Garden for daycare: Help needed

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by lawnkingforever, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,280

    I was approached by the owner of my daughter's daycare about turning a small piece of land next to it into a garden. I will try to post pictures later in the week. The area is flat with alot of weeds. The problem is there is a small layer of gravel underneath all of the weeds. The weeds are no problem, as I can just run them down with my DR brushmower and blow the clippings over the hillside.
    My thinking was to then rototill the area to loosen up the gravel and the dirt. Then I was going to put the blade attachment on the DR and push the loose gravel and dirt over the hill. They are fine with me using the hillside for the debris. I was then going to use the rototiller again and add the top soil. Or should I scrap this idea and just create a raised bed out of railroad ties. My business is mostly mowing, so I would normally just turn down this type of work. But the lady is willing to knock big money off of my daycare costs if I can do this job. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    One thing about gardening... there is no debris...

    If you have a heavy soil and a thin layer of gravel, you can easily get away with leaving the gravel there and tilling it in for drainage... If it rocky sandy soil, definately get rid of it...

    The weeds should be mulched by the mower and tilled right into the soil, no matter what kind of soil it is... OM in tilled soil will break down quickly enough to not bother your plantings.

    I would plan on ammending at planting time and ammending, only the areas that the plants go into, as the plants go in...

    What kind of plants are you looking at and how large an area?
     
  3. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,280

    Thanks,

    Good to know I may be able to leave the gravel. Maybe 30X40 is the total area for the garden. The basic vegetables that grow well in this area: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash ect. She thought it would be a good activity for the kids this summer.
    Thanks for the help.
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    You could be able to upsell, the staking of tomatoes and even some of the vine crops... becuz it is vegetables, advise them to stay away from pre-m and broadleaf sprays, and more seriously the insecticides...

    Are your kids old enough to 'take charge' of the gardening situation? They may soon be paying you to have your kids come there... :)
     
  5. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,280

    That would be nice, but she is only 2 and a half. Our daycare is expensive. But with anything, you get what you pay for.
     
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    My grandson was working with me when he was 2 or 3 years old... but only with supervision...

    So at this point, I suppose all you can expect is reduced cost and special treatment...

    It is good that you have a daycare that even thinks along these lines. It is an encouraging situation, all the way around... :)
     
  7. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,280

    How many inches of topsoil do you feel would be enough? She also wants to do a pathway in the middle of the garden. Would you do pea gravel, mulch or something else for that? Last question what size rototiller should be used on a project like this?

    Sorry for more questions, thanks.
     
  8. 1flipflop

    1flipflop LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    hi you said 30 by 40 im not into veg gardening but id recomend a grass walkway that way you can charge something for up keep on that as well?? just a thought use turf grass(from seed designated to grow your area)to better your chance of survival on heavy traffic areas maybe some stepping stones for decor and functionality then a nice bench or 2 for the garden lovers to take a rest and enjoy the bounty view...:)ps i just tilled about a half acre lot for friend took three half hours in sandy florida soil {was} easy but it cost 52 dollars here rental for(half day rental)a self propelled tiller..makes it alot easier..The size your talking i used to have a mantis tiller (used to death but it paid for itself)that would worked fine for what you need they are light and goes good through finer type soils to compacted soils with ease..Depending the situations you may need rent mantis (some call them ladies tillers)if cheaper then rent it if you want self propelled they are heavy to load the one i rented recently had a 5.5 honda for powerif i had used the mantis would have taken lot longer.. so all in all i would say you could use a small tiller to get the job done just may take little extra time..also as your establishing your garden you run the small tiller between anrrower rows to keep the weed back and the airation aswell..enjoy
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  9. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,280

    Thanks Flipflop. My wife's aunt moved to St. Cloud. We were down in Florida last month. We ate at a Seafood buffet in Kissimmee, a tourist trap for sure, but the food was good. Winters would be sweet down there. Stander mowers are alot more popular down there as opposed to Pittsburgh. I test drove a couple while I was down there, my wife was not to happy with me looking at equipment while on vacation.
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    You would want to till as deep as you could go for vegetable garden. I use a full sized,rear tine tiller and pulverize the soil as deep as it would go.
    After it is tilled up, you can see what should be added to the soil... If it is not too heavy or too light, just dump a bunch of Compost on it and till it in for a final touch...

    The best pathways in the garden are straw or wood chips IMO. I dig a trench for the stuff which raises the bed next to it and put it in thick enough to stay above the dirt... This is the cleanest, driest and most comfortable to kneel down in and weed.

    BTW, if it is to light don't be afraid to add a high clay loam or vice versa, as long as whatever you chose has enough OM in it to mix well with a tiller... have fun... :)
     

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