I spent all of today putting in a raised garden bed in an untamed area on the south side of my house. Oregon summers are very cool, and I've had little success with heat-loving veggies in my small garden plot in my north yard. I can get grape tomatoes to do well, but not full-sized tomatoes or bell peppers. I think the soil stays too chilly for the roots of the heat-lovers. I'm hoping that on the south side of the house, the soil will get a lot of reflected heat and stay warmer.
This is the unappealing corner of the yard that I had to work with.
I hacked and hacked and trimmed and trimmed. I broke up some very, very hard top soil. I carted ten bags of soil, one bag of peat, and one bag of compost. And six hours later, I had my raised bed.
I also have a bunch of stuff to take to the dump. Lola supervised the entire project. She also helped out by eating the last of the ripe Marionberries that kept falling to the ground.
I saved two garter snakes during the course of the project. Both times I lifted up an old board and there was a little snake curled up, all sleepy. The first one was about eight inches long and the second only about four inches (at first I thought it was a worm, it was so small). They were both so drowsy I worried that they wouldn't wake up enough to get away from my dogs, so both times I grabbed them behind the head and re-homed them next to my pond, outside the fence. I know it's a snake-friendly area because this summer I kept surprising a garter snake swimming in the pond on warmer days.