Hard Work and Harvest: Frog Garden

Seeds and Bees has been on a general pause lately while its members work en masse on various projects. I’ll let all members weigh in on the hardy projects filling our time this summer (buying a farm, perhaps, Zuzana?), but I know for sure that much of our July over here was spent on the final stages of our garden–wheeling in 12 yards of organic soil and compost to cover our hugelkultur beds; putting up a big deer fence; and planting veggie starts (too late in the season to plant seeds for most of our veggies).

Awhile back I remember saying I would post pictures of the entire process. So here’s a photo diary of the creation of our garden, from start to finish.

As I look over it, I am struck not only by the amount of work that it took, but also by the fact that the initial photos are of a sweet, but never used, piece of wet woodland. The soil beneath the hugelkultur beds is so full of decomposed wood and compacted clay that the kids used the dirt to sculpt vases that turned rock-solid when dry. The addition of branches, straw, and soil has transformed the land into a sustainable space for a more diverse community of plants and insects. As the garden grows, I look forward to seeing evolve into a bee and flower haven. We dusted the ground with wildflower seeds yesterday, and the area surrounding the garden is always alight with birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and frogs checking on our progress. Our yard in general is full of such a variety of frogs this time of year that we unanimously decided to name our little piece of bounty Frog Garden.

So, without further ado, here’s our photo diary.

There was a great deal of sweat and salmonberry and sword fern removal:   DSC02816 DSC02780

…followed by moving a shed to provide more visibility to the garden from the house, and to bring in extra light (we used our XTerra and a rope and pulley system). This is stage two of the process–the final resting place of our shed is not documented here: DSC02783 DSC02782DSC02788DSC02784

Then we spent weeks dragging branches from the far-reaches of our yard and piling them high to even out the land:

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…followed by adding a thick layer of straw to aid in the heat and decomposition process, adding nutrient density to the soil for years to come:

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And then finally wheeling in 12 yards of organic fish compost and topsoil (not documented), amending it with organic fertilizer and Kombucha, and and adding a series of log borders and a deer fence:

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And raking the soil and gathering starts: zucchini, yellow squash, celery, kale, beets, lettuce, corn, green peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, rainbow chard, pumpkin, runner beans, sugar peas, tomatillos, cantaloupe, leeks, green onions, sage, dill, parsley, cilantro, several varieties of basil and mint, and rosemary:

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And finally planting…followed by artistic contributions by Cora and Brooks using pea gravel to create a main path and branches that mimic the form of a tree:

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Here it is a few weeks later. It’s thriving!

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