New Bed Done – Exhausted but Happy

When we last left, we were in progress with our new stone bed – a bed to match the one we made last year. This weekend brought much cooler temperatures that last weekend, but it was still quite pleasant. All the better than no rain was in sight, so we got outside just as soon as we could to finish up the bed.

First thing first was removing the rest of the sod. We still had a little bit to remove from the inside of the bed, and that work went as quickly as it could, which is to say not very quickly. (Seriously, our grass, though nice and thick, has the most intolerable root system ever. It’s like cutting through carpet with a spoon!) But once we refrained from complaining, the work went well enough. Then it was on to the trickier part of removing the sod from underneath each stone.

Two by two we went...
Two by two we went…

Armed with whatever tools we could gather, we dug out each section and then filled it back in in order to level the stones. The process was slow, no two ways about it. And as we are not exactly the springiest of chickens any more, it took us nearly two-thirds of the day to get round the whole bed. And even once all the sod was gone, we had to go back and re-level any stones that remained wonky, and unfortunately, that was most of them.

Sod gone, check. Stones leveled, check!
Sod gone, check. Stones leveled…err…not quite.

During this second re-leveling process, we put down the weed blocker, a very helpful, woven plastic landscape fabric that, well, blocks weeds. At least it’s supposed to. What it really does in block grass — the weeds seem have no problem finding their way into our beds!

Trying to manage the weed blocker fabric in the breeze was a challenge.
Weed blocker. Great but not the most manageable of fabrics, especially in the breeze.

So along we went, placing the weed blocker fabric under a few stones as a time and leveling them out when necessary. Because the fabric wasn’t quite wide enough for the whole bed, we ended up using two long pieces, which all stayed in place with the stones and a few garden staples. In the end, and after too long a day of work, things didn’t look half bad, thankfully.

Weed blocked and ready to be filled!
Weeds blocked and ready to be filled!

Next was stacking the second layer of stones. A quick trip to the hardware store took care of getting the remaining stones we needed. We layered them on in a fashion matching the original stone bed, and then the only thing left was filling it with soil. Simple enough but tiring all the same as two more trips to the store were needed to get all the bags of soil – 32 cubic feet of soil in total. Between the multitude of heavy bags and all the bending, stooping, and kneeling involved in this project, what we did not do was invest in enough aspirin. Frankly, we were just too excited to get the bed done that we kind of forgot just how much we might hurt afterwards. And hurt we do as of this evening, but look…!

Ta-da!  A new finished bed!
Ta-da! A new finished bed!

And we do have to say that the yard looks especially nice now that the second bed is done. It looks like a yard with purpose. And that purpose is to create a great garden!

Quite a nice pair we have now! (Curious about the plastic bottle in the old bed? They're protecting asparagus shoots.)
Quite a nice pair we have now! (Curious about the plastic bottles in the older [top] bed? They’re protecting asparagus shoots.)
So, if everything goes well, we’ll be ready to get all these guys planted during the first couple weekends in May:

We put the seedlings outside today. They seem to be enjoying the real sunlight!
We put the seedlings outside today. They seem to be enjoying the real sunlight!
Never mind the cactus. It's a houseplant just looking for a little real sun as well.
Never mind the cactus. It’s a houseplant just looking for a little real sun as well.

With the new bed done and the seedlings in the cold frame, as long as the weather holds out, it looks like we are indeed ready for some planting and sowing soon! And that’s a very good thing. 🙂

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