Mercifully, the snow has mostly melted in my garden, revealing some pretty extensive damage. While I think most plants will be salvageable, pretty much everything sustained some level of damage. I haven’t gone out with my saw and pruners yet to trim everything into shape, but will do that soon.
In the meantime, I’ve been brainstorming a few different projects that I’m excited to get working on over the next few weeks.
The most pressing job is to mend my fence, since it’s what keeps the chickens in the yard. I built this fence when we first moved into our house four years ago. I used untreated pine posts, and they are now rotten to the point that one section of fence fell down in high wind recently, and other sections are not far behind.
I found some brackets at the home center that mount on top of the concrete retaining wall, and I found them for even cheaper online and have ordered a bunch. I’ll replace the posts with pressure treated 2X4s that fit into the brackets, and I can recycle the 1X4s that make up the bulk of the fence. There are a couple of reasons I like this design. It will surely last longer since the wood won’t be sitting in the ground. Also, I’m moving the fence outward and up on top of the retaining wall, so I’ll pick up a little more space in the garden. And finally, it will eliminate the gap that currently exists between the ground and the lowest part of the fence, which the crafty chickens keep finding their way through. I’ve currently got a bunch of netting there blocking their exit, but it’s ugly and not totally chicken/predator proof.
I’ve decided that I’ll also extend the fence so that it runs the entire length of the retaining wall. Originally I had a gate between the house and where the tall portion of the fence currently ends to keep my small children from wandering too far. I never did like out abruptly the fence ends, and eventually I built a low section purely for aesthetics, but I’m not crazy about it either. So I’m biting the bullet and finally fixing it for good.
Once the fence is done, I want to build some raised beds for growing vegetables. I currently use a lot of driftwood that I scavenged from the beach, but after a few years a lot of it is pretty rotten. I really like the look and design I came up with using the driftwood, but it’s time to try something else. I’ll use some cheap, rough-cut cedar posts that they sell at the home center. The beds will be two meters long and about a meter wide, so I’ll build three or four depending on how much space I have. I haven’t actually done any measuring yet to see how many will fit, but it’ll look something like this:
There are a few benefits to using raised beds. I have white clover planted in my footpaths, and it always seems to find its way between the spaces in the driftwood and into the vegetables beds, which is not desirable since it’s a pain to weed. The cedar posts should keep the white clover out of the beds. Also, I’m going to need to put nets around the beds to keep the chickens from eating everything, and the raised beds will be simpler to net off while still allowing easy access for humans than my current setup.
Finally, I want to retool my lawn/bbq space/fire pit. The lawn has taken a beating this winter and I’ve been stewing on the idea of replacing it with durable ground covers or other crops that will be more beneficial than just grass. I’ve got a pretty low opinion of grass since it adds nothing to the forest garden ecosystem, but it does feel nice underfoot during the summer. But as I said, it’s kind of a mess, and my fire pit is a bit of disaster as well, so something needs to be done.
First, I’m going move the fire pit over so it’s more in the center of the current lawn. I would love to put a patio around it using large stone slabs, but that could get pricey, and I’m trying to do this on the cheap. I also considered pouring a concrete slab myself, but I don’t want anything that permanent. The cheapest option is gravel, which I’m not wild about, but it could work.
I should have some extra soil after building the raised beds, so I’m also thinking about make a few beds around the perimeter of the fire pit sitting area and planting wildflowers. I like the idea of sitting around the fire surrounded by fragrant flowers on a nice summer night, and those will also attract beneficial insects into the garden. It should end up looking something like this:
I’ll detail these projects more as they go along. I might get started on the fence next weekend, or maybe a little sooner if time permits.
By the way, I’ve been recording some music lately. If you’re interested, you can listen to it HERE.
Thanks for reading!