Two weeks ago, Ryan, Eika and I began to lay out the earthworks that will become the area where the rain water settles after it runs off the roof. These lower garden beds or sometimes called mulch pits are where I will plant the trees and the edible garden. When it rains the water will be channeled into these low spots and soak into my yard, watering the plants and staying in my lot instead of running into the street and the gutter.
We borrowed a roto tiller to loosen up the soil so we could dig it and move it around. The mulberry tree roots were close to the surface (they were getting water from the former lawn) and made tilling a challenge. The tiller jumped around a lot and had to be controlled. However, it really made digging much easier!
I wanted to be sure that I was creating the earthworks in the right size and location, so I had Ryan bring his Bunyip level, which is a tool made from clear hose used to measure the level of a piece of land over a distance.
Here’s a picture of Ryan and Erika using it to measure how much I needed to raise the soil level at the porch (where the soil had been eroded from rain runoff from the roof). I get about 200 gallons of water off the porch roof in a one-inch rain. I will use that water for the native shade tree I am planting to shade the front of the house from the morning sun. I am installing a brick patio at the base of the porch to help the water travel out to the tree and keep the soil in place.
Look at the great keyhole garden we created. See the path around it? The key hole design will allow me to reach into the garden to tend and harvest plants from all sides. Just above it in the photo where the hose is beginning to fill it with water, is another lowered bed for the future fruit trees. I will also plant some edibles around there as well. For now the mulberry tree will shade the new trees (to be planted in January) for at least the first year or so. Then I will trim back a large limb to bring in more sun and make room for the canopy of the fruit trees.
For now it is back to the sketch pad for me on what to do between the new brick patio and the side walk. The inspiration just hasn’t hit me yet – but I know it will. Plus I have lots of people to ask for their input.
Your feedback and ideas are always welcome. And if you ever want to come help me dig and design so you can learn how it’s done, just let me know!
Down 2 Earth Gardens.com