We've been busy buying up all the plants that were being clearanced at some of the local nurseries. At least it feels like we have bought them all. I have been digging holes for days and days. But it is a great time of year to buy if your budget is small and you aren't too picky about the varieties you get!
To keep everyone abreast on what is growing here at Soggy Hollow House project, I created a customized google map with everything we have planted so far. This will be continually updated, and will have a permanent home on the master plan page of this website when we get it set up, but for now, I am debuting it here in a blurb.
The map below provides an interactive guide with all of our more permanent plantings. Click on the menu or on the individual icons, and an informational window will pop up showing the name of the plant, a photo of the species, and a link to a website where you can learn more about the particular plant. Included are perennials, fruit trees, vines and flowering shrubs (bee food). We will continuously update as our food forest (and landscape) grows! Switching out of satellite mode on the map will allow you to zoom in closer, but it then loses the landmarks.
Maybe if I get really ambitious I can do something like this with our vegetable garden next year!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Google needs to come take a new aerial. Apparently the previous tenants owned a lot of black cars.
okay, we built a mock-up of the rammed earth idea for our garden wall.
Basically you build a form, add some screened soil (see Easy 7 minute DIY soil screen) that has some bit of clay content and then you tamp down on the soil over and over again to pack in it real good and viola...
The woodgrain impression is from the old pallet wood planks we used as the sides for the formwork. We are going to take a steel brush to a portion of this mock-up just to see what that would look like. I'm pretty sure it will look just as nice but we will probably end up sticking with the woodgrain look.
Turns out the soil we dug up for the garden wall footings is perfect, we think. It felt like the right moisture content and stayed together when Erin squeezed a handful into a clump, just like the experts say. It compacted nicely in the formwork and I'm pretty sure it will weather well if we don't coat it with something. We could add portland cement as well but for our purposes we are going pure rammed EARTH, I can't wait to see how it weathers.
The picture above is right after the form was removed and below is 3 days later. You can see our gabion mock-up too but until the creek gravel dries this will have to suffice for what to look forward to. Just ignore the staples and thin boards, we are using those big gnarly staples you have to hammer in and the big rough dunnage pictured in moss garden enclosure.
The gabion will be the upper portion of the wall, remember the sketch from moss garden enclosure. The next question is do we paint the hardware cloth? I am leaning toward black or yellow but the galvanized look is really nice too. Not thrilled about the red so nix that and we are down to 3 choices. Erin wants to do a different color from 1 side of the wall to the other.
Call it an experiment like everything else we seem to do around here.
Erin and I found ourselves in need of a soil screen on the spot when we decided at the spur of the moment to mock up both a section of possible rammed earth garden wall and a section of gabion garden wall; see the blurb about enclosing the garden. This is a Tuesday evening after our full day of work, baby chasing, and schooling yet we were excited to see some progress on our latest Soggy Hollow House Project.
Well, we didn't get both mock-ups complete before dark but we did end up with a beautiful little rammed earth mock-up wall and a decent little much needed soil screen that took all of about 7 minutes for 2 people to build as a team; one team member cuts, screws, and assembles and one team member marks, snips, and Facebooks. Below is a list of materials we used for our screen and the steps it took to get our first batch of beautiful screened soil.
We were lucky, we had all the materials right under foot, literally. This is what the pile of soil screen building materials should look like.
Building the screen
Cut the wood to make up 2 equal sides and 2 other equal sides (4 sides total) and attach them at the corners to make a rectangular frame, it would probably work as a square too, you're call. It would be best if the soil screen was at least 6 inches wider than your wheelbarrow or whatever vessel you will be using to catch your screened soul, I mean soil. Our soil screen is roughly 24 inches wide by 14 long.
Lay the frame down on something solid and use as a template to cut your screening material, in our case the 1/2" square galvanized hardware cloth already mentioned.
Now staple the hardware cloth to the frame around the entire perimeter. I used lots of staples, probably one every inch and a half to two inches.
Turn frame and hardware cloth (now officially a soil screen) back over and lay across your wheelbarrow or vessel of choice.
Shovel some soil into the screen.
Shake the heck out of the screen by pulling and pushing back and forth not up and down but not to hard or the soil will jump over the sides rather than slipping through the screen.
Dump the stuff that didn't go through the screen somewhere other than in your vessel of screened soil.
And you now have some screened soil.
I have no idea what happened to the yellow Lego block.