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A Garden Instead of a Driveway

This photo shows the packed dirt that
was lying just below the asphalt. It
also shows swales hacked out of that
hard packed dirt that have been
catching a lot of blessed rain for
soaking. I dug shallow trenches at
first, then John, who came by to advise
about planting, suggested curving
them. Making them larger and deeper
also holds much more water for the
good of the earth. There is a slight
slope to the driveway that allows the
water to drain toward the viewer, and downward toward the garage, half of
which – in the photo below – is my studio apartment and workshop, making useless the structure’s original intent.
The pick-up has a load of 50% topsoil +
50% organic from Cal Blend Soils
which is shoveled on top of the
newspaper which needed to be weighted
so the wind wouldn’t blow them away
before it was all laid down. Cal Bled
has a variety of soils and mulches that
are reasonably priced and of good
quality. I find that the mulches that the
city and other agencies provide for free
are littered with ground plastic and other
debris. The organics added to the blend I am unloading here contains ground egg shells and lumps of manure which only became visible after the rains washed away some soil on top. So. I’ll get another load after the sun evaporate moisture to lighten the load.
Two soaker hoses are attached to an
irrigation line in the upper right, just at
the lower right end of the ladder.
They’re connected to two adjustable
taps that I’m experimenting with so see
how long and how much water needs to
flow to fill the swales before setting the
timer. Luckily, after removing the lawn
all around the yard after buying the
house, the irrigation lines are still
conveniently available.
A load of worms I got from the net
was spread on top of the new soil, and they were in turn covered with a thin
layer of dirt. Shelly was keen on the worm idea. Luckily, all that was done
before all this rain started coming down. Alfalfa seeds are coming from
the net, and after seven or so weeks, the plants will be cut and turned into the
ground before they start seeding. With luck, I should be putting in things that
flower by June.
image: a garden instead of a drivewayThe two lines of asphalt through the garden
is to allow the pick-up to access the back of
the house (to the right of the photo) which
will be needed for backing up to load and
unload gear and materials for the larger part
of the property down below.
Hopefully, with another load of top soil, this
new garden will extend beyond the concrete
border that lined the driveway to the left.
Smaller pieces of asphalt will be used in
part to encircle oak trees on the property,
not necessary, of course, but very handy to
make use of a lot of ripped out asphalt. Larger pieces will be used for laying down on the foot paths that will be switch-backing down to the lower area.

Greg Marquez

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