The overall goal for the garden this year was to get a foundation laid to build upon and grow in the coming years. It has not necessarily looked like I thought it might, but it is coming together. There have been points where I was frustrated, pessimistic, and hard on myself, feeling as if I had no idea what I was doing. Then I would take a deep breath, look at the things which were working, and keep going. Now I see progress and potential.
- The strawberry plants are sending out runners, so I need to build two new planters for next year – one for June-bearing and one for ever-bearing.
- The second fig tree is thriving, producing some figs. I may try rooting some cuttings off of it for next year.
- My second garden turned out much better than the first I planted, which is what happens when you live in a warm area and make it a point to water more regularly.
- I found a source of free wood chips, have gathered up cardboard, and began forming two different planting areas.
Finding wood chips to use as mulch was my biggest accomplishment and money saver of a few hundred dollars. After laying down several layers of cardboard (found along curbs before trash day and outside businesses) to kill off the grass in a strip along the back fence, I have been able to dump multiple buckets and bins of wood chips on top.
To help keep the mulch in place I lined the backside with concrete blocks and the front with some wooded beams we had already here at the house. The plan is to use landscaping blocks to create a nicer looking boarder along the front where it is more visible.
The concrete blocks help keep the mulch away from the wood fence and from washing under it during a rain storm. After placing the blocks with the holes facing upward I have begun composting in place inside each square. Each day I gather the scraps from the kitchen, top them with shredded paper, then finally with a handful of wood chips. The chips are what help me keep track of which holes I have finished filling with greens and browns.
Once I get to the end I will start back at the beginning. In the spring I will use these squares to plant a border of flowers, herbs, climbing plants, and other vegetable plants. In this way I am making greater use of the space I have without taking away more of the grassy play area for the kids or adding to the area I need to weed.
While the cardboard and woodchips are free, minus the gas to get them, the blocks are not. With a bed measuring approximately 4 feet by 48 feet the number of blocks really begins to add up. A single concrete block or landscape edging block is not a high cost. 20-some concrete blocks and 75+ edging blocks add quickly in terms of cost!
When I was first considering what to do with our yard I also thought about the cost, future plans, and use of the areas. That is when I made the decision to take all of my earning from Swagbucks and use them to purchase as much of the materials as I could. In this way I would have a budget to work within as well as not overwhelming myself with the feeling that I needed to do it all right now.
After purchasing a rain barrel to help with a wet spot, I began buying blocks to build our garden bed, followed by blocks for the bed along the fence. In all I have been able to save over $300 on creating a new garden.
All throughout October you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash.
When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here’s how:
2. Earn 300 SB total before November 1st, 2018. You’ll get a 300 SB bonus for it!
3. That’s it. It’s super easy!
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