I’m a stubborn gardener, digging my heels in the sand

An honest garden record had to portray the challenges (I won’t say failure) as well as the success of a growing endeavor. The new Bayville property has certainly been challenging. To clarify, we bought the house in December. I thought I would enjoy great fertility on this lot because only a few months ago it had been part of the surrounding woods. Google maps may still show a lush forest when you look up our address in the street view.


Now that I am working this land however, I assume the builder may have dug the basement and spread that subsoil evenly over the lot. If that did not happen, I must say that I am astounded at how nutrient deficient the ground is here.

Rather than buying top soil to amend the sandy yard, I’m stubbornly adding mulch and kitchen scraps and bunny rabbit manure and bedding to my garden beds to see if I can improve the soil using premature principles. I’ve planted comphrey and Bush beans and lupines around the blueberry bushes and fruit trees. I’ve added a few annual vegetables to those beds to fill in between the immature shrubs and create biomass that I can chop-and-drop as mulch at the end of the season. I’ve babied these plants since I put them out in May and now, mid-July, they have barely grown at all. They are certainly not thriving. I’ve even lost a few plants that just couldn’t abide by these conditions.

The raised vegetable bed I constructed in late winter is situated directly in the deep shade of the neighbor’s oak trees. This unfortunate position has made it so that even though this soil is well prepared and full of home made and municipality supplied compost, the 1 or 2 hours of sun per day does not support fruit or vegetable production.


I completed a new front yard raised bed in the beginning of July that has great sun exposure and filled it with logs from woods, topped with leaf litter and filled it with starts that have been stalled for 2 months from the original, shady raised bed.

This will work, but I have to be patient and realize that this yard is a marathon and not a sprint.

The pictures I took today are upsetting to me because of all the work I’ve done to help them grow using organic methods, but I’m posting them because in a couple of years, when the yard is lush and full, I’ll look back at the blank slate I started with and remember how hard it was to get things going.