Garden · Life

Busy Times!

Boy o’ boy have we been busy! With so much going on I thought I would update you on some of the projects we have been working on.

We sent off a soil sample to the State Extension lab and received the results a few days later. Our soil is horrible less than ideal for growing vegetables. The pH was only 5.5 so they recommended 1,400 pounds of lime to raise the pH… Wait 1,400 pounds is just shy of ¾ of a TON, how in the world are we going to spread that much material out?!?! We ended up getting a tow-behind lawn spreader and filling it with one 50 pound bag at a time. We also followed the recommendation for 200 pounds of 10-30-10 and 100 of 0-46-0 fertilizers. {I told you our soil is horrible} It took the better part of a day to lay that all out over the 10,000 square foot garden. {Moral of this story: spend a few dollars and get your soil tested by your county extension office. It only cost us $9 for the test and $3.50 for shipping.}

slanted garden fence in progress
slanted garden fence in progress

The next big project is the garden fence. We have a lot of critters in the neighborhood but we think our biggest problem will be with deer, woodchucks and rabbits. We have opted for a the “magical” 45 degree slanted fence for around the garden, using 4′ woven wire on the bottom and several strands of high tension wire around the top. All of the wire is placed at a 45 degree angle out from the garden with the outer most wire being between 5′ and 6′ off of the ground. The idea is that deer can jump high {over 8′ feet} or over a long distance but they can’t do both. The woven wire around the bottom is to keep everyone else out. We hope to have most of the fence up by the end of the week. {Fun fact: our neighbors informed us, a few days ago, that they have been watching a black bear stroll through their yard on a regular basis.}

Hillbilly Garden Bedder
Hillbilly Garden Bedder

Last night we started working on a hiller or “garden bedder” to help form raised planting bed in the garden. It is basically a wooden funnel that gets pulled along behind the tiller and pushes the soil into a higher and narrower bed. This will help with drainage, warming the soil and gives the roots deeper worked soil to grow into. We will put together a full post on it if it works out. {Update: It works pretty well but could use some fine tuning the we don’t have time for right now.}

We picked up two, 300 gallon, IBC containers off of craigslist for garden irrigation. The only water source is at the house which is about 20′ vertical feet below the garden and about 350′ away. The plan is to use the well pump at the house to fill one of the containers, then using a secondary pump, push the water up to the garden and fill the other container. From there we would water the garden using a low pressure/gravity fed drip type irrigation system.

Apple blossoms
Apple Blossoms

The orchard is coming alive! The two little pear trees started to bloom last week. Two of the three apple trees are now in full bloom, and have survived a torrential downpour without loosing all of their blossoms! The third apple tree however… I have no idea what it’s doing, it still hasn’t pushed any buds. We are not really sure on the types of apples these are, so we can only hope that it is just a different variety and is a little slower coming on. The trees are due to be sprayed, again, with neem oil as soon as the petals drop, that should be later this week.

Part of the Integrated Pest Management Team
Part of the Integrated Pest Management Team taking a little break

The three barn cats came through their spay/neuter surgeries like champs. All three of them have happily returned back to their farm jobs as part of the Integrated Pest Management Team.

Now I think it’s time to get back to work, there is never a shortage of projects!

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