Chores

Putting the garden to bed

Here is what the garden looks like right now…

Bye bye beans

Bye bye beans

We stopped our plantings early in order to whip things into shape. The weeds were mighty this year, and rarely does Mother Nature cooperate in the spring to allow for proper bed prep (meaning spring showers mean little actual garden work).

We’ve a new design in mind for our raised beds and lots of hopes to make things better and more efficient for next year.

Tillage

Tillage

It’s fun to think about all these things…now it’s time to make it happen.

Stay tuned to see what develops!

Chores – last weekend of March

We had good weather and amazing help last weekend…so many thanks to our friends who came out and worked their butts off.

Task one – deer fencing taken down (going to flip it since some rodents have chewed a few holes…also plan to lay some plastic and mulch beneath the fence line to limit grass and weed access to the garden).

Deer fencing down

Deer fencing down

Deer fencing down

Deer fencing down

Task two: trim briars that have migrated in to the garden and fencing

Briars

Briars

Task three: weed whacking fence line

Weed whacking perimeter

Weed whacking perimeter

Task four: cardboard and straw mulch asparagus

Cardboard and mulch

Cardboard and mulch

Thanks everyone for an awesome day of work, food / drink and camaraderie! Go team!

All is quiet on the ridge

It has been a little while since our last post, but strong cold spells tend to put a halt to one’s outdoor efforts and ambitions.

So, while the ground is frozen and the temperatures fall…what is left to do for prepping a garden?

Planning.

Yes, this post is not at all exciting. There are no fun photos. Little actual activity. But this part of garden preparations is just as important as all the physical stuff.

Here is what is going on right now while we try to keep warm and snug inside…

1. Crop rotation. Being a visual person, I always have to sketch out what has been where and the next spot it can go. Crop rotation is an essential challenge. To help minimize accumulation of pests or depletion of soil nutrients, we try our best not to put crops from the same family in the same spot year after year. With our current setup, we should be able to perform a 4 year rotation, meaning, for instance, that it should take 4 years of moving around the garden before tomato plants make it back to the spot where we first planted them.

2. Crop plan. Once the crop rotations are smoothed out, the crop plan pretty much is developed. Another important component to developing this plan, however, is the results of the previous season. No need including something that we couldn’t grow well or that didn’t sell. All of that harvest and sales data was entered into a spreadsheet over the fall. For the tentative crop plan, again…I have to have a picture, so I map out the layout and where everything is supposed to be located in all the fields. Closely coupled with the crop plan is the seed starting schedule, the planting schedule and the succession plant. I feel pretty good about the seed starting schedule (though we will be testing a new growing area this year). The planting and succession calendars don’t always work out how I like. Still, it is always good to at least have a plan.

Snap shot

Snap shot

3. Seeds and supplies. Currently in the works are the season’s seeds and supplies orders. At this point in time, all of the information comes together to plan what we want to grow in the 2015 season. We have to consider all the seasons, all our successes and anything we want to experiment (there always has to be something new to try).

It is at this point that feedback is valuable and influential. So…with that in mind…

are there items you’d like to see us grow? Are there things we should stop growing?

What are your garden plans?

 

Sunny Sunday

It was a damp, dreary, rainy Saturday that kept us working inside.

But Sunday….a beautiful, crisp, sunny day that DEMANDED we be OUTside.

It was a productive Sunday of garden work. Yes, I know. What garden work? It is almost officially winter! We’ve already had killing frosts and snow! What in the world could there be left to do?

Well, only all the stuff I have YET to do.

So, the pepper plants that I finally pulled last weekend were finally hauled out of the garden yesterday.

The zinnias, long past their last blooms and gone to seed, were all pulled with the plants placed along our outer fence board (in hopes that there might be some self-seeding in our permanent flower border).

I am well passed the time for dispensing more cover crop seed :(, so two straw bales were man-handed (by this woman) into position for unrolling. Let the mulching begin! Winter garden goal = no bare earth exposed (woefully late on meeting this garden goal).

Of course, I had excellent help with the mulching…

Mulching crew

Mulching crew

And I thought that I was queen and conquerer of the straw bales…

Just TRY to get up here

Just TRY to get up here

I am MIGHT DOG - roar

I am MIGHTY DOG – roar

Spreading straw is fun…for puppies.

Stuffy nose, runny eyes and itchy everywhere later, we called it quits due to a social call and a wicked wind that had whipped up, threatening to thin my straw mulch and scatter it hither yon, and well beyond my control.

After lunch, we used the last of our daylight to do some landscaping around the house (much needed). And then decided we should catch our breath…by the fire pit…

Where's Franklin?

Where’s Franklin?

(Where’s Franklin? Well, he went to bed…cold and tired from a busy day, he buried deep under cover and was snoozing in the warm comfort of inside).

Hope you had a nice Sunday, too.