Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Kitchen Garden: Retaining Wall

View from the street
(Dottie and Otto stand guard)
Well, we are finally building our Kitchen Garden! It will be a small one, right outside the kitchen side door. In the past, we have had a small plot there with herbs and flowers, supplemented with potted plants along the walkway. But now we are adding an entire tier and extending the planting bed by over four feet!

Living in one of the state's hilliest areas, the first step (as is the case in almost any landscaping endeavor we decide to undertake) is to build a retaining wall. Now mind you, this is completely new territory for both Darren and me. We are basically learning as we go, and so far, it's going pretty well.

 If you take a look at the "BEFORE" photo, you will see the driveway on the far left and then the top of the driveway retaining wall. The composter is sitting in the original herb bed, which will probably remain it's future home once this project is completed. That bed runs to the black edging, and then you can see the start of our "lawn" which has recently been reseeded. And the whole thing has a downward pitch, toward the driveway. To level our planting area, we will build an approximately 24" high retaining wall where the black edging is, and level off the new 48" wide bed to meet the height of the lawn. When all is said and done, we will end up with two tiers of gardening beds!

This is the sunniest spot in the yard, and it receives just about full sun. I've wanted to do something to spruce up this bed for awhile, but the whole project was really spurred by my mother's request. Incidentally, my mother has always had her own garden, plus she is an amazing cook. So we saw no option but to accommodate her.

Completed trench for retaining wall (left),
sod being taken up (right)
Our kitchen garden will incorporate vegetables and herbs for everyday cooking. . . .a real workhorse of a garden! We're not quite sure what will happen off-season. Gardens I've always had in the past, have been tucked away on the outskirts of the yard, or in some lower field on my parent's farm. So now we are posed with the challenge of having a garden which is in reality, a literal extension of our lawn. Being an ample sized bed, in such a high profile spot of the yard, we really need to think about what happens when it's barren, before the snow falls.

But for now, we have the start of our retaining wall. We have dug the appropriate size trench and have laid process stone. We also started taking up the sod from where the new bed will be. As soon as time permits, we are ready to start laying the first course of stone!

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