Over the weekend, Stephanie assembled the compost bin. She filled it with some old leaves (a combination of dry and moist) and started adding our veggie scraps to the mix. Exciting!

Our landscape guy, Walter, recommended that we pour a beer over the leaves to encourage their transition into compost. So….

Gomer is sooooo drunk, y’all! He partied from Saturday all through Sunday. Monday I checked on him because, you know…a good friend always checks on you if they think you partied too hard over the weekend.

Compost Pile 3/17

(Do you know why we call our compost pile Gomer? Because he’s a Pile!!!! We’re so punny.)

Not much progress there, but it’s only been a couple of days. Wait until I start turning him over.

Inspired by our absolutely blank yard, an article on companion planting, and our party with Gomer on Saturday, I pulled out some graph paper and pencil and planned out our raised beds.

Temporary Raised Bed Plan

Since we have a ton of land and only four hands between us, I’ve decided that we will just have two temporary raised beds this summer for our veggie garden.

Temporary raised beds? Did that spark your interest?

As I was packing boxes in preparation for the move back in September, I found a book called No-Dig, No-Weed Gardening (Raymond P. Poincelot, Rodale Press, 1986) and tossed it into a pile of books I wanted to read along the trip. Now, seven months later, I’m finally digging in.

In the third chapter, the author described a cheap way to create a raised bed by using that short wire garden border and cardboard. Basically, you just put the garden border into the ground and line it with the cardboard. Add dirt to the center and you have a raised bed. Presto!

Since we have tons of cardboard (thanks, packing boxes!) and I found some wire garden border on clearance at Lowes, we’re off to a good start.

To this mix, I’m adding a bottom layer of old carpet to prevent weeds from extending their little claws up from the existing soil.

The reason for all of this raised bed building came from the discovery that the soil here on our new little plot of land is just red clay – yards and yards of red clay.

Our Dirt...Red Clay

Clay pervades every square inch of our plot. We have a couple of little garden beds around the house with trees and bushes (two maples and a rose just in front of the now side door) and a holly hedge lining the upper east and north side of the property. Otherwise, nothing has really been developed. Our lawn stretches from the holly all the way down to the south end of the property and from the road to the little wood.

Our plan includes transforming that lawn into gardens and trees and a wildflower meadow and, basically, stuff we don’t have to mow.

My plan is to use the two temporary raised beds to grow our veggies this summer because I can’t resist the call of the warm weather! Then, as the summer progresses, we’ll continue to plan and dig (despite the promise of the book) and create better soil on the ground for our next steps. Since the best way to improve the soil in any garden anywhere is compost, we’re off to a great start with Gomer.

More leaves and beer please!