It was 40 degrees when I woke up this morning. By noon it was nearly 80. This is not a typical spring day in Wisconsin! Since it was so nice out, I thought I would start prepping the garden space for our new raised bed victory garden.

Last July, the garden looked like this:

See that “pile” of weeds, that’s the garden. I have my work cut out for me.

All winter I have been reading about raised bed gardening. For our victory garden, I decided to combine two similar methods of raised bed gardening. We will be constructing a raised bed garden out of cinder blocks and then will be using the square foot gardening method. The two books I consulted are Cinder Block Gardens by Lynn Gillespie and All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.

Before I can start constructing my garden however, I have to shape up the space:

Of course Leo was all ready and willing to help with stick removal.

I found lots of interesting things buried in the garden:

  • 22 small square red pavers
  • 8 green rectangle pavers
  • 6 large square pavers
  • many pieces of landscape timber
  • 3 tomato cages
  • 2 pieces of steel plate (price tags still on)
  • a small piece of plastic cheese (seems like it might have been a magnet)
  • a cup
  • half a coconut
  • black plastic edging (this stuff is everywhere around the yard)
  • a stack of decomposing newspapers
  • plastic chunks that looked like wood that were full of water (not sure what they were supposed to be for)

After curating my collection of stuff, I got busy snipping down the giant crop of invasive buckthorn trees. I started by getting them out of the chain link fence as best I could, but some of them will just have to be removed when I take out the garden fence to replace it with the new one because they are practically woven into it!

…and yes, buckthorn does have thorns. Which means I now have holes in yet another pair of work gloves!

At the end of the work day, I had several neat stacks of pavers, another can full of brush and then some, a sunburn (ouch!) and a much better looking garden space (though it is hard to tell from the photos)…

…and of course a thirsty dog.

It is supposed to be much colder tomorrow but for at least one day, we had a glimpse of summer. Hopefully the next time it gets that hot I will have the garden put together (and remember to wear sunscreen!)



  1. Your pics of the bush growing thru the fence remind me of our own adventures in gardening. We had some type of bush that we hated and it actually grew around the wire of the chain link. We had to just cut around the pieces and leave them attached to the fence. Good luck with your garden!

    • I have left many of the pieces of buckthorn stuck in the chain link fence. They are just too hard to get out! I figure someday when I am bored (when will that be?) I can try to get the rest of them out. Or maybe they will dry up over time and be easier to remove? I guess that’s what happens when you just let the yard go for 18 years like the previous owners of my house did! Takes a while to whip the place back into shape. Thanks for the well wishes!

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