With our bees and apple trees on the way, I made the decision to order some raw materials for the back yard. I called my friends over at Kurtz Brothers and ordered several yards of playground mulch, Eco mulch, and Professional Blend top soil.
We need the top soil for the vegetable garden and our apple trees. I have some left over from construction of the house, but to assure our fruits and veggies get off to the best possible start, I’m buying fresh nutrient rich top soil. The write-up on pro blend states it is: A premium sandy loam blend, rich with organics, Professional Blend soil is the perfect choice for establishing lawns, landscape beds and general landscape construction projects. The additional sand content in this blend helps increase the workability and water drainage of the soil for stronger, healthier plants and lawns. I like that it comes with a pH level around 6 – 8 which should be perfect for my apple trees. I’m no expert, but this should give us a good start. I have plenty of uses for the left over topsoil I had from construction, namely I have several other beds to put in, in the back yard. Plus we have a lot of wild flower seeds to sow.
One note before I get into the other materials we ordered. I like that we have a lot of space near the house and driveway for raw materials. I have two piles, the aforementioned top soil from construction and we have a wood pile of logs and branches from clearing the land. I also figure I have room for the three piles of mulch and soil on order. Granted most of these piles will all be distributed this Spring, but it’s nice to have them all on hand at the same time, and not take up driveway space, and be able to spread the materials out at our leisure. With questionable weather, who knows when I’ll get to some of the materials. They can wait in storage (I’ll put some plastic, leftover from construction, over them) until I and the weather are ready. The soil is the most important though because regardless I need to get the apple trees in as soon as they show up.
Now, back to the materials I’ve ordered. I ordered a bunch of the same playground mulch we used around the swing set last year. We are going to use this mulch for our pathways in the backyard. Even at the end of last summer, with all the plant growth, the back yard was a big muddy mess. Someday the paths can be fancy gravel and well manicured beds but for now we just need to be able to navigate without getting completely muddy and tearing everything up. The paths will lead from the driveway, to the veggie garden, the swing set and ultimately the bee hives. Figure paths are about 3′ wide and I’ll lay down at least 2″….that’s about 400′ worth of pathways in one truckload.
Last but not least of our loads on order is the Eco mulch, which will be for the plant beds, primarily to clean up the existing beds, and maybe for a couple of the new ones. I can use the mulch around the apple trees and even the veggies if I’m so inclined. I think we’ll need to order more of both kinds of mulch but we can wait till later in the spring. A truck load of each should start us off fine.
Getting back to that pile of wood, once the weather gets warm, I’ll start picking through it. I’m not sure if anything is living in there, so I’ll be careful in case it’s some furry animal’s home. I’ll be looking for straight lengths of wood, about 4″ in diameter that I can use as fence posts for the veggie garden. I’ll cut six to eight foot lengths of branches. Then I will bury them about two to three feet into the ground. I could use pressure treated 4×4’s but pulling branches out of the pile 1) uses materials found on site which is free and eco-friendly 2) looks more rustic and farmy and 3) keeps pressure treated wood away from our veggies.
As I write all this though we’re under a Winter Storm Watch, expecting up to five inches of snow here, on the fourth day of spring. We’ve been able to get out and enjoy the sun and clear weather the last couple days, but presumably tomorrow we’ll wake to snow. I’m over it all really but alas I’m not in charge of the weather. I can only keep my fingers crossed that the snow will come and go quickly so I can get rolling in the yard. I set up my drafting table in my studio and it looks out over the back yard. I find myself day dreaming and imagining being out there working in the sun and soil. Soon enough. Just as well it snow, I have had
a little luck and landed a few jobs that require my attention indoors. I know once spring really gets here, it’ll be a struggle to stay out of the yard.