In my article on gardening in toxic soil, I mentioned that we grow all food crops in 18” raised beds. In addition to keeping our plants out of the toxic soil, they are much easier to maintain. It was Hubby’s idea to build a raised bed to replace a weed-infested mess in the sunken garden. Hubby insisted we must do this and refused to weed the existing bed. Hubby insisted for two years that he would not weed the sunken garden because he wanted to build the raised bed. He made no move to build the bed, but he insisted it must be done. He refused to move the peony in the existing bed, then he fell off the roof.
Now, when it is absolutely the wrong time to move a peony, I had my garden helper move the peony and start on the keyhole bed. It is amazing how much work a young body can do. On the other hand, I find myself explaining things like hydraulic pressure and the effects of gravity. Young people don’t understand gravity like old people. I hope Hubby understands gravity better now.
The sunken garden is an interesting microclimate. It has a strong south facing slope which gets quite warm. Trees on the north and east shelter my sunken garden so the cold north winds don’t hit this sheltered dell. The area is the beginning of a draw that drops all the way down to the Puget Sound, so the cold air falls away from this small garden making it less susceptible to early and late frosts. The house shelters the garden from any nastiness from the south. This is where the daffodils bloom first in the spring and the dahlias hang on through November unless we get a long, hard freeze.
This sheltered little garden has one problem--shade. Those trees on the east block the morning light and trees on the west block evening light in the summer. I hope raising the bed up 18” will give the foliage on the plants a chance of catching more hours of full sunlight.
The plan is that once the bed is built, we will put a birdbath in the center of the garden to attract our feathered neighbors to come and feast on bugs in the garden. This will be a warm place to sit and work during the colder months of the gardening season. I can plant some early season edibles in the bed before I set dahlias into it in May. Well, this year I missed the early veggies. The dahlias will go in almost as soon as it is finished.
Perhaps I can load Hubby on our lawn tractor, and he can ride down there and set out baby plants when the bed is done. Our third or fourth reason for raising all our garden beds with concrete block is so that they are easier for older bodies to work on. When we started this, it never occurred to me that one of us would be wheelchair confined so soon. As it is, Hubby can still help in the garden despite the fact that he won’t be walking for another month yet.