Sunday, July 1, 2018

It Ain't Pretty, But....

Hi Folks,

Yeah - I'm still not dead yet, but I'm a pretty lousy blogger!!  It's July and my last post was about winter!  What a looser!

Things here are mostly the same.  My health hasn't gotten better but it's not gotten much worse either, so that counts as a victory.  I'm still able to do almost anything I want, only in limited quantities and slower than I used to.  Still -  it's all pretty good.

We do have a garden this year.  Smaller than most years, but a little bigger than last year.  It sure ain't pretty, but it's growing like crazy.  That is not, of course, do to any ninja gardening skills or deep, dark, family gardening secrets.  It mostly due to the almost tropical weather we've had this spring.  Lots of rain, with local flooding in some areas, and higher than normal temperatures and humidity.  We're toward the end (I hope) of a string of days with 105 degree F heat indexes.  Great for the garden, not so great for gardeners.  Outdoor work gets done early mornings (on days off) and evenings (on day-job work days) and it's indoor work the rest of the time.

So the garden...  Last fall I had just enough energy to get the harvest in, but didn't get the usual post-harvest clean-up done.  That's kicking the can down the road, I know, but sometimes that has to be good enough.  In any case, before I could started on the spring work, I had to do last fall's work first.  The problem was that it was so wet, and for a short time flooded with an inch or so of water, I couldn't get into it when I needed to.  So when I could get to it, I started with this:

Sad, isn't it?  All that quackgrass!
We were able to do two things this year that made the job a lot easier.  First, I was able to buy a Mantis tiller from a friend at the day job.  I can easily lift it into the beds and it is a terror on quackgrass roots.  For guy with limited energy it was truly a God-send.  With the tiller we got the garden, in stages, to:

Ok, it's a start...

Looking a little better now!
Second, and a number of weeks into the process, we broke down a bought a heavy duty gas-powered weed wacker.  We have a battery powered one that is small enough De can use it, but it just wasn't up to the task by far.  I could almost hear the snickering mockery of the weeds as the battery wore down and the weeds grew taller.  With my heavy duty gas powered one, weeds get hacked off at ground level with no debate or discussion.  It's a beautiful thing!  With the new weed wacker, and some of the usual effort required to get a garden in we got to:

Starting to look like a garden!
Yesterday, with the hog-panel cages on everything it looked like:

Still not pretty, but I can live with it!

The lower garden area at work!
So I still need a long term mulch solution between the beds.  You can see the old feed sacks held down by garden staples in some of the pictures.  It works ok, but boy is it ugly and it consumes a lot of garden staples.  Leigh at Five Acres and a Dream had a great post about the mulching problem, and after seeing it all laid out I think I'm going to go with the feed sacks but cover them with wood chip mulch - after it cools down a bit.

Anyways, there it is - The Hoosier County Homestead garden, such as it is.  One other tidbit, mostly for your amusement.  Sumac is a constant battle here at the edges of any wooded area.  It's very invasive and keeping it at bay without a lot of chemicals is a constant battle.  De and I were recently gone for a week of vacation.  When we came back we discovered it had stormed hard enough to push the walls of the hoop house in far enough to dump some stuff that was sitting on sawhorses on one side on the ground and...

...  the sumac was trying to take over!  All this in about two weeks of growth.

All in all things are pretty good and, as usual, I know for certain I am blessed.

Col 1:9-12