Gabions and Google…

I was out in the yard over this last weekend – preparing the garden for a long winter’s nap.  One of the tasks I did was clean up the edible garden area and throw down some crop cover.  Do I sound like a serious gardener or what – with the crop cover talk and such?  Ha ha!  I really don’t know what I am doing, but I am willing to experiment.  I happened to be researching organic, edible gardening last year and came upon the whole crop cover thing.  Apparently, a crop cover helps replenish nutrients in the soil and prevents wind/water erosion.  That sounds good to me so I am giving it a go.  Below is before (cucumber and tomato plants) and after (my crop cover of annual rye seeds covered with compost) pictures.

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You might be thinking – what does crop cover have to do with gabions and google (the title of this post)?  Here it is – I was planting some crop cover in my edible garden

– the edible garden is bordered on one side by gabions

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 – the google map picture people captured me working on the gabions – Yes, the google map picture of our house features me working on gabions!

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What is a gabion, you ask?  It is simply a wire basket or cage filled with rocks.

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Where in the world did we ever come up with the idea of gabions, you wonder?  Ironically, our north side yard was started and finished with a baseball themed inspiration.  As you might have already seen, the pitcher’s mound and home plate were completed this last 4th of July. Two years ago we kicked off the north side yard project with the installation of gabions.  We first saw gabions in Arizona a few years ago at the Rockies spring training facility.  We needed a retaining wall in our front yard and had been discussing our options – we were looking to replace existing railroad ties.  We thought the gabions were really interesting – we decided we wanted some in our yard.

I talked with a couple of landscapers – most had never heard of gabions – the others weren’t willing to take on a gabion project.  So – I decided to do it myself.  It was a bit of a challenge to find a manufacturer of gabions, but I was finally able to procure a few from a company somewhere in the midwest.

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Put together gabions

Then, I had a bunch of riprap (granite rubble) delivered.  When all was said and done – I moved, stacked, organized, and reorganized several tons of rock – all by myself.  Neighbors and passerbyers wondered why I was out there day after day, hour after hour – stacking rocks by myself.  They all asked why Tad wasn’t helping (he was conveniently out of town).  They all felt a little sorry for me I think.  I may have felt a little sorry for myself – I moved a serious amount of rock.  Here I am again working on the gabions – all alone – captured by the google maps people – please note the giant pile of riprap.

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A lot of people don’t understand the wire basket thing and why we would like it – many have asked if the gabion gets removed at some point.  Nope, the gabion stays in place.  We like the mixture of metal and rock.  We think it is interesting.  It reminds us of Spring Training.  The granite riprap works with the big granite boulders we have along our front yard.  My rock stacking isn’t perfect but I think it turned out pretty darn good.

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