This is how our space started out. Don't let the photo fool you, it's pretty large, 7.5' x 10'. And yes those are rocks, gazillions of them. They actually ended up being deeper than I originally thought. They were probably about 4" deep. And moving them included shoveling, scooping (the kids helped a little as you can see) and then pulling the undermat back with rocks still on top, to get them all out of the space. We estimate to have moved around 3,000 POUNDS of rocks.
This is Michael picking out the remaining stragglers. I actually did most of that part since he did all the shoveling, etc. (the heavy lifting). These first two photos were from Sunday and it was seemingly very hot. Probably only about 80, but we were in the direct sun for several hours, so it seemed much hotter than it really was.
Monday, we went to Home Depot and decided how we would 'wall it off'. We decided on 2x12's for economic reasons and we didn't need rock edges or anything because we're the only ones going to see it, so basically we just needed funcionality. The far edge is actually screwed into the posts for our fence, the side and the close edge are held in place by large garden stakes. Monday and Tuesday also brought us much cooler temperatures and mostly overcast skies, making for a much more pleasant working experience!
Then began the filling. This took much more fill than I anticipated and because we have no way to get a load of dirt (no truck) and it would also be very hard to get a wheelbarrow back there if we did have loose dirt (the other side of our house, where the gate is, looks just like the before of this garden project - TONS of rocks and that makes rolling a wheelbarrow very difficult) we bought the dirt by the bag - which is more expensive, but was really the only option we had. We bought a total of 40 bags of top soil and garden compost - coming to a grand total of just under 1300 POUNDS of dirt that Michael carried by the bag (2 at a time) from the driveway, all the way around the house to the back...... Yay for strong men!!! We also then backfilled around the edging with some of the rocks we moved out of the way, thus giving the edging stability on both sides.
And today while the kids were napping, I got out there and got everything in the ground. Here's what we have:
* Marigolds at both ends of every row (for bug repellant...)
* The row closest to the house is 3 varieties of tomatoes
* The next row is 2 jalapeno's and 2 strawberries
* The 3rd row is 1 green bell pepper, 1 cilantro and 2 empty spaces
*The last row (closest to the fence) is lettuce seed sown directly into the ground and a few seedling transplants from a pot I had already planted with lettuce.