Friday, May 23, 2014

Home Work: Raised Beds And Rocks

Where did that come from? What the hell is that? Why is that one in the middle of the yard? These are the questions I have been asking myself over the last several months of spring. Bulbs that have been buried all winter, monkey grass that has been waiting in the ashes of last year’s life, previously hidden honeysuckles, have all recently been reaching to the sun with all of their might. Now don’t get me wrong, much of the blooms and blossoms have been pleasant surprises. However, they have been a bit… confusing. Confusing in that I did not see them coming. In that I don't entirely understand the thought process of the previous owner. 

One thing I have not had to question is the vegetables and herbs that we have planted. It has been exciting (yes, I get excited about growing food) to see them thrive in proper soil as opposed to the brick factory we were trying to force at our old place. All this brings me to my latest backyard adventure: reinforcing the raised beds. 

When we moved in, I envisioned removing the existing raised beds, and constructing a more solid vegetable garden elsewhere in the yard. However, there were two existing raised beds, and turning the yard into my own sandbox wasn’t the highest priority on our to do list (close, but not quite there). There was also a flowerbed in the center of the back yard lined with large stones. The same stones, but smaller, lined the front yard. In the “level and rebuild” mentality I broke it all down. I stripped them for parts. I… created a rock pile in the back yard. With that I was left with two deteriorating, raised beds and a pile of rocks. Lots of heavy rocks. So, I did what any boy would do while playing in the back yard. I built a castle. 

So when I say reinforcing, it is not because the beds needed the structural support, but because I had two sad looking raised beds and a pile of rocks. By the looks of it, the result could guard against the invading hoards. A moat is the only thing that is missing. 

In all honesty, I am happy with the way it turned out. Especially for a temporary solution. There is a long term plan for the vegetable castle.

We have an area in the back corner of our yard that we refer to as the “thicket”. It is a group of small trees, bushes, and otherwise dense growth. It serves the purpose of providing privacy from beyond the fence, but that is about it. On the list of future “Home Work” assignments is to level the thicket and build it back up with berry bushes and fruit trees (and a pecan tree if I can swing it). Ideally, it would not only provide privacy, but also food, which seems to be a focus when we put things in the ground. The rocks would be repurposed to form rows, and borders, for new bushes and trees. As for the raised beds, they will be rebuilt elsewhere in the backyard with more room and more sunlight.

To be honest, I am looking forward to creating a more edible landscape. There is something natural, fulfilling, and simply nice about stepping into your yard to gather for a meal, garnish, or treat. I mean, I’m going to need sustenance if I plan to continue moving these stinkin’ rocks around the yard.