We had a few very wet, cold, windy days immediately following the afternoon that I assembled our veggie and flower planter boxes in the backyard. It’s a good thing I hadn’t put the tomatoes in the ground right away. With the sun out this week I couldn’t put off the project any more, so I got right down to it.
Last you saw, I had this set of planter boxes assembled and resting in the middle of the yard just off the deck. Super convenient placement. Not. After discussion, we had determined that installing the planters in the back left corner of the yard would be most logical: close to our raspberry bushes, in a part of the yard that gets a lot of sunlight, and best of all, far enough away from Cody’s running loop so as not to trip him up. Dog likes to run, you know?
I debated removing the grass in an oval all around both boxes and making a mulchy walkway, but in the end decided to only clear out the spaces directly on the inside of both planters, leaving the outer edge grassy, and most of the yard in tact.
Easily said and done, once I was positive that the planters were in position, I used some leftover white spray paint to mark the inside of each box so I knew precisely where to cut. I didn’t spray the outside of the box because I didn’t want to chance a lot of white paint coating the wooden exterior, which I anticipate to wear naturally over time.
With the boxes out of the way, my dig-plan was clear. And the dog was intrigued.
The dig only took an hour, but was a good workout; I trimmed around the edges first with a straight edge shovel to loosen the grass, and then moved inward, shaking as much loose soil back onto the ground as I could manage, aiming to only throw out a lightweight grass toupee.
Completely cleared, the ground was ready for the most exciting part: a serious tillin’.
The tiller, I’ve been really excited about since our trip to Arizona for the Black & Decker Blogger Event. It’s the only product that we didn’t have a chance to test on-site, probably because the Angels field maintenance crew didn’t want to deal with our path of destruction, but I’ve been eager to give it a try in our own yard.
No, I’ve never tilled before. Never operated anything that did such a thing so powerfully. I assembled it myself on the deck last weekend, and was eager to put it to use, so I got to it.
For a number of reasons, I decided to make this part of the post a video:
It was a one-time video shoot, with no redos and no retouching. I think you’ll be able to tell that I’m a tilling newbie right off the bat. Nonetheless, enjoy. I want to take it to the whole lawn now. Anyone have something I can power through?
I’m weird, right? Was I tilling deep enough? That thing was yanking me all over, which I guess is what it’s supposed to do to an extent, and I guess goes to prove that the 36V cordless product by Black & Decker has some brute strength for being battery-powered. Yeah, I need to practice more, that’s the lesson here.
The finished and tilled squares looked and felt good. Very light soil, but not enough yet. Before I loaded more into position, I had to get the planters in place and installed, which was as simple as pulling the structures back into position and hammering the rebar into the ground so they were flush with the top of the box. The dog happily scratched himself in the background, he’s uncontrollable.
These things are locked. in. tight.
The big game plan was to use the box on the left for tomatoes, and the one on the right for an assorted mass of flowers. Before I could begin planting and seeding, I bought a lot (a lot, a lot) of soil to optimize the situation.
$30 bought me a healthy amount of peat moss, planter soil, in-ground gardening moisture-hold soil, hummus and manure for the tomatoes, and extra dirt. I made my dollar go a little further by purposefully selecting damaged bags at Home Depot; even a little tear in the bag (with seemingly no lost soil) saved me 10-50% off the retail price depending on the extent of the damage. It’s my understanding that “it all depends on the person ringing you out” so be sure to inquire and point out all damages when you’re paying to save a few dollars.
Spread and mixed up a little by hand, both planters were considerably more filled and ready for planting. Notice that the soil on the left is darker? That’s thanks to the hummus and manure bags, which I layered in to give the tomato babies extra nutrients.
I sprinkled flower seeds in the one on the right; only time will tell what that’s going to look like. For now, not much, but expect to be seeing Four O’Clocks, Marigolds, Gazania, and Gomphrena. Crossing my finger that they take root since the impatients were a big fat failure.
The tomatoes have been adjusting to real sunlight in the sunroom over the last week; my parents start them from seed early every spring and hand deliver me whatever ones they think I’ll like best. So lucky. These little guys just about ready to go into the ground. Hoping to get them adjusted this afternoon.
Till anything good lately? How does your springtime garden grow?