Sunday, June 1, 2014

On to the next job or "My Fault!"

We all know a homesteader's work is never done and, truth be told, most of us like it that way!  With the coop done and the chickens acting all happy, we finally got a start on the garden.  We have 22 raised beds (I think I may have said 23 in the past), a 20 x 40 foot plot, a 30 x 60 foot plot, and 6 field stone terrace beds.  Since I turned a blind eye to all of them to focus on the coop they all got away from me.  This weekend, after several hard and hot hours, we got 12 of the raised beds cleared and planted.  We also got two of the field stone terrace beds cleared and one of them planted.  The pics show what we got done and, somewhat embarrassingly, how far we have to go.
Half way there!  Hog panel tomato cages and compost pile to left.

Bottom two beds cleared.  Near one - Herbs, Far one - Strawberries
This whole things falls in the "Mark's gotta 'fess up to being stupid" category.  I figure if I had taken just one hour a few weeks ago to give the garden some 'love' with a hoe, I wouldn't have to deal with quackgrass, lambsquarter, pigweed, dandelions, 3 inch cottonwood trees (really!) and a host of other evil stuff I can't identify.

The bright side, if there is one, is that I'm learning I have a new favorite bed clearing tool:  My heavy duty, four tined potato fork!  This tool really shines on the beds that have a lot of quackgrass.  The fork reaches down far enough to loosen the soil around the plants and drag up the roots to where I can remove the plant; top, roots, runners and all.   It's also a great tool to mix in compost as I bring it into the bed.

A Real Quackgrass Slayer!
Lord willing, I'll have all the beds cleared and planted before Friday, and next weekend we can focus on the plots.  The beds have the tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, spinach, cabbage, onions, bush beans, peas, beets, peppers and eggplants.  We have "permanent' beds of asparagus, rhubarb and horseradish.  We also have separate stands of raspberries (near the garden) and blackberries (just into the woods behind the house), and a couple of mulberry trees.  We're thinking the 20 x 40 plot will get sweet corn this year, and the 30 x 60 one will get pole beans, 3 different kinds of squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, potatoes and sweet potatoes (if I can figure out to grow them - we've never tried before.).   The fieldstone terraces up next to the house get herbs and strawberries.

We feel so blessed to have open space in the country where can keep chickens, grow a big garden, and let the lawn go a little bit without cranky neighbors giving us the 'stink eye'.  Now if I can just keep on top of it all!

Col. 1:9-12,


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