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The New Veggie Bed!



Made of eighty-five concrete drystone wall blocks (the kind with the little lip so that the top ones can’t slide off the one underneath in response to pressure from behind) and holding a little over a cubic yard of dirt. I did it all myself with my little red wheelbarrow and my little Pontiac Vibe. (Okay, the dirt was delivered, but I still had to truck it from the front yard in the wheelbarrow!) For those keeping track at home, that means I moved well over a ton of materials in the wheelbarrow, over the course of a week.

Stamina. I haz it.

It gets more or less full sun (more toward the front), but is in partial shade in the afternoon, which is actually what you want for veggies down here, since the afternoon heat is merciless. I don’t know if it’ll take tomatoes, but I plan to plant beans, carrots, daikons and beets to start, and maybe some lettuce is in the shadier bits around back. There are a couple of small gaps in the stone, mostly at the corners, owing to the wedge-shaped nature of the beast, and I’ll finally have a spot to tuck a few of those little species that all say “Try planting in the cracks of a drystone wall!” Well, HA! I finally have a drystone wall—sort of—and I WILL so THERE!*

It’s not as big as my main veggie bed that wraps around the deck, but it’s over a foot deep, which is amazing compared to the other beds. (A scant few inches of topsoil and compost over clay subsoil. We do not double dig here. We do not even single-dig. We break our shovels and burst into tears.)  I’m hopeful for the root vegetables this time—I’ve managed small beets in the other beds, and I’m trying Parisenne carrots there this year—but it’s so nice to finally have a space where I’m pretty confident I can do real, finicky, must-have-deep-loose-soil root vegetables.

The rest of the garden in this shot is not very attractive at the moment. Winter is visually much harsher down here. (I never realized how many sins snow hides.) Most of my efforts have been on the front yard, which has nice dried grasses and evergreen Carolina jessamine, but this patch is…rough. Oh, well. I will eventually get some evergreens back here to break up the monotony of dead oak leaves and to disguise the chain link fence, but frankly, there’s only so much you can do in such an aggressively deciduous climate.


*I may be retaining some small bitterness after all these years.

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.


If it should ever happen that you want to take a break from veggies in one corner of that bed, you will be ASTOUNDED at what can happen if you plant tulip bulbs in a bed with soil that deep. ASTOUNDED. Try Old House Gardens, they have amazing heirlooms.

the problem with planting tulips in this area of New York is the deer will then camp out in your yard waiting for the next meal to appear.

Congratulations on your new arrival.

I'll invite all my bunny friends over for dinner.

Indeed. WOOHOO!

As for the snow, you're welcome to ours. I think we made it into double digits today, but nothing happens to the snow. [Well, I guess it sublimates to some extent.] Ah, the sunny Southwest.


oh I like that. I may have to use those for when we build our beds

I love this. I also really love the retaining-wall type that actually have scoops in the top to hold dirt, and am waiting to have a house that actually has a reasonable amount of garden space (instead of the double-handkerchief sized planting space I currently possess...)

slightly envious

Very cool! Congrats and keep us updated... and take a long hot bath! That is a lot of moving that just happened!

I tried double-digging - once.

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I've been slowly working with my clay and it's great now... In my oldest bed... If you don't go more than 8 inches down. Fortunately my tomatoes and corn seem to love it.

I totally think you should put a cantaloupe or watermelon vine in one (or more) of the corner(s) and then you can let the vine trail down over the wall...

Up next, I propose you build a self-contained bog, for a hungry garden of Venus flytraps, pitcher plants and sundews (and mayhaps a butterwort or two). Did you know North Carolina is the only place in the world where Venus flytraps grow naturally? Well, maybe not YOUR patch of NC - they're more in the Green Swamp, outside Wilmington - but with your skillz, I'm sure you could coax a nice crop of predatory plants!

The little yellow birdhouse makes me smile. I am not entirely certain why, but it looks like a place for happy little birdies.

Such a great idea! Only problem is, I have nowhere that really has afternoon shade. We're on such a bizarre lot and the previous owner cut down a ton of trees because she was afraid they'd "fall on the house" (nevermind that they were nowhere near the house and wouldn't have been even close had they fallen). That and the damned honeysuckle would probably obliterate it. It loves freshly turned dirt.