If You Build it- They will Grow

During the course of this pandemic, my husband had to go to the doctor’s office. The person in front of him in line was dismissed for having COVID-like symptoms, so out of abundance of caution, we decided to do a little “in home” quarantine since so many of us are high-risk. He felt fine but right at the end of his quarantine, he reported a sore throat– one of the tell-tale signs of the virus. Not knowing what exactly that meant, he remained quarantined until it subsided. So all in all, he was quarantined for quite a while.

When you live in a household with so many people, everyone is usually pretty busy. But there he was stuck in the basement with his mask for a good long time, with nothing to do but work and television. So, he decided to help with the gardening dream!

Last year, we had to have our retaining wall redone and so we had some leftover materials that were removed. They were lovely rocks and at that time we had decided it would be a great opportunity to do something with them. We decided collectively that a garden would be the perfect fit for our rocks. So my Dad and husband did quite a bit of research to build some raised beds for growing some vegetables.

We asked the consultant where the best location for a vegetable garden would be. He suggested that there was one location on our property that would be perfect because it received the most sunlight and was unobstructed by the shade of trees. So, the location was set.

My husband did (of course) need some useful tools to do this big project. First he needed a jackhammer to get the excess concrete off of the stones he was going to use. Then, he needed a trailer (a small one) for the back of our car to carry the stones from the garage to the garden site.

He had to start by digging out some of the earth and laying the foundation with the rocks and could only go up so high with the rocks. He removed a layer of the sod and my Dad repurposed that sod filling in patches in our grass that had died or needed some replenishing. Digging down into the clay soil turned out to be more backbreaking work than anticipated.

This did offer some opportunities for our children to socially distance and dig in the dirt and find a variety of little critters– earthworms, frogs, bugs– all kinds of delightful creatures. They were quite helpful and excited about the idea of building something!

But my husband did the physical parts of the job. He moved the stones from the garage and set them out in the grass, like a flat version of Stonehenge so that he could see all of their sizes and try to fit them together like a little puzzle. One of the hardest parts, according to him was finding the right fit of the stones so that it laid flat.

One of the primary concerns they faced was the fact that we have gophers all over our property. They are so cute and absolutely the worst– they can tunnel underground and we thought between the gophers, deer and turkeys that see regularly, our garden simply would not have a chance. After some thorough research they jointly decided to put a some ground cloth at the bottom of the garden along with some chicken wire to keep our unwanted critters. (I will point out that they were told this was not necessary but decided to do it anyway).

All in all, he built two stone raised beds that look fantastic, the stones match our house and I am, once again, impressed with the creativity this pandemic has inspired. Stay tuned to find out what happens next with the garden!

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