Monday, January 19, 2015

feeling optimistic...

A few days ago I took a few pictures of the potager in winter.  There wasn't a lot of snow and the bones of the potager were peeking through.  Last year this garden was a failed space but some end of the season work, barely finished before that early first snow means that once the ground dries out in the spring it will be ready to go.
some of the perimeter boxes

center box, four long boxes greenhouse in the background

This will get plastic on it and be the hoophouse

This was my first vegetable garden.  It started out as four rectangular raised planting boxes set in a square.  The fence was added a bit later and then the taller center box was built.  Several years ago I added six smaller boxes around the perimeter wherever I could squeeze them in.  In 2012 the four original beds were starting to show some rotting of the wood and I set out on a plan to replace one each year.  My thought process was that the soil in the boxes has a high percentage of compost and as the compost deteriorates the level of soil in the boxes is reduced and instead of topping off the beds with additional compost I would transfer the soil from one of the boxes to the other three boxes.  Where the empty box stood I would plant my two vertical potato towers.  While the potatoes were growing I would have the whole summer to build the replacement box, remove the old empty one and replace it with the new one.  When I harvested the potatoes the soil from the towers would be the beginning soil for the new bed.  I could then transfer soil from one of the other beds and start the whole process all over again. 

It worked in 2012.  The first bed was emptied, potatoes planted, new bed built and the dirt from the potato towers was the beginnings of the new bed.  In 2013 bed number two was built and in 2014 bed three was emptied and the potatoes planted and then nothing.  In the very wet spring that we had everything became a scramble to get done and the poor potager received no attention.  The weeds grew up in the beds and around them.  The potatoes, once planted never got their soil additions.

And then this happened.

Mom and Dad's neighbor next door had a building project starting and was asking Dad where he could get rid of the dirt removed for his project's new foundation.  It was my idea to take the dirt, thinking that it could be used to fill my sister's planned but not yet built garden boxes.  The garden boxes that will be placed at the edge of her planned but not yet built, stage two of her patio project.  She cannot build her boxes until the patio is in so the trailer full of dirt came to the farm.  It was determined that the dirt could not sit on the trailer all winter so it was decided to use it around the farm.  Some of it went around the house to correct the grade in the front of the house.  The remainder was used to top off the existing beds of the potager and the new beds where the hoop house will be and the two new replacement beds built by Dad to finish up the four year plan in year three.    

Here is Mom loading the last of the dirt.  She and I moved all of the dirt, she shoveled it into the white tubs and I would load the tubs into a wheelbarrow and haul them away, three at a time.  After emptying the tubs I would return to the trailer and swap my empties for the ones that she had filled while I was gone.  It was a huge project but when it was done the yard around the house was graded and ready for bark and 13 planter boxes were filled to the brim.
Thanks Mom, thanks Dad. 


  1. Gotta love mom and dad! :) Wow, I can't believe how much snow you have. I am suddenly feeling optimistic now, too!

    1. Yep, my folks are great. They have been such great help to me. And we have a lot of fun working together on stuff, whether it is my stuff or their stuff. It is in the 40s today so we are losing some snow but more is forecast. It has been a weird winter, we have had all of our snow melt a couple of times already only to have it replaced by more.