My Wee Kitchen Garden has moved from its old location to its new location pictured here. It was an enormous undertaking; let me show you my journey with this project.
What is a kitchen garden? A kitchen garden is a garden in which vegetables and/or herbs and/or fruit are grown for use in cooking. In April of 2013 I decided I was going to build a raised bed garden in the little field that goes down to our barn. I called it my Wee Kitchen Garden because it wasn’t very large.
I bought a raised bed garden kit, laid landscape fabric, assembled the boxes, put gravel around the perimeter of the garden, built trellises, built a garden gate and put a critter fence around the outside. Here it is in August of that year:
While I was able to grow a lot in that garden, it wasn’t the best spot for sun. I’ve been wanting to move it ever since. Last year, I decided it was going to be time. So in the fall, while my neighbor was out and about with his backhoe, I had him “level” a bank near the edge of our property where I knew there would be plenty of light.
On April 2, I started the move of the garden boxes. It was pretty easy to disassemble them, but they weren’t in the best shape. I decided I was going to move them anyway and just see if this location was going to work better.
Once again, I laid landscape fabric under where I was going to put the boxes. This really helps keep down the weeds that might grow up through the box soil. Because I changed the configuration of the boxes, I was able to add another whole box. The bank wasn’t exactly level, but I figured I could make it work. I leveled it using some stones (which created an issue later). Here it is partially assembled:
The next step was to create a retaining wall on the far bank, and to surround the garden with concrete retaining wall blocks. This not only makes a level surface to surround the garden for ease of access, but it acts as a barrier between the garden and any grass or weeds.
Here is the first phase:
Note the beer in the above photo? It was well deserved. All of this first phase of block was done in one day.
I measured how much I was going to need, but ran into some problems. First, the measurement of the blocks was given as 12 inches, when in fact they are only 11 inches. Then, because of the grade, it took more blocks than I anticipated.
I had 100 blocks delivered, but ended up needing 131 blocks. Weighing in at 24.4 pounds per block, I moved and placed 2934.4 pounds of block. It was way more when you consider how many times I moved them from place to place.
My fabulous neighbor pumps water from a cave on his property to a tank behind his house. This system is then gravity fed down to his own garden and orchard (which is just across the road from my garden site). At first he asked if I wanted to run a hose over to his spigot in the orchard and I was thrilled! Then, he offered to dig a trench and run a line directly to my site. Could there be a better neighbor?
Fortunately, we live in a tiny little subdivision with a gravel road. And since we control what goes on back here, it was no problem to dig across the road. The only issue was that we have underground utilities. I called to have the location marked and hand dug, with a pick, fifteen inches deep, across the top of the lines.
I filled the beds with an equal mixture of top soil and mushroom compost, transplanted all of my perennial herbs and cutting flowers from the old garden location, planted annual herbs from seed and two types of tomatoes and pickling cucumbers. This was at the end of April, just before were away for a couple of weeks on a fishing trip. Fortunately, my neighbor’s wife watered for me while we were gone.
When I returned in the middle of May, everything was thriving! The final step in the Wee Kitchen Garden move was to finish the block surround and to fill the surround with gravel.
Yesterday, I pulled all the weeds from the inside of the surround, laid the last of landscape fabric inside to fully cover the areas inside the surround.
My same fabulous, incredible, super-hero neighbor used his backhoe to bring me gravel (from the pile we use for our subdivision road maintenance) to fill the surround. I raked and shoveled it into place and this is it! Finished!
Everything is doing amazingly well! More sun, great soil, water without any chemicals. I’m beyond thrilled! I’m never afraid to tackle huge projects, so this one was a lot of fun for me! I can’t wait to be able to share recipes using my herbs and vegetables from the new Wee Kitchen Garden!