This spring brings the fourth growing season in my new garden, I guess it’s not so new anymore! The garden is really beginning to settle in and look the way I pictured, for the most part. The next step in the evolution of my garden is some sod removal to create a new planting bed in my big back yard.
Ever since I first established my shade garden along the southern fenceline it’s been irking me. That long, straight, boring line marching down the yard leading to my compost box made me grit my teeth each time I looked at it. At the time however, it was all I could do to create that ‘backbone’ for my future plans. When you’re landscaping a biggish new garden without heavy equipment or much of a budget, all the work must be done by hand and it takes a lot of time and energy.
I enlisted the help of my family to build that garden, including my sister, who hauled her share of wheelbarrows full of soil during one of her weekend visits back in 2009. Now it was finally time to erase that straight line. I began to suss it out last fall (2011) by laying my hose out and playing with various configurations. I knew that I wanted to bring the garden well out into the center of the yard and that I wanted to see generous curves instead of straight lines.
In March of 2012 I began to lay out the garden and remove sod. I was inspired to create a circular patch of lawn towards the back of the yard, so with a stake and a string I scribed an 18’ circle and began cutting. Anyone who has removed sod without the benefit of power tools knows how back-breaking this labour is. Between me and my husband we chipped away at it, eventually clearing this huge space for my new curvy garden.
I tried to do some of the digging, but soon tuckered out and suggested that we rent a rototiller to break up the rocky clay. My energetic husband decided that he could use the exercise and said that he would just dig it over. He did a great job, but I still think we should’ve used the rototiller, it didn’t do his back any good (mostly because he works like a demon rather than pacing himself!).
At any rate, it was finished lickety-split. Then I bought a dump truck full of topsoil mixed with fish compost to spread atop the garden. We spent a day wheelbarrowing it from where it was dumped at the side of the house into the garden and raking it out.
Phew! That was a lot of work, but now that the sod removal and soil prep is done I can plan and plant the new garden in my backyard. This will be the fun part! And instead of an annoying long straight line I look out onto a big, bombastic, curvy bed. Truly an evolution of my new garden!