|A page from my Projects Notebook|
I've been flat out gardening, both preparing ground to plant and building straw bale raised beds for planting in early spring when my ground is too soggy to touch without destroying the soil's structure. Next year I can get an early start in these raised beds.
Making a garden takes both brawn and brain. The brain work I do in a scribbler, laying out on paper what will work and what will not. I often have to rethink - and redraw - things; hence the red pen to clarify what is the intended information. Drawing to think is so helpful; I can see how things will (or won't) work.
The size of the straw bales determines the size of the cement block "wall" around them, so my plan could not be finalized until I'd laid out a set of bales and measured them. The walls need to be of a size to surround the bales and also of a size that I can easily make row covers to fit, which means no longer than 8 feet, so all side pieces can be made of standard 8-foot stock. Making their widths uniform (determined by the bales' length) means all covers can be used on any bed in this set. The covers can be for spring shelter from the cold, summer screening for bug protection, shading lettuces from too much sun, or late fall protection from the cold again.
These enclosures will contain the straw as it rots, keeping the paths as paths and marking clearly where to add more organic matter (leaves, seaweed, or straw). Later I can lay a second tier of blocks, or just 2" thick solid topper blocks, but this is enough for now. The blocks are set down without mortar so whoever comes after me can remove them if they wish - or I can change my mind if I so choose - doubtful after all the work of putting them in place!