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cynon767 06-05-2009 06:38 PM

Brickwork practice in garden
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So we're getting geared up to start our oven project, at last!

Over Memorial Day weekend, My brother-in-law and I poured concrete. Lots of it. It seemed like alot, anyway! :rolleyes: Now that it is poured, I'm taking a pause in the oven and redirecting efforts to the adjoining garden, with its raised brick beds. This should give me a bit of practice with masonry before starting the oven! :D

cynon767 06-05-2009 06:43 PM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
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As it's getting later and later in the year, and this project has taken longer to get off the ground than we hoped, I've shifted gears to the garden. I figure this way we can get something into the ground that will actually grow by fall, and by the time I get started on the oven I might actually know a thing or two about bricks! :D

cynon767 06-05-2009 06:47 PM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
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A few more shots of the yard... things are really moving now (in much the way glaciers can be said to be really moving)...

also, a picture of the little orange tree in the yard that I thought was nice.

cynon767 06-05-2009 07:01 PM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
Soon, those blocks on the straight side of the front bed will become the foundation for a bench, and the beds will be filled with dirt and planted. The Sacramento Valley is one of the worlds best tomato growing climates, so I'm looking forward to trying my hand at growing San Marzano tomatoes!

cynon767 06-05-2009 07:04 PM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
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Getting the hang of using the brickset to cut the angled corners on the rounded bed was a bit of a trick, but in the end wasn't too hard. The biggest difficulty came from the fact that I was using cored bricks, which had a tendency to split along the cell walls if I wasn't careful. With a bit of practice, though, I was able to get a relatively presentable (if rather rustic) angled corner.

cynon767 07-16-2009 10:26 AM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
After weeks of fighting a grueling war of attrition with the weeds and vines that have colonized our yard, we've decided to give the garden a pass for the summer and concentrate on making sure that the invaders are fully eradicated before proceeding on to enriching the soil with compost and planting a garden.

Someone decided, once upon a time, to make the yard lush with hanging vines and foliage, so they planted an unholy combination of Virginia creeper, trumpet vine, and ivy. It's like Day of the Triffids out there. We have been digging out the extensive network of roots, section by section, for a couple of months now. It's a tedious and arduous experiment in both patience and endurance. Find a new shoot of fast-growing vine, dig up the area and remove the roots, wait a couple of days until the next section of roots sends up shoots, repeat...

We were trying to do without toxic weed-killer, as this is intended to be a vegetable garden, but after researching this and working piecemeal for this long, we've become a little more flexible. Hence we're holding off on the garden. I've read that with vines this tenacious, even high-potency poisons have trouble, since the root networks are so extensive and store so much energy. Plus, some of the poisons used for brush control stay in the soil longer than plain glyphosate (roundup). So, following advice from some of the gardening forums, rather than get a more toxic spray, I got the glyphosate concentrate and simply brushed it onto the leaves and new growth of the vines. I am hoping that this combined strategy of chemical and conventional attack will lead to victory.

Until then, I've turned my construction attention back to the oven. The stand is almost finished, and when we do the concrete slab for the hearth, we'll do the bench along the center bed as well.

blacknoir 07-16-2009 11:06 AM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
Jamie, the garden is an awesome idea! How thick & wide did you make the cement foundation for the garden walls?

cynon767 07-16-2009 11:28 AM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
Following instructions from various gardening and masonry sites, I made the foundations about 8" deep and about 2" wider than the brick on each side, for about an 8"x8" trench, with lightweight rebar to keep the foundation stable under the brick.

Eventually, the beds will be filled with a compost/topsoil blend, mixed with the local dirt, which should provide a pretty fertile ground for the garden. They're about 18" deep, and with some vermiculite mixed in to maintain the loose consistency, should provide a great medium for vegetables.

blacknoir 07-16-2009 12:02 PM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden
Are you going to put a cap on the tops of the walls?

cynon767 07-16-2009 12:15 PM

Re: Brickwork practice in garden

Originally Posted by blacknoir (Post 59853)
Are you going to put a cap on the tops of the walls?

yes, definitely. I have not decided on brick yet; I have been hoping to find another deal like the one I got on the jumbo cored bricks I made the walls with. They were on clearance for $40 for the pallet of 400. 10 cents a brick? not gonna argue, even if I have to work a bit to make them fit!

Now if I can find something that either matches closely enough for a reasonable price, I'll use that; alternately, I'll look for a contrasting brick for visual effect.

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