It seems like I have deserted the Big Project, but I have not. I've just been too tired at night to journal what's happening. So here's where we stand as of tonight:
Tuesday - bought and spread 10 bags of gravel. The "buying" part wasn't too bad, but by the time I loaded the sacks on a cart at the store and pushed them thru check-out, I had sense enough to ask for help loading them into my car! At home, I had to unload onto a garden cart and then dump the gravel into the box - not too hard actually, just lots of pounds of rocks!
Thursday - the plants arrived from Santa Fe! High Country Gardens is a class act. Everything arrived in excellent shape - via three day delivery. Nothing was dried out and there was zero damage to the plants. I watered everything and put all the plants in a shady spot to wait. I also picked up 16 bags of sand at the garden center. I was smart enough to get two carts this time, and again, I got help from the nice folks at the garden center loading the car.
Friday - spread the sand. At the right hand end of the box it's about two inches deep and at the left it's four inches. The plants that need the best drainage will go at the left of the box. Once the sand was spread, I started moving dirt from the compost pile. Remember the three wheelbarrow loads of "good" dirt I removed from the site? Well, that was a drop in the bucket to refilling the box. Remember, I built it up 15 inches at one end and six at the other. I am estimating that I have 75 cubic feet inside the box! After dinner [when it cooled off] I loaded more dirt for a total of 17 wheelbarrow-fuls and had the box about half filled.
Saturday - early this morning I started again on the dirt. Six more loads and the right compost pile was empty - actually I dug down about 8 inches below grade before hitting clay again. Fortunately, I had a Plan B. Under the left compost pile was another pile of dirt. I flipped the pile from left to right, moving all the loose and dry material over into the hole on the right side and started digging on the left. Many more loads and I finally filled the box. Unfortunately, I lost count of the loads this morning, but am guessing that it was a total of 35 or so. Remember that this are "girl loads". The only excitement of the morning was the discovery of a black snake in the dirt under the left compost pile. I dug into him and scared him way more than he scared me, so I gave him a few minutes of privacy to disappear. When I returned to digging, tho, I kept plenty of distance from that part of the pile and kept my feet well away from the shovel. Lesson in composting: there may be snakes in your pile. Chances are they are not dangerous, but keep an eye out!
This afternoon we did a bit more shopping for plants to fill the space. Orange had a great sale on perennials and I got five more that I had not planned on having. Tomorrow we will have the big reveal. Don't get too excited yet, tho. I am planting perennials, so I am planning for the future. It will look sparce for at least a year, and won't be gorgeous until two years from now.
What could be nicer than watching the seasons come and go in the garden. I hope to retire in about three years and spend more time just digging in the dirt. I'm not a professional gardener, but enjoy putting my hands in the dirt and seeing what happens.
For now, let's enjoy it together!