Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Woman, One Shovel

(Or why there's been nothing new to read here in a while)

And a whole lotta dirt, uh soil (they really tried to pound that into us in that SOILS class that I took at Foothill College eons ago). See that nice new block wall over on the left (look below, the only blocks above are in the head behind the shovel), the stuff behind that wall is DIRT, really just dirt. I've tried growing vegetables in that stuff and it's hopeless. That's why I spent a small fortune four years ago to build my current vegetable garden. That dirt had a bad habit of crumbling into my garden when it rains so I hired a really nice landscape contracter to install that block wall to keep the dirt in its place. When I showed my husband the bid for the wall he said "is that all, do it". On the other hand, when I got the bid for the raised beds - "how much? are you kidding?? no way, we already spent $$$ on that garden!" So, I worked up plan B, which involved a lot less expensive Redwood and a lot more free labor, meaning, my labor. (Not my husband's, he's a sharp witted lawyer with soft skinned hands and he manages to spend the bulk of his time at work instead of in the garden - poor guy). So, before the new beds can be built the crew (me) has to clear out the soil so the space can be leveled and the old crappy gopher proofing (what a joke) can be pulled up. The contractor asked me, I could not believe this, if I would like him to haul away the old soil - I think my jaw dropped - all that fancy expensive soil that I had hauled in just four years ago and that I've been lovingly tending and amending ever since. Ah, no, I'll move it - and last Friday afternoon the work began...

So, even if I had something to blog about in the garden, which I really don't since I've not planted anything since last November in anticipation of the remodel so the harvest are slowing down in a big way, I haven't had the time (or the energy) since this one woman crew has been working on this:

Let me tell you girls, when you put in a hard day's work shoveling all that, um, soil, you can EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT! and not gain an ounce. At last, the final holiday pounds are disappearing... But, actually, it only took me a couple of hours on Friday, most of Monday, and a couple of hours this morning to get the job done. (Oh yeah, job done, who am I kidding - I still have to shift the soil back once the new bed is built and then I get to do the whole process THREE MORE TIMES.) Not to mention hauling some new soil 'cause the new beds will hold more. I think I'll indulge in a pint or two of Ben and Jerry's over the next few weeks...

Crappy gopher proofing

Now I have to get out there and pull up all that twisted and torn chicken wire, push a bit more dirt around and then call Daniel to build bed # 1.

But first, while I'm at it, here's a look at what is left in the rest of the garden.

Behind curtain #1, spinach and chard.
Bolting kale and broccoli feeding the good bugs in the background.

And the Purple Sprouting Broccoli that won't sprout. Just a few more weeks kiddo and out you go, sprouts or no.

 A few more sprouts on the other Purple Sprouting Broccoli plant - good girl!

Various radicchios just starting to show signs of forming heads - hurry up, hurry up.

The frisee plants that the gophers left me. Gotcha, you little booger!

Stay tuned for updates on the remodel!


  1. Damn straight you can eat what you want after a hard days work girl! I just spent the entire day (today is the 1st 80 degree day we have had here in Chicago) out cutting back perennials and orn grasses and worked so hard I had to take a 2nd shower, Im enjoying a big bowl of popcorn with 1C of shredded sharp cheddar on top (If I had ice cream or Girl Scout cookies I would have gotten into those too) treat for working so hard today! Kudos to you on everything and just think of the great harvests yet to come!

  2. 80 degrees! I would be hibernating, not working - I'm a weather wimp. Today was perfect weather for working in the garden, 60 something, cloudy, thinking of rain... which we dearly need.You really earned that bowl of popcorn.

  3. Impressive work and fabulous diet plan. I too get very frustrated with purple sprouting broccoli - it takes too long in our climate too.

  4. Lots of work -- maybe I'll shovel some wet soil 'cause the pounds have been creeping back! Your gopher/rat problems remind me a little bit of gardening in Arizona. I had a friend who literally built a large -- 20x40' maybe? cage of 1/4" hardware cloth because of critters. She just gardened in there like a greenhouse. I don't know if it's in your future or not, but maybe one big one, under and over, would be easier than bed by bed? Hang in there! Remodeling is stressful, but worth it?

  5. Wow, what a Herculean project. It's beautiful already. I'm with you on weather, 60 not 80. Your rain is headed down the coast toward us. We really need it. It's been a dry rainy season.

  6. Tiffany @ No Ordinary HomesteadMarch 18, 2012 at 5:49 AM

    What a great design..!!! Hope to have that kind of simple garden.. Gotta call my friends and try to make that as a model. I actually host a weekly gardening link up every Friday on my blog. I'd love for you to drop by and join in

  7. This looks exciting and it will be worth all the hard work! I'm impressed and it will be great to start the new season with a new garden.

  8. I love the photo of you with the shovel! It tells the story right off. All that hard work will be paying off as soon as your raised beds are in place. You do still have a nice looking salad garden.

  9. I love the photo of you with the shovel! I love a good hard days work in the garden. And yes, you do get to eat a lot more when hard label is done.

    It won't be long before you will be harvesting!

  10. Wow is that going to be a great looking garden when you get the rework done! Totally impressed with your hard work and love the new retaining wall.

  11. Amen to all that shoveling and protecting of carefully crafted soil. I did the same thing last year and got a lot of raised eyebrows because of how protective I was about the soil.

    Nice friggen work, sister!


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