With all the other work that needs to be done at the Old Man, taking the time to do some gardening feels like an indulgence. Yesterday I borrowed a sod cutter and a rototiller from J. and R. (The folks who took the swingset). J. even graciously seeded some tomatoes and peppers for us--now that's what I call a friend.
Thanks to a forecast of afternoon rain, M. and I hit the backyard at about 7:45 this morning, fully expecting to spend all day today and all of Memorial day working on the garden.
Our first task was to remove the sod in the part of the yard where we want to put the garden. Since our entire backyard is shaded by a huge 80-foot tall maple tree, we needed to put the garden near the alley about 5 feet in front of the fence so that we could make sure that it gets adequate sunlight. The sod cutter I borrowed from J. is a decidedly low-tech device and I expected it to take a few hours to clear our 5' x 12' vegetable garden.
Imagine my surprise when I finished in 15 minutes.
Granted, this thing isn't cheap, but that's not really an issue if you can borrow someone else's! We rolled up the sod and made a trip to the local Garden Center where we picked up herbs for M.'s herb garden, then it was on to Home Depot for 600 pounds of topsoil, 80 pounds of composted manure, and 4.5 cubic feet of peat moss. I first rototilled the garden down to a depth of about 6 inches, then I top-dressed it with the manure, 1/2 the topsoil, and 1/2 the peat moss, and tilled that under until the soil was soft and squooshy.
We took the rolled up sod and resodded the dirt spots where the swingset was and where the electrician dug up the yard to run the new electrical line to the garage. We came up about 2 square feet short, but if this sod takes, the yard should look a heckuvalot better than it used to.
M. planted the tomatoes, peppers, chives, shallots, and even a few leeks while I rototilled the garden that runs along the South border of our yard. After giving it the topsoil and peat treatment, I seeded all 65 feet of the garden with a wildflower seed mix. I really hope the seed takes as I just don't have the time (or the energy) to plant the darned thing.
Thanks to the sod cutter and the rototiller, we finished by 2:00 and were in bed for a long nap by 3:00.
Naps are so choice. If you have the time, I highly recommend taking one.