Last week, we began a new project. The goal is to build several long beds running along a slope we call "the side hill." After tossing around ideas, drawing pictures, and perusing Pinterest, I finally settled on a plan and M and I set out to build the retaining wall. First we cut stakes from cedar and pounded them in.
We artfully arranged our logs and created the wall. Under the wall we places cardboard that will help choke out the weeds and grass under it. I find that the edges can be the hardest part to maintain when using this method.
We then, with the help of the farm husband, cleaned both boys' barns...three loads in the full-size bed of the truck. It took about three hours of cleaning, loading, hauling, dumping, but the end result was a deep layer of mulch (roughly 6-8 inches) over the whole of the space that I want to convert to beds...no more mowing "the side hill". (EDITED: I didn't really explain this...the thick layer of mulch blocks sun from the grass/weeds eventually killing it out. It then begins to compost. When you pull back the mulch you will find beautiful soil, weed feed, and the beginnings of good compost on top!)
When I explain this method to folks, I see skepticism sometimes, and once or twice disgust. True, we have a yard full of deep mulch beds which in reality are just piles of shit. Really, I understand how that might sound gross to someone. I also look at it everyday and I can understand how it might not be pretty to look at, but I see it a little differently.
I can no longer work like I used to and this method eliminates much of the back-breaking work that you would have to do to establish a new bed. If I were to build these beds rapidly, I would have to dig them out, removing the sod, then I would have to add compost and compost and more compost ("the side hill" is mostly clay). What that means besides a lot of digging is making lots of compost. To make compost I would clean the barns, moving the load into a pile to compost, then I would move the loads AGAIN to the bed. This method eliminates that second move...now we go from the barn to the bed and let nature slowly do the work.
Admittedly it the dead of winter when all is gray and barren the piles of deep mulch are sort of depressing, but when I look at them I see potential and hope and the coming of Spring.
The finished bed might not be usable for up to a year...the speed at which it creates itself is dependent on the depth of the mulch, the moisture, temperature, but I can wait.
|The finished deep mulch bed.|