Sunday, March 18, 2012

Planting A 4x4 In A Sea of English Ivy

This sunday Aaron and I  focused on getting our 4x4 garden put together.  We have an easement behind our property that we've been using for gardening for the past two years.  However, last year most of our crop got eaten by some wild animals, so this year we decided to move the garden in the fence.  

We are currently living with my parents, and they have a TON of english ivy in their yard.   I'll show you how we were able to plant right in the ivy, and without too much back breaking effort.  

First you will need to put together your frame for the 4x4.  We used two pieces of 2x8x8 wood, and cut each down to four feet.  Then we attached each corner with three 2.5" deck screws.  

Once you have your frame made, and in place you can use a rounded tip shovel to dig up the ivy.  I really needed my husband's strength and weight to get through this thick bed of ivy!  Normally I'm all about girl empowerment, and  'girls can do it too!', and we're just as strong as dudes, but I can't deny my weakness on this one.  Try to cut through the ivy around the perimeter of the 4x4, and try to turn some of the dirt into the ivy mess.  If you need to get down on your hands and knees, and with gloved hands pull the ivy out that works great to!

Now layer cardboard over the ivy.  We tucked the edges of the cardboard under the 4x4 frame.  Don't let any of the ivy poke through or show above the cardboard.  

One layer of cardboard should be sufficient.  Don't layer too much cardboard on top of the ivy though, because then whatever you plant in the 4x4 will have a really hard time growing their roots past the cardboard.  
 We also reinforced the corners with cardboard.  All we did was fold them to size, and rest them in place.  We were going to staple them into place, but I couldn't find the staple gun!

Now start filling with whatever dirt/compost mix you like to use.  We had a lot of containers with soil in them left from last year's container garden, so we used a lot of those to fill this.  Plus we had some bags of manure, soil, and perlite to add to the mixture.  We used a rake and shovel to mix it all together and level it out.  Be careful not to shovel through your cardboard, you don't want to create a hole the ivy could grow through.  

We're going to need to add more soil, but this is what it looks like right now.  You'll want the soil to fill right to the top of the wood, because over time the soil will compact down, and once you have plants in there you can't add more soil!

We finished the project off by adding a ton of water.  It kind of turned into this dirty soup mixture, but it'll dry out over time.  We'll probably be adding more soil to it sometime this week.    Maybe next weekend we'll be putting some seedlings in there!  Which by the way, all my paper pulp cups are working out wonderfully for our seedlings!  

Hope ya'll had a great weekend, happy DIYing, chris!