard. The wood is still good without noticeable rot, the corners are still attached and the plants keep on thriving.

This year I did have moles for the first time. I am testing out the solar mole devices that omit a high pitched sound that supposedly the little varmints don’t like. I have not seen any new mounds or holes but the jury is still out. I did have an overnight guest who stayed on the couch in the living room which faces the front yard. She told me I must have a smoke detector needing a new battery because it was going off all night. I checked all the detectors and did not hear any beeping noise inside the house. Then it occurred to me she was sleeping with the window open and could hear the mole deterrent! Needless to say, she only stayed one night! So if you have friends or family staying out staying their welcome or adult children you want to move on, install a solar mole alarm and they will leave the next morning.

Bear with me only a few more installments to go!

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