Thursday, July 28, 2011

Backyard Garden - July 2011

I have wanted a backyard garden since I got to Botswana, but living in an apartment complex made that idea seem unattainable. Then, last month I moved and I have a large open yard. The garden project was back on.

I borrowed a few tools from a neighbor and then started digging. The top 1-2" are a fine sand and I moved that layer away with little effort. Then I hit the hard-packed dirt. The pickax seemingly bounced off with no effect. After several minutes of this and very little result, I got an idea. I filled two buckets with water, wet a portion of the dirt, and then waited for the water to soak in. The digging was a little easier and the dirt came up a few layers at a time.

Using this method, and with about 8 hours of work, I was able to get two rectangular holes dug. they are 10 feet long by 6 feet wide and are about 18 inches deep. then came the really fun part. I had visited a local chicken farm a few months ago to get some chicken manure. The soil here is very poor, consisting of mostly sand and rocks, and needs some additives for growing plants. I got 4 large bags of chicken manure, with each bag weighing around 50 pounds.

I put some soil back in the holes and then added chicken manure. After that, it was just a matter of adding a bit more soil at a time while mixing it with the manure.

It took three days of work and I have several large blisters on my hands, but everything is set to go. Now all I need is some vegetable plants. Time to see if I have a green thumb*.

*This will be a continuing series and I will post monthly updates and pictures