Tuesday, 30 April 2013

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR ITALIAN VEGETABLE GARDEN

In a true Italian fashion, I have to have a vegetable garden. Growing up Italian meant that you didn't buy your fruits and vegetables at Commisso's or No Frills in the summer....that would be ONE OF THE GREATEST ITALIAN SINS! Everyone, if you were a TRUE ITALIAN had or has a vegetable garden, and some fruit trees in their backyards. Keep in mind, you need an apple tree, a pear tree, a cherry tree, and yes a plum tree....I failed at this task...no fruit trees for me!

Growing up, I envied my english friends....they had inground or above ground pools, ornate swing sets, complete with monkey bars and teeter totters, and some had trampolines.  But me, I had the vegetable garden.  My leverage, I could offer them a fresh tomato or cucumber to entice them to play in my backyard.

Alas, we warp speed ahead...46 years later...I now am the proud owner of my own vegetable garden.  But with said ownership, comes ALOT OF WORK!  Mamma and Pappa didn't really share that part with us...they were out there every night, weeding, watering, tending to the fruit of their labours.....INFORMATION THAT I COULD HAVE USED!  Because, like an addictive drug, the Italian Garden, lures you in....the idea of fresh tomatoe sauce, cucumber salad, beans that only come from the seeds imported from Italy 50 years ago....oh, my...how could we relinquish this tradition....WE CAN'T. The Italian Garden calls to you like a street walker calls out to the man walking down the street, like candy calls out to the fat lady, like catnip calls out to the kitty cats, like crack cocaine...the Italian Garden is an addiction that is very hard to resist.

So now, I find myself needing to repair the exterior barrier wall to the inevitable garden of love.  This past weekend, old lumber was pulled out, dirt was dug, and engineering was done!  Check below to see how our project "THE ITALIAN GARDEN REPAIR" went.

First you need to buy fresh railroad ties...lengths depend on your dimensions...luckily my garden is
8'x8'.  We built our walls 3 tiers on each side, so we purchased 12 posts in total.

You will also require 2' rebar to anchor the lumber into the ground and secure it so they don't move.
Next step is to remove the old railroad ties (if you have them) from your garden.  Hence, the rot!

 Not too rotted!


You are going to want to move the dirt to the middle of the garden so you can dig a ditch to place your first railroad tie onto the ground.
 

You are going to drill into each piece two holes, one at each end, the same width as the rebar, perhaps a slightly smaller.  Remember to make your holes at least 12" inward from each side to make sure to have enough enforcement.
  Then you are going to pound the rebar into the ground about 15 inches deep. Once all pieces are in, you slide each tie over the rebar.  If you look at the pic below, you will see the rebar sticking up enough to accommodate the width of 3 pieces of lumber


First layer done!



Second Layer Done!

 Third Layer Done!

All done and secured...those ties are not going to go anywhere...and best part NO NAILS REQUIRED.  Drilling the lumber prevents splitting.  Nails eventually will cause the lumber to split lengthwise and seen in my old lumber pieces.

Last step is to flatten the dirt and make it even!

 
This project was really well constructed and executed. Now all that's left to do is to add manure and peat moss to the garden to ensure the soil is enriched nutrients to yield a great ITALIAN VEGETABLE GARDEN!
 
I hope you enjoyed this blog.  A special THANK YOU goes out to my boyfriend, Brian Kita for an amazing job.  He is not Italian, he does have the genes of a POLISH man....but he rocked this out like any old Italian would! Now he has the lovely task of toiling the soil! Yeah, that will be his on his May "honey do" list...
 
Thank you for reading my humble blog!
 
Ciao for now and happy gardening!
 
xxxx