Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A little bit of spring

Last Monday and Tuesday (21 and 22 March) we had two days of spring. The temps were in the 70's and it stayed above 50 both nights! So we were able to get some outside work done.

The first of what I believe will be many raised beds was put together and filled with growing medium. You can see a pile of dirt in the back ground that makes up a large portion of that medium. I had my neighbor bring us two dump truck loads of dirt. It all has to be shifted to remove rocks and other trash from it and it is mostly sand, but we add peat moss, worm casts and compost at a rate of 5 to 1. This makes for a very loose mix and if (and when ) weeds get in there, they will be easy to remove.
We also got seeds started. Tomatoes and some lettuice. Because we used a lot of compost in the mix, we also got a lot of volinteer pumpkin plants. At last count, 46!

As you can see from the above photo, the whole thing will be covered with chicken wire. This will (I hope!) keep the rabbits and deer out of the bed until the plants are big enough to produce a harvest. And the coast of this construction project? $6.00! The coast of the 1/2" PVC pipe that forms the three hoops. The other materials I  had on hand or got for free. The wood I get from a import company that would rather have me take it, then have to pay the city to pick it up and take it to the land-fill. You can see that we tilled the area before placing the box and that there is mulch around it. There is cardboard under that mulch and the next box will be placed to the right of this box. And as we add boxes, we will have two rows running back toward the shed.

This is the little work horse that we use to do all our tilling, mowing and bush hogging. Its small but it gets the work done. Mowing is the job that takes the most time (we have 6 acres to mow!). And when we get it done, we have to start all over again!

Here are some pictures of that spring day.

One of the two pear trees in bloom.

And one of the raised beds we built in Marks flower bed last fall.  Daipodils, Tullips,  Pansy's and Flowing Kale. We built 10 boxes and planted lots of bulbs that are blooming like crazy!

As you can see, the flowering Kale over-wintered well and as the weather got warmer, it came back in a big way!
Elie (Marks dog) just soaking up the sun and chilling out!

But old man winter does not want to let go his grip! The days following the two days of spring, came back with day-time temps dropping into the 40's and hard frost's at night. Today is the first time we have see the sun in a week and it may get into the 60's today. But the rest of the week is predicted to be rain and cold (still!).
So I better get out side and get as much done as I can. As "The Duke" would say "We are burring day-light" (and what movie is that from?)
Talk to you later.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Neglacted Blog.....Its the computers fault!

I terrible sorry for not posting for the longest time, But that %$&*#@!!!! computer is acting up. And I do not know how to fix it!
But any way, it looks like spring is trying to get its foot in the door! Today was blue sky's and 78 degrees! The daffodils are in bloom and the pear trees have blossoms all over. In fact a lot of plants are breaking ground and starting to put buds out.
Terri and Mark planted 6 - 8 new Maple trees and I have three fig trees to plant Monday. I also have to get the ground tilled where the new raised beds will be. I start on that project first of the week and will attempt to get before and after pictures posted.
I have been trying to save money on gas by staying in town (Portsmouth VA.) with a friend during the work week and only going home on Sunday night. I do not get anything accomplished by doing this, but the cost of driving 115 miles round trip each day was killing me and putting a lot of wear and tear on the truck!
If you remember that I took some of the worms out of the outside bed and took them into the house so they would not freeze this last winter. And they are doing good, But the worms in the outside bed are exploding! With the day time temps in the 60's and 70's, they have gotten very active and have consumed all the food material I placed in there just a few days ago. This Sunday, I will have to get up early (at my friends house) and go pick a truck load of horse manure and get it out to the homestead. I have to get this bed dug out and the worms picked out and get another bed built. I will divide worms up between the two beds and give them each new bedding and food. The bedding this time will be mostly leaves that I picked up, bagged at curb side this last fall. They have been laying in the yard waitting to be put through the yard vac and then wetted down. The main idea here is to setup a new bed and let it decompose for a week or two before adding any worms. That way the the bacteria that the worms really eat will get a chance to grow and multiply. A better enviorment for them to be introduced to.
Well , that's it for now. I will try and get pictures and a post up about the raised beds and the new garden early next week! Until then, keep looking for spring, ITS OUT THERE!!!