Pit Garden Fill -- Backfill and Interior fill

Pit Garden Fill

Once the pit garden walls were done, we needed to fill in the earth back to the walls, backfill, and all also put fill into the greenhouse to bring up our growing surface and provide drainage in our cold sink / root cellar.   Pit Greenhouse fill comes in all shapes and sizes.  For the backfill we used the best fill we created when we excavated the hole.  Then for the inside I brought home a yard of gravel in the back of the truck, and we had 6 yards of good clean top soil delivered for the garden surface.

The cover photo for this post shows the front of the pit.  We used the tractor to fill the cold sink area with gravel.  You can also see that we excavated a bit out of the front so that the sun is going to be able to shine through the front window when it is low on the horizon.  (Discussed this in our design post)   Before backfilling we put 1″ rigid insulation between the wall and the fill.  Obviously this helps keep things warm in the greenhouse, but I also did this as our fill is really rocky, and I was concerned that some of the bigger rocks would damage the block walls.   Adding the insulation provided a cushioning protector for the walls.  Not sure it was necessary, but we had no issues with walls being damaged or moving as we filled.

Gravel filled and smoothed out. Notice the bracing 2x4's on the right. These ran to the far right wall. There was also bracing across the top of the cold sink this gravel fills. We braced to ensure that when we backfilled there was no chance the walls would move of the footing.

Gravel filled and smoothed out. Notice the bracing 2×4’s on the right. These ran to the far right wall. There was also bracing across the top of the cold sink this gravel fills. We braced to ensure that when we backfilled there was no chance the walls would move of the footing.

The dump truck delivering top soil. The soil had frozen to the bottom of the truck bed so we had to use our back hoe to pull it out!

The dump truck delivering top soil. The soil had frozen to the bottom of the truck bed so we had to use our back hoe to pull it out!

Adding fill to the garden surface. This was much easier after we had backfilled as we could drive the loader on the tractor right up to the edge and dump into the greenhouse.

Adding fill to the garden surface. This was much easier after we had backfilled as we could drive the loader on the tractor right up to the edge and dump into the greenhouse.

Finally we added the purchased clean top soil and smoothed out by hand. We'll add growing beds before planting, but roots can grow all the way down into this layer of dirt.

Finally we added the purchased clean top soil and smoothed out by hand. We’ll add growing beds before planting, but roots can grow all the way down into this layer of dirt.

Next up a door and stairs, then framing and roof.  At that point, a bit of interior improvements and we’ll be ready to plant!

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Andrew Blessing

Pit Garden Walls -- You have to keep the dirt out somehow!
Pit Garden Entry -- Sliding down a snowy embankment all winter just wasn't going to work...

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