This past Saturday, I worked like a madwoman to enlarge a vegetable/herb bed next to the house before the thunderstorms were to come (which they did on Sat. night).
I’ve probably said this ad nauseum, but my garden is very, very small. So, I am always looking for SPACE. I have looked at a certain area of the garden, for I don’t know how long (we have lived here 10 years) and just realized I could expand it about two more feet. Doh!
This is what I did: First, I dug up all the grass/weeds with a pitchfork. Then I broke up all of the soil (I was really wishing for a tiller). If it was pure clay, I threw it OUT. (I determined this by – (now pay attention because this is very scientific) if I could not break it into smaller pieces with my hand, it was tossed.
Then I put the edging in. Oh.my.gosh. this was such a chore. I used a rubber mallet and my Wonder Woman strength to shape and pound it into place. It took for-ev-er.
Then, I added a layer of shale and mixed it in.
Then I added a layer of top soil and mixed it in.
Then a layer of gypsum. ( I am determined to break up this clay.)
Finally, a layer of bed planting mix
(which contains compost, more shale, etc.). I used the shale and gypsum at the recommendation of my local nursery. I had sent in a soil sample which they analyzed. ( I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the report I received. I was looking for something more specific and scientific.) The shale once placed in the soil will remain forever and helps to keep clay soils from being so compacted. The gypsum is similar in that it also aerates clay soils but it is finer in texture. Garden gypsum can be applied on top of beds and lawns without having to be worked into the soil. (A real bonus – let me assure you)
I planted tomatoes and peppers in the new space .
Other gardening chores were taking out a front row of parsley (it would soon go to flower and I want to plant something else there) and overcrowded plants of salad burnet. I then cut the remaining plant (salad burnet) way back. I made the discovery that ONE plant of salad burnet is plenty. My compost pile smelled like cucumbers from the discarded plants, which was rather nice.
Wonder woman was extremely tired, but very pleased with the results.