Saturday, December 05, 2009

DIYS Gardening: Part I

I have been keeping busy this semester by doing more project around the house. Some time ago I announce I wanted to build a supercomputer network out of used Macs. I had all the Macs but it never quite got off the ground. Something about have too many power bar plugged into too few outlets. I swear Fire marshals can be so picky.

So in late summer I started looking around so another project that might be a bit more useful. Some neighbors of mine have some really nice raised beds for a vegetable garden. I thought, "I can do that!" I had a perfect place in the backyard for a plot to go, beside the old swing set in the backyard was starting to become a death trap. Of course, Technowitch did not think so and chained herself to the swing set to prevent me from taking it down. I wish I had thought to grab my camera and take a picture, but if I left to go get it TW would have hid my tools like she did before she chained herself to the swing set. After an afternoon of work I finally had the wooden play set removed and I could start on the sand.

I spent the next morning removing all the weeds and grasses that have rooted in the sand. All that material was dumped into a new compost pile in the far corner of the backyard. After raking and smoothing the area, I was left with a 10ft by 16ft (about 3.3m by 5m) sandbox. I could have used this space for the garden itself, but the wood play set was pressure treated and most likely had arsenic in it. Who know what would have happened to the fruits and veggies that would have grown there.

Of course, nothing says, "Please take a dump in me", like fresh turned sand. I've had experience with several cats in the neighborhood. They see an open plot of loose sand as their personal kitty litter box. Between that and the chance for heavy metal poisoning, I had to cover things up.

I put down two layers of plastic. Not the most environmentally friendly thing to do, but I wanted everything dead beneath my garden and I wanted to keep toxins from coming in contact with the roots of my plants. the first layer is a thick clear plastic (3 mils thick). This was followed by another layer of black plastic. This was another afternoon of work and afterward I thought I could just stop here and cover everything with concrete. That would make a nice foundation for a hot tub. Then vision of nude Coeds frolicking in my hot tub started dancing in my head. I had been out in the sun too long...

I've started this project with the goal of spending no more than $50 each weekend. After buying a bow rake, the plastic sheeting and replacing the wheel on the wheelbarrow I'm at my $50 break point and I needed to stop. Look for Part II in an upcoming post.

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