Since we last blogged, more than a full month ago, we’ve made three trips to Austin, finished school, started summer Latin, planted a garden, enjoyed a week of VBS, attended a family baptism, logged over 115 hours in our library’s summer reading program, and been swimming countless times. We’ve also each probably sweated off the equivalent of half our weight in water because summer is officially here in Texas, and it’s HOT!
Over a month ago, Jay and I began the process of clearing out about 25 feet of very tall, VERY established Nandina bushes on the side of our house, in hopes of preparing a good spot for a little garden. While I have for most intents and purposes a very black thumb when it comes to gardening, I have had modest success with herbs in pots, and this year I had hopes of getting my herb seeds/plants directly into the ground, and maybe adding a few tomato plants to the plot as well.
Here is the side of the house that needed to be cleared before soil prep, let alone planting could take place – these shrubs stand about 6 1/2 feet tall and reach 4 feet wide:
You didn’t think I was going to take on these bushes all by myself, did you?? For this job, I brought in the big guy!! Here stands Jay, armed with chain-saw, and ready to do some damage!
Halfway done with the chopping part:
Done cutting the bushes down, now all he has to do is wrestle the stubborn roots from the soil
Here is Jay, working blisters onto his fingers, as he wages war on the extremely established root systems of these babies.
This is a close-up of what we (and yes, I use that term quite loosely) were dealing with. There was even more to these roots once we got underneath the soil, and tackled the support for what had been very large bushes.
It took him literally days….but at last the soil was cleared and ready for tilling. So, here is Jay working the tiller we borrowed from friends to turn over the rocky, but not-so-root-filled-anymore soil.
After the tilling was complete, we spent a small sum of money on some good quality dirt/compost from a local company, and borrowed aforementioned friends’ nice green truck to haul it home in. While I have no picture of all the excitement, here is the aftermath of a morning spent lugging dirt in , sadly getting truck STUCK in mucky mud, and then tearing up part of the lawn in the attempts to rescue the stuck truck that was covered in muck. The dark mud line at the bottom of the photo shows where the left rear tire was. Ugh, what a mess!
We got that all cleaned up, sent the truck home to our friends who just might have had a bit of a chuckle over Jay’s morning spent in the mucky-muck (yes, shoutout to Tenacious D), and told the children we could finally plant seeds in our garden! At last!! I think they’d lost any hope we’d ever finish this monumental task – in fact Nicolas went and stuck his pumpkin plant way on the other side of the yard in a bed that was nice and ready for plants…see how well it is growing??
Well, finally: here are the very cute children hard at work, finishing soil prep, including stirring in fertilizer. And putting some plants and many little seeds into the ground.
Here is our finished plot after I don’t know how many hours of hard labor and gallons of sweat.
Here is the pretty little raised bed that Jay built: at only 4′ x 8′, it doesn’t hold a ton of veggies, but we managed to fit the tomatoes and herbs as we’d hoped, plus there is a nice row of lettuce seeds underneath the soil at the very front of the bed.
Given how much more room we have to expand, we hope to be able to add a bit to our plot each year, Lord willing. Despite not having another raised bed, the children and I went ahead and planted seeds which some generous friends gifted us with: cucumber, the lettuce, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini, squash, and beans.
May you grow happily, little garden and produce much produce!!