For the past few years, the garden has rested. Due to other construction projects on the farm, the garden was not maintained. The beds lined with gopher wire and river rocks were invaded by gophers because after a few years, the wire rusts. At this point, we decided to redo the garden and let it go to seed with wild flowers and native weeds. Last year, most of the river rocks were removed and used in the perennial garden. Also, in winter, Iris bulbs were removed from the beds and transplanted in locations that were not going to be dug up.
We knew we wanted raised planter beds lined with heavy duty hardware wire. An idea came that we should use black locust trees on the property. We had already used locust stumps to line the perennial garden beds and build the garden fence. Black locusts had fallen during the winter storms, so we saved every part of the trees (trunks, chips, limbs and branches).
The branches and limbs were moved into the garden for building the beds:
In January 2017, the garden with weeds and rusted gopher wire:
Starting in March, after the heavy rains stopped, I began to pull weeds, remove wire, and level the area. With only one person working on weekends, the process was extremely slow. I decided to seek help and hired a local, young farm hand named Will Burke who is permaculture certified. He has great ideas and will be helping on the farm.
After his help on Saturday, April 22, 2017, about 1/3 of the garden is cleared.
On Saturday, April 29, Will and I continued to remove weeds, old metal pipes, and river rocks to clear the area. Will wanted to build an insect condo, so he moved old logs from the horse/goat corral and drilled holes to make a place for insects to live. We’ll check in a few weeks to see if it’s working. We are going to experiment with raised planting beds, known in permaculture as hugelkultur. We are starting next week.
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, we build our first Hugelkultur mound using rotten wood, horse manure, branches, hay, and compost. All the materials were located on site. To read more about the process, visit the page on Hugelkultur. It turned out great, and the size fits nicely in the garden.
On Friday, May 12, 2017, I picked up 120 clay pipes because I wanted to use them for an insect habitat under the garden deck as well as garden borders. Time to get creative! On Saturday, May 13, 2017, we created a new planting bed border. To learn more, please visit Clay Pipe Planter Bed.