Sunday, August 8, 2010

Early Morning Work in the Garden

I had in mind to turn the buckwheat under in both new beds this morning, but it took a hard hour to do the first one, so I'm afraid the other will need to wait until Tuesday morning.  It has grown a bit more slowly than this one, anyway.  There wasn't a sign of living grass or weed roots here, which was nice to see.  The soil didn't turn deeply -- I'd forgotten how rocky it is and how impossible it is to get a shovel into. I used the garden fork and most of the time ended up pulling the top greenery off, lifting the clump of soil out, stuffing the greenery into the hole and then putting the clod upside down on top, and breaking it up.  Lots of work.  Satisfying, but work nonetheless.

One of the 'old' raised beds after I dug out a bunch of soil to go on top of the greenery in the new bed.  I wanted to do this partly to add bulk to the new bed,  but mostly to make room in this one for lots of amendments.  For some reason, this bed has never seemed as fertile as the other one.  That doesn't make sense, because they were created of the same materials in the same percentages, but things just tended not to thrive in this one.  There must be lots of microbial activity, however, because not a trace remained of the buckwheat that I turned under in this bed last week.  On the good side -- this soil is wonderful to work with!  It's never been walked on, so isn't compacted, and is beautifully crumbly and loose.  

Before I transferred the soil, I seeded the turned clods with a good bit of dried molasses -- can't have too much of it, and I want to get those microbes working.  This is the bed after the soil transfer.

The finished product -- for now, anyway. I moved all the grass clippings from the compost bins back to these beds.  Two big bags full went into this bed, then I topped it with a bucketful of almost-ready compost from the old compost bin and watered it all in.  The clippings were hot and so was the compost, so this should help decompose the buckwheat.  There are two more bags full waiting to go into the other bed. I didn't think to ask James to dump them here in the first place -- but I will do so next time.

James, in all his wisdom (or lack thereof) didn't remove the chicken wire cover of the old compost pile before he piled the clippings into it.  He can't say he didn't know it was there, because it's always been there and he's always removed it.  Didn't matter in this case, since I wanted to move it all anyway, but it's indicative of the work he's been doing lately.  I don't think he's going to be working for me much more.  I can buy a lawnmower for next season and do it myself -- for what I've paid him this summer I could get a really good one.  He hasn't finished under the house, either, although he was paid for the whole job since there was only a little to go.  Friday night he said he'd do it 'tomorrow', which was yesterday and I'm still waiting.

But, back to the garden.  I put a bag of clippings into that old bed, to continue adding to that soil.  One of these days, I'll get all that black plastic up, but not anytime soon.

All this work took one hour (to turn the bed) and 45 minutes (to add the amendments).  All was finished by 8:15am before the sun broke over the trees.  I think that qualifies as enough exercise for today, so I'm going to tend to indoor work like laundry.  I left my reading glasses at work, which is very frustrating when I'm trying to find something to do with my day!

And, speaking of spoiled, I mixed up some food for my kitten last night, using a recipe off the website of my organic guru The Dirt Doctor.  Fifty percent meat, 25 percent grain, 25 percent steamed veggies, and 2 percent diatomaceous earth.  In this case, I used lean, natural, hormone-free grass-fed ground beef, brown rice, steamed carrots and squash, and judging from the reaction this morning, this makes eating veggies easy.  I used some plastic egg containers as a mold for freezing, popped them out and stored them in a container. I've been feeding her cooked ground beef for the last couple of weeks, and I can really tell a difference in her attitude and demeanor and such, between the beef and the canned food.  She still gets Iams dried kitten food to eat between the two daily beef treats, so all in all, I think she's eating better than I am!  Doesn't cost any more -- I think the beef was less than $6, the veggies a dollar or two, the rice I already had.  Just takes a little effort to cook the rice and veggies, mix it up and freeze it.  There's enough for a couple of weeks, and similar amounts of canned food would have cost about the same.

So -- now what?  A long day looms ahead, but I'll find a way to fill it up.

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