Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stone settled

I have always liked the tidy look of raised beds. I don't really need them here, as the soil is pretty good and fairly easy to work, but even so, it seems like I've hankered for one for the farm ever since I first thought to plant a veggie in the ground. And now that it looks like I plan to stick with this business of backyard crop raising, I thought this winter downtime would be a good time to put one in.

I decided to use stone, since it feels permanent and solid. Wood is nice and probably would work just as well, but stone speaks of commitment.

I bought it in three separate trips to the nursery/stone yard, filling the back of the wagon with ~350 pounds of rock on each go-round. On the third trip, the guy taking my money said, "Building a raised bed, are you?"

Well, it turned out not to be so raised, which is fine. As I said, I don't really need it to amend the soil, nor, thankfully, have I gotten so creaky yet that I find it uncomfortable to kneel in the garden. But I've realized that it is not really these things that I am after, but that sense of orderliness that a solid border brings to what can be a disorderly world. It feels permanent and settled. It says I plan to be here for awhile, growing things.

I set it all yesterday--over a 1000 pounds of rock--carrying, digging, and shoving my way to a pleasant fatigue.

And at the end of the day, I thought it looked pretty good:

I had to build it around the cold frame, but that will be moved to another spot once the carrots are harvested. Once that's done, I'll spread the remainder of the composted soil across the bed. Come spring I'll scratch some buffalo grass/blue grama seed in the paths that border the bed. I think that the contrast between the softness of the prairie grasses and crisp edges of the limestone will be very pleasing.


  1. I like that stone. I like that stone. I'm trying to figure out how to accommodate a vegetable growing area. Seeing yours helps. Thanks.

  2. Good morning, James! The stone is beautiful, isn't it?

  3. I do like raised beds - it must satisfy some craving for tidiness or perhaps I feel the vegetables gain extra protection from their little wall (lol)

  4. It is very pleasing already. Exactly my type of bed!

  5. Hi Susan, lovely and neat and giving order to the universe. I love it too. What nice chunks of stone too. Hope you didn't overdo it, my back is twitching a little at your descriptions. :-)

  6. Lovely Susan - I do know what you mean about a sense of order - I have that too in my kitchen garden - so when the rest of the garden it rioting - there is somewhere with a semblance of calm

  7. NICE stone! Did you do this bed just recently? Green in December? BTW--just got my issue of Istope. Though I've not had time to read it, I know four people! You, John Janovy, Tom Lynch, and Daryl Farmer. What a group!

  8. It looks way better than "pretty good" - beautiful. I can't wait for pictures of it offset with the grasses, full of good things to eat.

  9. Love the stone bed. I don't think I've ever seen one before! Man, you must be one strong human. A thousand pounds, hauled yourself? I would be a jellied wreck! Congrats, it's beautiful.

  10. EzG--I think it is totally the tidiness thing. Though I like the mental image of veggies feeling snug behind their wall. ;-)


    Frances--no back problems to speak of from moving the stone--I very careful when I do that. I tend to throw my back out doing silly things like lifting laundry baskets. LOL!

    Karen--there is something about a kitchen garden that seems to want order. I wonder what that's about?

    Benjamin--green in December indeed!

  11. Micelle--I can't wait to see what it looks like, either!

    Karen--not especially strong--just a clever rock worker. I use lots of leverage. ;-)

  12. Oh, I love it. We'll be using stone again this spring around my "pea garden"--basically a no dig bed dedicated to peas. The stone against the soil is just so lovely.

    I tried it around our raised bed form--to hide the plastic, but a snake took up residence! Much better to have just stone and soil... less room that way for "inhabitants". lol.

  13. I love it! You need to come over to my yard and help me do something similar:) I seriously screwed up my neck and lower back doing similar things for quite a long period a few years ago. I am limited to what I can do now...and I SOOO want to get out there and dig and move rocks, etc. Perhaps I can get my husband to help me this year...or, as I said, you can come and work your magic?!!! Anyway, your garden looks terrific and it will be interesting to watch it evolve!! Jan

  14. That looks great, Susan. Is this the brown Llano stone? It's lovely. I like that orderly look too for a vegetable garden.

  15. Gorgeous. And I am most impressed by your ability to get it done by yourself!


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