Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If you wondered what 800 pounds of dirt looked like...

With one season of gardening under our belt, we decided that we needed to expand our garden. Seriously, do we need a lawn at all?  Raised beds here we come.   If you ever wondered what 800 pounds of soil and compost looked like, well here it is.  I don't think I've ever bought so much dirt, I mean "soil" in my life!  When we got a composter as a present, I was so naive to think that it would create more compost than I needed in the garden.  hahahahaha, silly amateur gardener!  I still get annoyed buying so much soil, but what choice do we have?
We also bought 6 pieces of 2x6 untreated Douglas Fir lumber measuring 8 feet long so we could make 2 raised beds that are 4x8 feet.  Once we loaded all the lumber and 800 pounds of soil / compost into our car it was so heavy that the tires were lower!  I love our Honda Element, so many things can fit in it!
The hubs built these with all the wood we bought and he decided to put spikes or anchors on each corner of the raised bed.  It's not necessary to add these but he wanted to make sure that the bed won't move anywhere.
We removed all the grass and dug up all the rocks in the dirt.  Our backyard has a lot of rocks and glass.  Apparently the previous owners used to bury glass in our yard!  How annoying!
We wheelbarrowed all the rocks and glass away.
Then added the bags and bags of compost and soil.  We did a mix of both in each raised bed.  We're using composted manure, going organic all the way again.
It took twelve 40 pound bags to fill the 4x8 ft raised bed. 
We also had some of our compost ready from our compost bin. One compost bin only produced 2 five gallon buckets of rich compost. I was hoping it would produce more, but I guess it's better than nothing.
Look how rich our compost looks compared to the one we bought at the store!
I raked everything together so it was well mixed.

Here are the two raised beds finished.  We plan on putting in two more additional raised beds, a project for another day.


  1. Nice job! You will love gardening in the raised beds.

  2. Good job!

    I understand, this is what I had in my Element the other day.

    10 50 lb bags crimped oats
    1 50 lb bag crimped oats and molasses
    2 50 lb bags of Megabite Senor Horse Feed
    2 Bales US Alfafa
    1 50 lb bag Egg Layer Pellets

    And have been known to get more than this in it!

  3. Looks fantastic! Always fun making more space for the garden. It's usually cheaper to have a bulk load delivered and dumped for you though LOL! I'm sure your veggies will appreciate that lovely mix!

  4. Yeah!! Love you raised beds! Oh you're going to have so much fun next summer!!!!

    It is amazing how much soil goes into those beds! I spent a fortune last year getting my SFG set up! But I'll tell you... it's way better than yanking weeds all the time!

  5. Nothing more beautiful than a fresh new bed ready for planting. Congrats!

  6. Your Element is like my Chevy Traverse, lots of cargo space. It comes in handy for various things that's for sure. Those new beds look great! What are you going to be planting there? :)

  7. Wow I've never seen that much soil in plastic bags. I get mine by the truckload :) I agree, who needs a lawn? Your raised beds look fabulous!

  8. Looks awesome! Raised bed gardening is so much fun. We had dirt rows last year but nothing much grew. So, we switched to raised beds this year. It's much better. Do you know what you are going to plant?

  9. Nice! They look great all smooth and ready to plant.

    If it is only the two of you eating and your yard is on the small side, yep, you will not produce enough compost. But you can always increase your self built fertility with cover crops. Whenever I need to leave a bed empty for as long as a month or two, I plant a cover crop that then I either compost or turn directly into the ground. In my warmer climate I can do this in winter since my winter garden uses less space than my summer garden. It might be too cold in your area...

  10. Wow - what a lot of hard work but so worth it...less mowing and more food! Great beds and this post is a really good "how to" guide - thanks for that.

  11. It looks great. I just had a truck dump dirt at my house. I don't even know how much 5 cubic yards of dirt weighs, but I wouldn't have wanted to bring it home in our car, which is a Prius. I did bring the 2x6x8s home in it though. They barely fit in.

  12. They are lovely!!! You'll have so much fun this winter planning what to fill them with.

    Isn't it funny what you'll find in the ground once you start digging?!

    When we did the slope in my back yard, we found tons of little gin, whiskey, vodka bottles. I always thought it was the people behind us having parties and throwing bottles over the fence, but when we had our furnace replaced a few years ago, found a bunch of old bottles hidden in the crawlspace. Guess the previous owners of this house had some secrets!

  13. I'm learning so much reading your blog. I'm trying to decide if I want to add raised beds at some point. Learned a lot from this potst. It seems like a lot of work. I'm going to try row gardening this year. My yard used to be a pig pen, so I'm hoping everything will grow.


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