In Which I Have Done a Thing I Have Wanted to Do For More Than Ten Years

published on Apr 27, 2019


The boy and I (oldest, age 18), drove into Charlotte with my trailer and stack of cardboard today, and we met a very friendly man driving a very intimidatingly gigantic tractor, who dumped a literal ton of compost into the trailer and gave us good advice on getting it home safely.

We got it home safely.

A week or two ago, the frame you see in the above picture had been assembled, and then it had fallen apart. I had used screws I already had that were too small for the job. For the repair, I overcompensated by choosing rather spectacularly long screws.

Take that as you will.

Ahem. So anyway, about that ten years mentioned in the title. More than ten years ago we moved from a house that had a reasonably okay backyard for gardening to one that was much better in many other regards, but was terrible for gardening. It was mostly wooded, partly covered in periwinkle, and far too shady.

Then we moved out of that house and rented for far longer than I wanted to.

Lack of reasonable garden space is rather hard on a person who needs to get their hands dirty on a regular basis.

When we bought this house, Carey bought a kitchen. I bought a fig tree and a yard.

And now that yard's becoming a garden. At last!

So, anyway. Pictures.

Many moons ago, I learned about no-till gardening, and I have never done it any way since. Tilling is bad for soil structure and bad for soil fauna and just bad in general.

So what I do is build a frame, and cover the ground under the planned bed with cardboard, making sure to remove tape and any other non-organic matter.

In true lasagna-style gardening, you'd then lay down "green" organic matter like kitchen scraps and lawn clippings, and then layer "brown" organic matter like straw over that and wait for it all to decompose in place.

But I've got baby tomato plants that need a proper home stat, so ain't nobody got time for that.

Enter the already composted compost.

Ultimately, the garden will consist of four beds, each 4 x 10 feet, giving me 160 square feet of space. There's room enough to build up to another two or possibly three beds if I get ambitious, but 160 sq feet is probably plenty for me, really.

Between the beds, I will continue to layer cardboard and then lay wood mulch, which will require another trip to compost central, and will create reasonably weed-free paths that won't have to be mowed.

Other than some logistical help and the beloved company of my son on the trip to and from Compost Central and the help of another beloved son (age 11) in rebuilding one of the beds, I did all of this myself. Yes, I feel like a badass. Yes, that's a lot of shoveling. No, I did not injure my back.

Which reminds me I want to write a post about my health, but that's for another day. Suffice to say, my health is good right now.

Which is good, because I've still got that cabin to build this summer.

TAGS: lasagna gardening
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Fen Druadìn

Fen Druadìn (they/them) is a storyteller, a visionary, and a book midwife.

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