Working the Garden

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Well, it seems the To-Do list never gets shorter; it even looks as if nothing gets done at all, but believe me – it does! Seems most of our time is spent leveling and raking mounds of soil and filling ruts left behind by the trackhoe, piling up sticks and logs (billions of them) left from all the fallen trees, and chucking rocks into the drainage ditch that surrounds our field. Where did all those rocks come from anyway? The field, the entire yard really, is starting to look much better. It would have taken the two of us years to do what F.E.M.A. did in only three days. Yes, there’s a mess to clean up, but it is do-able. Now, instead of years, we’re only looking at months.

Hubby got the bush mower repaired. Yay! It’s really an old, worn out riding mower that’s been on its last leg for the past 7 years. If he wasn’t’ such a handy mechanic, we’d have buried that thing a long time ago. Hubby also cut down a leaning poplar tree that stood right beside the garden shed, and he cut stumps from the areas we’ve already cleaned up so now mowing will be much easier. Maybe that old bush mower will make it through the season.   

This week I’ve cleaned up the cucurbits. The squash bugs had become so bad that I really had no choice but to get rid of all the plants. The cucumbers and summer squash were finished producing anyway but the pumpkins and winter squash really never stood a chance. It seems these Stink Bugs (or Sheild Bugs) have become more and more dense over the past two years. I tried capturing the adults and sqishing eggs earlier this season but just couldn’t stay ahead of them. I’m considering not planting any cucurbits at all next year. We’ll see. Anyway, now the cucurbit beds are nice and clean and planted with pintos.

When the pintos are 10-50% bloomed out I’ll cut them at the ground leaving the nitrogen packed roots behind. The beds will be covered with a thick layer of straw with the decomposing roots tucked comfortably away for the winter. Next February I’ll rake the straw back, shape the beds, add compost, set out strawberry plants, and then pull the straw back up onto the beds making sure to tuck the plants in nice and snug. That means next year I’ll have six 3’x50′ strawberry beds! The plan is to plant pintos among the strawberries each year and cut them to add nitrogen to the soil. Oh, the pinto plants make a nice addition of nitrogen to the compost pile too.

I planted a 5’x20′ bed of fall sweet corn and a 3’x50′ bed of turnip greens this week too. This may not sound like a lot of planting to some folks but when the beds are worked with a garden fork and seeds are planted on a close-space system, it can be quite a job. There’s a lot of food planted there! We’re biointensive so all the work done in our garden beds is done by hand. It’s just darn good excersice that this old girl needs.

Well, this is my off day which really means it’s my ‘work inside instead of outside’ day. I think I’ll stay inside all day except when Hubby needs help figuring out how much wire he needs to buy to set up a dog run – I’ve gotta hold the measuring tape or something. Oh, wait, that’s not on my list!

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