The Garden Thrives

Between morning showers and afternoon thunderstorms, some garden work has been done. Daughter provided a windfall of cardboard boxes. The upper edge of the west side and the north side were done one day. Then she appeared with more boxes and today I got about 2/3 of the east side done and dug the Creeping Charlie from the last third. The potatoes have sprouted nicely so I shoveled a new layer of soil over them. Planted and tied up 4 Tomatillos, and weeded the planted beds.

As soon as I came in to shower and start dinner prep, daughter showed up to return our trailer she had used to move her furniture back into her house now that all the repairs are completed, and she brought me more cardboard. There is enough to finish the job and have a good path around the perimeter of the garden covered and mulched to help keep down weeds. While I was out there today, I also strung the electric wire to make the top of the fence hot. The new battery has been in place charging for about a week. The bush beans have sprouted with some damage where the hens scratched when they last got in the garden. Some of the cucumbers have sprouted and so have some sunflowers, but I still don’t see corn. The peas have blooms, so soon there will be pods and fresh peas.

Yesterday we got some flowers from the nursery and I planted half barrels and also Zinneas, which my Dad loved, in the bed along the back of the garage. I need to get a couple bags of mulch to spread around them. We have a curbside pickup scheduled at Tractor Supply for dog food and coop bedding so I will add a couple bags of mulch to the order.

I started digging out the area to be terraced where the mint bed was. Every time I go out with a digging fork or shovel, I dig up so much mint root still in that area. I hope that if I keep at it, I will win that battle.

A Sewing Day

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A few weeks ago, I made 5 cloth masks, 2 for each of us and 1 for daughter as she has been doing grocery runs for us. This morning daughter initiated a text exchange and finally a phone call asking for a mask for her daughter so she can resume Taekwondo outdoor classes. They will be limiting the number of participants, spread out 10 feet apart, and must wear a mask. We ended up on the phone to determine style and size. While on the phone, her son asked for one too and we decided daughter needed a second one. I don’t have any fun fabrics, but do have two different gray fabrics and some ribbon that could be used as ties. The afternoon was spent cutting and sewing 5 more masks so they each have two for being out in public.

Hopefully this will help keep them safe as the state is allowing more and more activities to resume. We are still self isolating except for curbside pick up of some groceries and animal supplies. We will go through a drive through or curbside food delivery occasionally if we are out on one of the other errands.

Daughter set out today to get the remaining plant starts for the garden for her daughter that I helped with via emailed garden plans, instructions, and support. They wanted two Jalapenos plants in what they bought, but couldn’t find any. There are a couple of other places to try, but I may end up starting the seed for her which will slow them down some, but they will still get peppers before the season ends in the fall. They sent me a picture of granddaughter’s garden with plant seed up and starts planted. I wish I could have helped more with it, but pleased that I could provide guidance and planning.

Such a neat little garden and a great lesson for the 8 year old.

Two nights ago, when I went out to lock up the hens, 5 of them had apparently gone under the garden gate and again wrecked havoc. They dug up 3 of the tomatoes, trampled peas, scattered the hay from the aisles. I had to call for help to get them out, did repairs in the falling dark and finished the job yesterday morning. I finally got a new battery for one of my solar fence chargers, so I will be stringing electric wire to keep the deer and fence climbers out. The charger isn’t my preferred one, but I can’t get that one open to see what battery it needs. The back is screwed on with tiny star headed screws and I don’t have a star bit that small. I put a board across the opening under the gate, but I haven’t given the hens any free range time since. I guess I will have to expand their run and only free range them when they can be supervised. Several of them will go over the gate in the garden.

I really don’t want them in there now that the sunflowers and corn have been planted this evening in anticipation of 5 days of rain. In a week or two, the pole beans can be planted in there as well.

The blueberries have berries, the raspberries have flowers, and there are potato sprouts showing. The garden is now fully planted except for the pole beans, a second planting of bush beans in a few weeks, and some herbs that will be tucked between the tomatoes and peppers so that we can have dilly beans and pesto. The pumpkins are started in a flat and will be planted out when they have secondary leaves and I can see where the sunflowers are. The corn block is 4.5 feet by 13.5 feet. That should be a sufficient sized block to get some corn. If the electric will stop the raccoons.

The Garden is Prepped

Yesterday and today have been great days for the garden. Yesterday I took the scuffle hoe to the boxes to knock down the weeds beginning to sprout in them and I used the garden fork to clear the back aisle of weeds thinking I would plant the potatoes there. Then I moved back up to the area where the mint was and using the fork, dug everywhere a sprout of mint had emerged. I got a wheel barrow full of roots and sprouts, but I am winning.

This morning first thing, I took the cut potato pieces out and it took me about two heartbeats to realize that the area I cleared yesterday was much too rocky and compacted for potatoes. The 4 X 8 foot bed that had the failed wren nest in it was the next option. It turned up nicely and is adjacent to the area the mint was, so there is lots of good soil beside it that I can use to make the mounds as the potatoes sprout, so they were planted. The garlic, onions, and asparagus were weeded and a couple dozen dandelions dug. After lunch, I was determined to get the rest of the garden ready to plant and to move the “gate” opening down to the wood post so I can hang a real gate on it. That meant moving a T post and I remembered that I had loaned the T post pounder to my daughter. Instead of pounding in the post, I dug it in as it doesn’t carry a load. The aisle below my comfrey plants was extended down all the way to the south fence line. Two wheelbarrow loads of weeds were dug out of the area that will be the three sisters garden and the weeds dumped in the chicken run for them to scratch into compost. I got weed mat down on the south and west edges of the garden, but I ran out of energy before I got all the spoiled hay down. There is a wheelbarrow load of small rocks that need to be relocated, but the hay will have to be another day.

Before lunch
After an afternoon of weeding

There is a bit of fence moving to be done this week, but I need to get the post pounder back. The spoiled hay needs to be put down on the cardboard and weed mat. And I need to wait out a few chilly nights this week, but next weekend may be planting time for the garden. I still need to clean up the edges some, but I feel good about what was accomplished this weekend. During the war, folks were encouraged to grow Victory gardens. This year, my expanded efforts will be a “Pandemic” garden.