Our lawn has a steep slope in the middle while the upper and lower ends are relatively flat. We were looking at the annoying middle slope the other day and decided, what the heck, let's terrace it and put in some garden beds. Digging began last week and today we really cut into it, getting most of the dirt moved.
There are going to be three planting beds with cinder block retaining walls. We're digging out a lot of soil, especially at the top, to create the terracing. We're also removing soil because we're going to replace it with some purchased topsoil.
You see, being foodies more than gardeners, we need to make this project worthwhile and have some payoff for the ongoing effort of tending it. So we're going to be planting herbs, vegetables, and berries! Since it used to be a lawn (which the former owners treated chemically, we believe), we need to remove a decent slice of the soil and replace it to ensure there's no contamination in the food. We purchased the soil and had it delivered today... Seeing a hauling truck show up and dump a pile of soil more than half your height on the driveway is really one of those "What the hell are we doing?" moments.
I also purchased (and personally hauled) all the necessary concrete blocks and mix from Home Depot. So at this point I think we have all the supplies we need to get everything in place.
And what about all the dirt we're removing? I'm using it to make a new path around the lower end of our property. It's leveling and surfacing a new path weaving through the trees, so it's being put to good use.
For the record, in case you think growing your own food is a wonderful money-saving venture... Our approximate costs thus far:
The beds are in a place that's partially shaded (as is most of our property), so we've been trying to choose plants which should have a decent chance. Some of the herbs we'd like to grow just plain need sun so they'll be in a pot on the upper porch which gets a decent slice of morning and midday sun.
In the garden, we're currently looking at:
It's experimental. We'll see what we can get to grow.
Still, it's a chance for us to all work on something together. Even Timothy was helping out, gleefully shoveling dirt with a trowel and getting rides in the empty wheelbarrow. Family togetherness! Happy Mothers Day.