Alchemy Garden Journal Entry 14: Planning the Front Garden Bed

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5/26/2020

With the raised garden bed and my pots set up, I decided to turn my attention to the eyesore of a patch in front of my fence. It’s been desolate for 3 years except for the two random plants awkwardly spaced on the right side of the plot.

Before the Renovation

I took some time off work so that I could finally remove the rocks, rip out the shrubs, and completely change the landscape. Using some gardening advice from Migardener and The Garden Channel (awesome channels that you should check out), I enriched the soil with some organic material. In my case, I used a combination of Black Kow Manure and Espoma Organic Land & Sea Gourmet Compost. I’m not sure just how tragic the soil in the ground is, so I tried to at least spread some high quality stuff on top of the patch.

Wish I had a shovel!

This was hard work, guys. After removing the cobblestones (I swear that was the worse part), I used a pickaxe to rip up the hard ground and tarp that was underneath the stones. It took me nearly 4 hours to tear the entire plot up, shear the foliage, dig up the old plants, remove as many roots as possible, and haul old rocks to the other side of the house.

Majority of rocks removed

It was unrealistic for me to remove every single stone, so I just removed as many as I could within reason. I just needed a space clear enough for my next set of plants.

I loosened up some more of the sandy soil, then smoothed an even layer of the compost and manure on top of the bed. It was pretty exciting to see worms, beetles, and pill bugs―all of which assured me that the soil, despite its sandiness and mustard color, was capable of housing life.

Fully composted and enriched!

I wanted this plot of soil to contain a combination of perennials, herbs, and annual flowers. Everything looks a bit short since the plants are all young, but I bought a Knock-Out rose bush to be the easy-to-care-for centerpiece. I surrounded it with geraniums, lantana, and terragon. Outside of that ring are pepperocini peppers, chives, and thyme.

In an effort to save my weak Genovese basil, I took it out of the Josephine Pot and placed it on the left hand side next to the thyme and the decorative stone. I was worried it might have a fungal infection, but since the marigolds and oregano it shared a pot with where fine, I’m assuming that its roommates grew quite a bit, leaving no space for the basil to flourish. I pruned off the sickly looking leaves and flower buds. Hopefully the roots will branch out.

Finished plot! Loving it!

Overall, despite my body being in wicked amounts of pain from the labor, it was extremely satisfying to see the transformation. I look forward to the growth in the coming months!

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