Remember when you were a little kid, running around by the local pool or maybe along a sidewalk and your parent said “Don’t run you’ll stub your toe!”? And what happened… sure enough you caught your toe on something as though they had put it there in anticipation of your running. It was more than that though, you fell, and the bi-product of that which you were NOT warned about is that you would also have a hundred tiny pieces of hard concrete surfacing imbedded into your hands. It stung like crazy, and it was THAT more than any other injury that would scare the crap out of you and send you flying to the closest adult.
This is how my hands feel right now, and I actually made the conscious decision to do it. The weather broke and my seeds are now little plants, looking at me expectantly like “Hey lady, we’re gonna be homeless in a few weeks if you don’t get your act together!”, so I rolled up my sleeves and my pant legs and grabbed my wheelbarrow and started. Now, instead of renting a roto-tiller I decided I wanted to create a raised bed garden with little paths in between so I could meander in a ladylike fashion through my garden, talking to the tomatoes and basil and oregano about how impressed they should be at my masterpiece. I didn’t think about the work involved because if I EVER thought about the finish line I’d never get past the starting line. I’m thinking about it now though!
Rather than buy a truckload of something for the pathways I decided to use materials on hand. As we are planning on updating our patio, we have several 2’x2′ concrete patio tiles as well as some retaining wall blocks we have lying around. As the tiles are as heavy as your average 3rd grader, I loaded 2 at a time into the wheelbarrow and began lining them up one behind the other. When moving heavy materials a wheelbarrow is a great idea… not using gloves is not such a good idea!
Thankfully due to their length, a little goes a long way. I am not finished, but it shouldn’t take very long before the path takes shape and it becomes obvious where my beds will sit. At the end of the tiles I plan to put my tomato plants, so I needed the path to also extend left and right. Instead of using one kind of tile throughout, some retaining wall tiles made a nice pattern when laid next to one another. These I also recommend moving with the use of gloves as not only do weight and texture play a factor, but also working against you is the drying effect of the material and the dust with which it will probably be covered.
Its taking shape and I couldn’t be happier as I sit here on the couch with my tub of hand lotion in one hand and a cold apple cider in the other. I’m beat and there’s a long way to go, but to have the garden of your dreams (or ANYTHING of your dreams for that matter) is all possible relative to the amount of work put into the goal. When I step out into the greenhouse tonight to visit my seedlings I will remind them of that, because with all of the effort I am putting forth for them, I expect them to keep up their end of the deal.