|Helpers who had trouble with the smell of the composted cow manure were prevalent!|
My niece, her children, and my husband and I built a no-till garden in her Cali back yard. She and I have been discussing doing this for years because a no-till garden was the perfect solution to her gardening dilemma of horrible hardpan soil in her back yard and her strong desire to garden. Gardening fits her in so many ways - her desire to grow sustainably and feed her family well, along with her profession which is botanist/environmental scientist. But, this was the first opportunity we've had to actually get our hands dirty together and get the job done. And, everyone got their hands dirty -- from the three year old to your's truly.
|The true no-till gardener is always perfectly accessorized!|
What I love about helping someone build a no-till bed -- especially one with back yard soil as lousy as Erika's -- is the way their opinion changes as the garden building process moves along. First comes puzzlement, because they don't quite get it but are willing to give it a try -- to final comprehension of the final result, mostly anyway. They always figured gardening was impossible given the quality of their particular soil, but now gardening it is a reality -- that's the best!
|Bone meal and blood meal go on the very expensive California alfalfa layer...|
|Getting the straw layer down...|
|Compressing the layers as we work helps...|
|Ta Da! Ready for planting and watching the garden grow and grow and grow.|
** I strongly recommend painting the cinder blocks, particularly on the bed-facing side, to create a moisture barrier. Use low/no VOC paint. If you don't seal the blocks this way, they will wick away the moisture from your garden.
Now, get out there and get your hands dirty!