Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Catching up in the garden

The weather finally gave me a break and things have started progressing in the garden again.  The succession planting of carrots, and spinach got started last week.  Later than I wanted but that's what the weather and life dictated.  They are in the two boxes with the floating row cover.  I made a mistake last fall and planted garlic in some of my prime planting space in the kitchen garden.  I had a lot to plant, it was time, and the space was ready.  Now I'm having to rearrange things so that I can fit the rest of the kitchen garden crops in.  The first job was getting a space ready for the tomatoes.  To do that I had to relocate 4 big clumps of horseradish.  It needed to be moved anyway, so that was a good thing. Once the horseradish was moved I scraped the deep mulch off the area so I could make beds for the tomatoes.  The deep mulch is doing wonders for the soil.  Every scoop I moved was filled with tons of earthworms.

Once the mulch was off I formed up two beds and returned the mulch to the path areas between the beds.

Then it was time to get the trellising in place.  I use 3 trimmed down 2x4s as the vertical supports and one long 2x4 along the top to hold the twine.  I run a heave wire between the vertical supports about 6 inches above the ground to provide a lower anchor point for the twine.  When the tomatoes start growing I prune them and train them up the twine.  Since I grow indeterminate varieties they usually grow over the top to the trellis.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the trellising all installed this morning before I had to go to work.   I'll finish in the next day or so and post pictures of the result.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Springtime in the garden

Springtime in Ohio.  Gardening is on hold for the day.  Stay warm.

Monday, March 19, 2018

In defense of weeds....

So, after taking a bit of a break because of weather and family/scout stuff, I'm back.  And I'm going to jump off the edge and say nice things about my second most hated thing.  I've sworn off politics so my MOST hated thing won't enter the conversation, but I will be singing the praises of Crabgrass, Digitaria Haller.  Yep, that thing we hate almost as much as we hate the Donald.  (Ooops, sorry.)

Here's what happened.  A few years ago we built a bank along the driveway and planted some fur and blue spruce trees to provide a barrier from the road.  We also planted a row of our favorite rosa rugosa.  Everything settled in and started to grow.  The next step was to control the grass and weeds on the downhill side.  This is where my favorite thing (mulch) comes into play.  We mulched with old carpet, grass clippings, and wood chips.  That seemed to control everything except the crabgrass.  Last year I worked on pulling out crabgrass on a good portion of the hill, but I didn't get it all.  This year, late winter rain flooded the whole site, and I saw some interesting results.  Take a look.
mulch washed away from the rain

mulch and soil held in place by the extensive mat of crabgrass roots

I still hate crabgrass (almost as much as he who will not be named...) but it seems that it evolved to do a job, and it does it well.  When we rip it out we need to fill the void with something that does the same job, or it will just come back.  (There may be a political lesson here...)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Learning New Stuff - Soil texture test results

So I did the test per the directions, proper measurements, the proper amount of salt, shake twice daily for three days.  Here's the results.  It's very hard to see.

At the bottom of the jar there is a 1 cm layer of very fine sand.  You cant really see it in the picture but there is a more grainy texture to that part.  Above that there is about 2 cm of silt.  Very fine. No pore space.  On top there is about a 1 ml layer of clay.  I guess I have loam, but the sand component is very fine, and the clay is almost non-existant.  There was a small amount of small stone that was screened out before it was added to the jar, but it wouldn't have changed the measurement much.


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