Well, it’s been a while since you last got the opportunity to read what I am writing. Sorry ’bout that. Have you missed me? Probably not, but I can live with that. But the real story is, can you live with me? Hmm, sorry to disappoint SO many, but I am already engaged in a “live in” situation, one that I am VERY happy with. So again I must disappoint. Now, on to the update.
When we “spoke” last, I was just getting started on my garden. I thought, after looking at the indigenous flora, that I was going to have some serious work ahead of me to get my soil, whipped into shape. Boy was I wrong. After getting the soil analysis back from Midwest Labs, I was very pleasantly surprised. I needed only a “little” NPK, along with some of the minor elements. So here’s what I did.
I tilled the garden area with a rear-tine rototiller, for the first and ONLY time, thank you very much. I then spread a “generous” amount of composted poultry litter that I then re-tilled, breaking up any chunks and going over areas I had not loosened completely the first go-round. I then built three 4′ x 16′ raised beds, along with several other free-standing raised beds. The free-standing beds are 2-3 feet wide and 8”+ tall.
After planting lots of stuff that I like to eat, such as tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, celery, onions, squash, climbing string beans …. okay, who am I kidding here? I REALLY don’t like string beans. They are just something that is easy to grow, there is NO shelling involved and they are easy to prepare. The fact that I planted them around the chicken yard should be indicative of the fact that if the chickens eat some/all of the damn things, I will be okay with that. Okay, back to the list. Climbing speckled butter beans, cucumbers, corn, hot banana peppers, bell peppers, jalapenos, strawberries, bok choi, broccoli, leaf lettuce, and of course some “herbs”. Enough said.
BTW, this is the “backup” manure source for our fertilizer company. :-)
After everything was up and growing, I was “finally” able to unload my dump trailer. Let me tell you something. Composted chicken $%#@*& is HEAVY, especially when it is wet! My dump trailer will actually carry WAY more than the hydraulics will dump. I had Anne on the controls of the lift while I had my tractor bucket under the front of the bed picking up. Everything was working as planned, until the battery leads over-heated, melting the insulation and then catching FIRE! Oh yeah, the heat was so great that the terminals actually MELTED, opening a hole INTO the battery. Fortunately, that is what JB Weld is for, so I was able to save the battery. The fire? I beat it out with a clump of grass. :-)
As a side note, wet chicken $%#@*& compost will NOT slide out of a dump trailer once it “sets up” in the bed. I wish I had a picture of what happened AFTER the battery caught fire, as that was actually more humorous than the fire. With the 16′ bed almost vertical, and with the chicken $%#@*& compost tenaciously adhering to the sides and bottom, I had the bright idea of leaning an extension ladder up inside the bed (with the back doors open of course) to allow me to get up to the $%#@&* stuck “up there” to begin the process of loosening it and digging it out with a shovel. However, there was one problem.
In order to do this I needed someone to stand on the bottom of the ladder. Hmm, who could I call upon for this odoriferous task? Anyone, anyone? Yes, you in the back. That is correct. Anne, will you please step to the front to accept your award for “Performance in a Comedy” above and beyond the call of duty! Thanks babe.
So, to set the scene. I’m balanced on the top of a 16′ extension ladder, digging $%#@&* from out of this trailer while my lovely assistant is standing “knee deep” in what I am loosening out of the trailer! What a sight that was. If only I had of had the video camera rolling. Anyway, back to the narrative.
So, with my trailer once again empty, I went to a local wood flooring mill to pick up a load of hardwood sawdust. This worked perfectly as a mulch for the garden. As you can see from the pics, everything is covered, except that plants that I WANT to grow, which makes for a nice, “clean” garden. Since I wanted to make certain I didn’t rob from Peter to pay Paul (cause the soil microbes to pull nitrogen out of the topsoil to allow them to digest the wood mulch), I applied a thin layer of poultry manure fertilizer on top of the ground. So far, everything is working just like I wanted it to.
This is stevia, ONE of the plants the FDA is/was at war with.
In the meantime, this is the field I am “out standing in”.
So, since pictures speak louder than words. Sorry, I can’t let that one slid. Pictures don’t speak, and typed words don’t either. When the hell do we get some of these sayings anyway? Ok, since pictures are more DISCIPTIVE than words (sometimes) I hope you can get a feel (another non-involved sense in this situation) for what my garden is like.
So, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know. I will either address them or loudly ignore them. :-)
Until next time…
This is last years celery, which is so strong I’m not sure I can even eat it. If this is what people that don’t like celery think it tastes like, then I completely understand why you don’t like it. BTW, I’ve been told it takes two years to really get celery established. I will let you know how it turns out.
Post Script: Just so you guys (and gals) think I started with some kind of “blessed” patch of ground, this is what the original garden site looked like. The ONLY saving grace to all of this is there is NO Bermuda Grass on this property. I have lots of Bahia, but thankfully no Bermuda. I do however have LOTS of dewberry plants along with a whole host of other weeds.