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Sunday, December 4, 2011

The New Island Bed

 If you were to believe my husband's Facebook posts regarding our fledgling island bed in the back garden, you would think that I had stood over him with a whip as he lugged 500 two-ton rocks round to the back garden, and then filled the resulting bed with enough dirt to fill the Grand Canyon.

Luckily we share the same sense of humor!

In reality, we purchased 30 shoebox-sized blocks from Lowe's, each weighing maybe 15 lbs. So yes, there was a little muscle involved, but it felt good to be outside and doing something during the Thanksgiving week.

The plan was to create an island bed connecting the two tree saplings we have planted. 

We started out by laying a soaker hose to get the basic shape. Then, since we were going to be using the "lasagna method" we cut and laid out sheets of brown paper over the existing grass.

Then we started laying the stones out, following the shape we had chosen with the soaker hose.

We soaked the paper down and laid bricks in strategic places to keep the paper from blowing away before we were finished, then we left it for a few days.

We finished up the basic bed yesterday, by purchasing 12 bags of Organic Choice garden soil, again from Lowe's. This was what my husband referred to as  "enough dirt to fill the Grand Canyon." Wouldn't he have been shocked if I had had a truck load of dirt delivered and dumped on the driveway, as I briefly considered doing!

Of course, 12 bags is just the start.  We brought them in, opened them and spread the soil over the paper in the bed and soaked everything down again.

Here's what the bed looks like now.

 During the course of the winter, we'll bring in some more soil, add some compost from our composter and add a layer of mulch.  The plan is to build up the center of the bed, while not burying the trees already in the ground at each end of the bed.

By spring it should be ready for planting.

After we had finished up with the soil and gone in for a shower, I discovered a little extra bonus that I hadn't thought about before:

We'll have a lovely view of the bed from our bedroom window.

The cats should enjoy it too, as they sit on the little window shelf we put in for them, and watch the birds and butterflies.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Kathleen Scott said...

Love the location and look of the bed. You'll have a VIEW and an island of habitat from your new bed. And you're so smart to do the lasagna method. I haven't heard it called that before but sounds perfect for the practice.

What are you going to plant?

Jayne said...

Thanks Kathleen. I've used the lasagna method for all our beds, although I hadn't heard that name either when I started them. I was just trying to avoid digging in the heavy soil! I'm hoping to have perennials in the bed, something to attract more butterflies to the garden, although as the trees grow, I may have to reassess in a few years.

Dorothy/Gardening with Nature said...

It's looking great and it will be beautiful when it's all finished and planted next year. I had heard of using newspapers as the first layer of the "lasagna" but not brown paper. That's an interesting variation.