The big news here this year is that I’ve stopped growing flowers for market. It was fun, but a lot of work and a time drain for a fairly small amount of money. The balance between work-and-time and fun-and-money was definitely tipped too far away from fun and money, so I quit. Now I have time for other things, for example, a new flower bed just for fun. It will be a mixed bed with annuals and perennials this year.
I did the well-known garden hose layout to come up with what I thought was a fairly pleasing bed shape alongside the driveway.
Your basic kidney bean shape, sort of
Taking the sod off is the worst part of the job, unless you rent a power sod cutter. I don’t exactly have one of those, but I do have an excellent John Deere tractor. With an hour or so of very careful bucket work, I was able to get the sod off.
Beats doing it by hand
No more sod
I spent quite a bit of time trying to lay the sod I took out over a bad patch in the yard where we had a lot of nasty grub damage this year. The sod was not very uniform in thickness so I got sort of a hummocky job, but I think that I can level it out with rolling and top-dressing. It’s too ugly to show here.
The topsoil around here is nothing special so a couple of trips to the county recycling station for $20 loads of compost gave me this:
Doesn’t that look nice and rich?
Ya gotta love a tractor-mounted rototiller for making short work of blending in the compost.
Churning the dirt
I wanted the bed to be raised in the middle, so I added a few loader buckets of topsoil and mixed that in too. The blended soil and compost looked kind of pale and pathetic at this point, so I followed up with three buckets of year-old horse manure, courtesy of my good neighbor. I may regret that, because I’m sure there are weed seeds galore in there.
A final tilling and some raking gave me what I hope is a good flower bed.
A done deal
A little cleanup work, and I can start on the fun part. Annie thinks this is the fun part.