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Mar 29, 2021

Garden Re-Hab Begins!


Garden Re-Hab Begins!
We had rain last week, pouring rain, 37 degrees. Yesterday it was 75, then a cold front came thru last night, coming in with 65 mph gusts, then back to 29 degrees this morning!  Nice to be able to have lots of fresh air when the weather's warmer! This last weekend we started our backyard garden rehab, here's a few things we will be doing. We will re-use/recycle as much as we can, as usual!  *Check newer posts for the photos of completed areas! *

Phase One- The west side of our backyard fence takes the brunt of bad weather coming in, as well as the large dogs of the renters who live behind us jumping on it. I could go on about the different people who've lived there, but the people are pretty nice right now. The dogs not so much. They're the kind of dogs that bark all day long on and on randomly. My fantasy was that the house would come on the market, Dave and I could buy it, and create a cohousing situation with one of our kids and family. Not to be and we don't have the money for that anyway. I digress! So Dave found three broken posts-


We didn't want the whole fence to collapse obviously, especially with dogs on one side and our chickens on the other, that would not be a good idea! 

Behind the coop

Previously when we had put posts in the ground we used gravel and then a layer the concrete. The problem was when the posts broke you have to dig out all the concrete. There's some nice post brackets you can buy now, about $20.00 each with the bolts-

It's a bit of an investment but once you put the post in the bracket and set it in concrete, you're done. Just level and brace until it's set up.  The advantages if the post itself ever breaks you simply unbolt,  pop out the post and add a new post into the bracket! No more busting out concrete. So we decided to invest in three and it works great! We did re-use the fence clips on the stringer boards, since they were fine-

I helped Dave cut the 4" x 4" to size and level the posts once they were in the hole. Once they were shored up Dave poured the concrete and let it sit overnight. Problem solved, nice solid fence again! So that was Phase 1. We saved the 6' old posts to shorten and use in a garden fence project.

Phase Two-  The raised bed, which is rotting and pretty unsightly. I found that I can grow the vegetables in another sunnier area. I looked out one day and I thought this is just an ugly view (see top picture too) to look at every single day-

Bamboo and 2 Boxwoods will be re-located here

Lots of hardscaping materials in the right corner 

Bear with me here I will get to the point of this. I was channel surfing one night and caught the last 15 minutes of a movie called Dare To Be Wild- 


I was fascinated by the story, really got hooked and so I bought the DVD used on eBay. I highly recommend this movie, if you love to grow things! It is based on the true story of Mary Reynolds, the youngest competitor in the British Chelsea Flower show. She created a totally natural design that looks like something in the Irish meadows in the forest. It was totally unlike anything anyone had done before there, she won first place!!! She became an international sensation and is now listed as one of the top 10 garden designers of all time. She has also moved into Permaculture work more recently. Lots of great interviews with her on Youtube. Here's her award winning design-

Celtic Sanctuary

After I watched the whole movie (which I absolutely loved), I got her book from the library. It's called The Gardening Awakening, Designs to Nurture Our Land & Ourselves (she's working on a second book) :

I looked at some of her designs and they're just amazing. Lots of curves. I flipped through the book one day and spotted this design and that was my Eureka moment!

With our square house, sitting in our square backyard, and the square fence a circular design would be perfect! We will modify it to fit the space with our hardscaping on hand. We have bricks, river stones, pavers and some Flagstone. Since we already had a pile of hardscaping leftover from various projects, and that we acquired for free, I thought we could do a nice semicircle. I decided to go ahead and grow different plants, flowers, an evergreen tree and herbs in this area, since it gets partly shade. Create some habitat for the birds and critters, something soothing. So basically we will remove the cold frame, add some hardscaping to create the curves. We also have two Boxwoods to be moved and a Bamboo-

Behind the maple tree

In the chicken shade area

In the sunny veggie area

We're going to plant the bamboo and the boxwoods between the maple tree and the spiral to fill in the space. I'm wanting to get some bamboo that's tall for privacy screen against our fence, but haven't found any yet (sold out) , I will keep looking. Taking out the cold frame soon to start the process! The sunny bamboo area will be to grow more veggies and food, better se of the space. More coming...

Phase Three- The Garden on the south side of the house which has been problematic-

Solarizing the soil over the winter to kill weeds

We've had some luck with green beans there, some with corn or squash, but very inconsistent- 

I thought the best use of the area might be for pollinators garden. I might have Dave build a little bench in there, a kind of a quiet place to go sit. Since it faces south I can do lots of  my new seeds of Rainbow Echinacea, Rainbow Zinnias, Rainbow Yarrow, Milkweed Also some Lavender, Poppies, Salvias, Dwarf Russian Sage (just found those!) maybe some sunflowers. It's a blank slate! Maybe add a birdbath. I want a nice naturalized, low maintenance area...

 Phase 4-  The chicken run/garden fencing, which is also rotting and falling apart. We used mostly recycled lumber last time, and we got quite a few years out of it. We'll re-use the posts Dave replaced, since we can cut them down. Dave found some wire panels we may buy. Slightly flexible and a nice, clean look. Maybe stock/hog panels. I'm hoping we can run cedar across the tops. Dave may build a new gate. I'd like a metal one that won't get chewed! We thought about relocating the coop to where the cold frame is, but lumber prices have gone way up. We decided not to go that route this year. The coop is in pretty good shape, but it does eat up some of our sunny garden area. Just one of those compromises you got to make. So we will start from scratch with tearing all of this out and re-doing it-

Sloppy chicken wire for my flying hens! Safety first

Note marks on gate on the left, squirrels chewing! 

Will add larger gate and remove boxwood

Girls had to come say hi!

Luna and Debbie


Rosie the matriarch, soon to be 7! 


Katie C. said...

I really, really would not plant bamboo. It’s invasive and almost impossible to control. Once it gets well rooted, you will never get rid of it.

Nancy In Boise said...

We've had good luck with using the clumping varieties and you can always plant in a box in the ground

Mama Pea said...

What a project you have planned! Love the idea of incorporating curves. In quilting they say if your quilted blocks or pieces contain straight sides and sharp points, you should do the quilting (whether by hand or machine) with curves and wavy lines to soften the look. You could say the same for landscaping designs! It will be fun to see your progress with these plans. I know you two will make it look fantastic.

Nancy In Boise said...

Thanks Mama! Will do it in stages and add more photos as we go on

Judy said...

Wow what an amazing project you have planned. Cant wait to see it come together. Love your chickens. I have seven. I hear you about the renters we had them same issues at last house. Three barking dogs all day long. Finally we packed up and moved to the country. Best decision we ever made. I look out my kitchen window now and all I see is field and horses. I believe my chickens are they loudest thing we hear now.

Nancy In Boise said...

Yes I hear you, wish we could move up to the mountains maybe when we retire. Ironically I've heard some people moving to the country also have problems with ATVs, drunks, blasting music, trespassing. Sounds like you found a perfect spot!

Niky | The House on Silverado said...

I loved reading all about your garden "adventures". :-) Plus the chickens!
I'd love it if you'd share at the Sundays on Silverado link party, which is open now!

Niky @ The House on Silverado

Judy said...

We did get lucky. We do see the odd mule or golf cart and that's neighbors dropping off baked goods. All farms here generations back. Everybody looks out for everyone. Been here 4 years now. The mountains sound wonderful. Hope you got there when you retire.

Nancy In Boise said...

Niky @ The House on Silverado please add a link and I will see if it's a good fit

Nancy In Boise said...

Just, sounds great! I love mules and burros :)

Leigh said...

Isn't it amazing how things wear down and out like they do? No way to stop that, but your plans are fantastic. I love how well thought out they are. The braces for the fence post are interesting! Not that Dan would buy them, but they look like a good idea.

Thanks for telling us about the book! So many interesting ways to apply her knowledge. I look forward to seeing what you do!

Nancy In Boise said...

Thanks Leigh, yes things were out especially sitting out in the weather! I found it's always good to make a plan but ours are also flexible. Yes her book is really great as well as the movie. The Book has lots and lots of design ideas.

Rain said...

Your girls are so cute. I love all of your plans for your backyard and garden Nancy...I look forward to seeing what you both will accomplish! It's very inspiring!

Nancy In Boise said...

Thanks Rain, my hens are pretty funny! Lots of personality!

freshvintagebylisas said...

Your project is going to be amazing! I agree those post brackets add years to an old fence. We used some on the side of our house and those posts are strong. Your girls are beautiful. What bred is Luna?
xo Lisa S

freshvintagebylisas said...

I thought I followed????
Well now I do :)
xo Lisa S

Nancy In Boise said...

Thanks Lisa for stopping by and glad you're following! I love all your post on your blog with all your cool recycled things that you do

Rachel said...

Maybe in a huge container?? I want to try bamboo too but don’t want it to take over

Nancy In Boise said...

She's a silver laced Wyandotte oh, thanks I like to have lots of different breeds of chickens to tell them apart

Nancy In Boise said...

Rachel, I hear you. We can't find what we want so we're going to use some hedge type shrubs

Nancy In Boise said...

Lisa - Luna is a Sliver Laced Wyandotte

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