Monday, March 22, 2010

Rainy days ahead

Last week and the weekend was a beautiful break from our typical spring weather. Temps were in the upper 60's and sunny. I spent as much time outside as I could, preparing things for spring planting. I've yet to do anything with the main garden, but most everything else is either been cleaned or prepped for planting. I got rid of seven hens to save on feed...we REALLY didn't need 19. I'm happy with a flock of 12 now, just enough. I'm gathering material to rebuild the first half of the run that I made 2 years ago with the top from the carport frame. It will be 4 foot tall chain link with a gate, same as the second half I made when the neighbor told me I could have his hens last fall. I would like to have it taller so my big ogre a$$ could actually walk inside, but I don't want it taller than the dogs fence and draw more attention to the place more than we already are. Four feet isn't too bad, do I can deal with that. I'd like to sometime down the road cover the outside with four foot privacy fence, but that's not a big concern right now.
I have to visit my folks Wednsday morning to help get a couch out so dads new daybed can be delivered. I'll be counting the good RR ties and concrete bumpers that I need to haul off, so I can plot them here for the new greens beds. I'm hoping to have enough for one more 8x8 bed, which I don't think will be a problem. I like the idea of having salad greens closer to the house in them rather than in the main garden. Granted it's not a 1/2 mile hike to the garden, but 10 feet outside the gate makes it a lot more convenient. I'll be doing away with the idea of rows in these and going to square foot gardening, probably just dividing the 8x8 into four 2x2 area for lettuce varieties, spinach, and trying celery for the first time here.
When this weather decides to break again, I'll stake out the two new strawberry beds I want and get them started. I just need to pull the sod as I always do and give it just one good tilling before I transplant starts from the overgrown existing bed. Like I've said many times before, there is no such thing as too many strawberries!! We both love to eat them fresh, so even though we added the larger bed 3 years ago, we rarely end up with enough to make into jam. I'm hoping that tripling the large area will do away with that problem. I'm also going to transplant some starts from the blackberries and increase their area another 8-10 feet, and also get some more wild ones from my folks place to add out front. Blackberries for me are as bad as strawberries, I can just stand there and eat off the plant, so...more is always better.
Along with the other projects, I have to finish the 30 foot round bed I made out front just for herbs. I'll be adding a small four foot garden pond to that area that I am getting from a friend, and filling it with whatever Lisa decides she wants. My vote is for tons of lavender, but she says I'll just go lay out there and sleep, lol. I like the idea of having all the fresh herbs for cooking and medicinal use, and as always, eliminating more worthless grass. I'd love to find a few area to plant some mint and lemon balm just to let them fill it and enjoy the scent, but thats just a thought right now too. I'll do just about anything to get rid of more grass.
I drew up a sketch of the whole place to plot some areas and get new ideas about what we can plant where. Keep in mind I am no artist by any means, and the scale is way off,but it still gives me a good idea of open space versus what is already filled. There are 3 pines in the front that I'd like to take down, one I can do myself but the other 2 are near or in the power lines and I won't attempt it without a boom lift or something to make sure I don't drop anything on them. All 3 are dying, so there are dead limbs almost halfway up. I'll need to borrow a chainsaw larger than my 18" before I even think about getting started on any of them.
The three small green circles that are unlabeled in the drawing are the areas I made in the post a few days ago. As of right now, Lisa wants them for gourds. I'd prefer something edible, but she likes to paint gourds and they always overtake the garden. I considered cherry tomato's, but since I don't care for them myself, it would be a waste to let one climb a 6 foot trellis and produce more than Lisa can eat. Two of the strawberry beds will be the new ones, you can see the line in the blackberries where I will add another section, and the yellow area marked corn will be new. The small area above that is where I have HOPEFULLY contained the horseradish, though there are no guarantees with that stuff. It's more invasive than mint.
Today is a total bust on getting anything done outside. It's in the 30's and raining. I'll use the day to catch up on cleaning and things around here I have been meaning to get to. I just hope the forecast is wrong and this weather doesn't last a week!

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