I always die laughing when I think of that scene in the show The Office (one of my favorites, by the way!) where Dwight is explaining to Jim about why manure is so important for growing food. I think of the scene in particular where Jim is staying at Dwight's B&B and helping out on the farm. (referring to the manure) "This is beet food. Mose, what are you doing? No, Mose. Put the manure down. Put it down! Do not throw it! Do not... Ow!" It is one of the most hysterical scenes I've ever seen (ok, you have to be homesteader/farmer to laugh I guess! lol). And then his other line "Those who can't farm, farm celery!" Dwight is a beet farmer, and this summer's massive success with tomatoes and basil made me giggle as I thought of his specialty with growing beets. This farm could definitely be a basil/tomato farm! My gosh, I do not know what is in this soil (ok, well I do, as we have strong sulfur water! LOL) but boy do the tomatoes and basil LOVE it! Our Genovese basil ended up growing over 3ft tall and we could not control it! It was insane!
Well, somehow we ended up with about 150 tomato plants from our son's senior sustainability growing project, and planted a large amount of them on the hillside. They did really well with the basil (tomato's best friend), beans and herbs planted around them. Very strong, sturdy little seedlings that really thrived in Tennessee soil and our manure (compliments of our chickens and Nigerian Dwarf goats who are always happy to provide an excess of it! LOL).
This was a fun, but exhausting project for me and my drill! I was able to get alaskan cedar for a fraction of the price of regular cedar and although it smelled funny, I don't think the plants will mind at all! We will see how these 16 beds hold up over the summer with the crazy storms and resulting flooding that passes through.
Thankfully I was able to find a wonderful deal on cedar lumber in middle Tennessee, and be able to design the central part of our Main Farm Garden! Each bed is made with industrial grade cedar boards that when assembled form sixteen 4x8 garden beds with a 10" height. The bottoms are lined with manured goat shavings, and we ordered 15 yards of Holy Cow garden compost to fill the rest! I am LOVING my new Craftsman drill from Lowe's and putting these beds together (over 300 screws) was a piece of cake! There are gaps on the sides, but since the bottom manured layer has hay in there as well from the goats, I'm going to give it a try and pray it doesn't wash out of the sides. A lot of trial and error in permaculture - the only way to learn! I'd rather try that though than custom cut all those side pieces, which is both wasteful and a pain in the rear! Our wonderful neighbor came and helped me cut the 4x4's in half that secure the top frame to the bottom board, and I will be getting a Ryobi miter saw so that moving forward I can do that as well! I have built three greenhouse benches, and using a hand saw is just NOT going to cut it (no pun intended!) anymore! Going to Lowe's and adding on to my tool collection is my kind of outing! LOL. More soon!!