The days are getting longer, it is a little warmer right now, trees are starting to bud out and it is not raining every day. Now keep an eye on me because it won’t be long before me and everyone else will be saying, “I sure will be glad when it starts to cool off some”. Funny how that works. It is nice though to be able to go outside and not have to bundle up and look more like the Michellin man than I normally do.
So what are we doing? Well by all rights if we prepared, as we should have, the garden is ready and all I have to do is put in seeds or new plants. Everything is already weeded, ground is turned, we have our planting plan all worked out and are just waiting to make sure the weather has made up it’s mind. Is that my situation? Are you kidding me?
IF we had done what we should have last fall we would have brought the compost put in the beds where we plan to plant our spring crops at least and let the worms begin to do their magic. It is amazing to see the progress as they take the things we have no more use for and slowly turn it into that beautiful black gold call worm castings. Things like kitchen scraps. I am talking uncooked vegetable matter, egg shells unused or bad lettuce or greens. The smaller the pieces the better, but they will, over time get even the larger stuff. But be careful. To much or just to much in one place, or pieces too large can start to sour and attract unwanted guest such as mice or rats or even coons possums or neighborhood dogs or cats. In the spring or summer it is flies and birds or maybe your own chickens if they are free ranging. Chickens can be helpful around the garden for bug control but they have a hard time telling if the seeds are natural or something you put down. Actually I don’t think they care!
FULL GROWN DEXTER COWS
Here is one of my make do ideas. Those are our cows in our yard! That is right in the yard! I think I have mentioned in the past that I don’t have enough pasture. Well early spring with hay running low and the grass not really growing much yet they graze the pasture close enough to do damage if I don’t do something. Sure I could go out and buy more hay and while I am out I can pick up a can of gas to go in the mower to mow this little bit of grass in the yard. But wait! Our yard is fenced, complete with gates. Well I could just let the cows out here to eat the grass, save on the cost of hay and the price of gas to. And they even spread fertilize while they are there. Well they don’t spread it too well but they DO spot apply it. Actually supply and apply. One of the best parts of this system is watching the grankids run through the yard when the cows have been out recently. It looks a lot like a high speed hop scotch game. The first time I saw them at it that was what I thought it was. You know, hop on one foot then the other, maybe both down this time. All at high speed. Then it dawned on me! They are playing dodge the cow patty!!!! I didn’t even know they knew how to play that game. I was so proud. We, my friends and I played it as kids! But their parents and other granparents wouldn’t let me teach them. Of course when I played there usually flying patties as well. NOW THAT IS A LEARNED SKILL!!!! You have to be able to determine which pattie is dry enough to pick up and throw without it coming apart in your hand. And while at a dead run too. I believe the game helped the grankids with their balance though. They don’t fall near as often as they used to . When they did they tended to help with the spreading process. Maybe that was an incentive? You think? Who am I kidding most of the running they do anymore is to where they last put down the phone or electronic game they currently have. They are all at least teenagers by now. But I still can’t figure out why they would quit playing in the yard. All that sunshine green grass and places to run and jump
Well today I am preparing beds for the intensive gardening technique http://hobbyfarmlife.com/intensive-gardening-coming/ . Our garden is small about 7 x 20 so by the time I leave walkways I will have enough room for say 3 tomato plants, in improved areas about the size and depth of a five gallon bucket, a couple of 12″ rows for beets under the arched stock panel we run the tomatoes on. Maybe 2 5 x 6′ improved beds and 2 smaller ones. As of yet what will go into them has not been determined. Also a couple of egg plants in one of the flower beds. Pauline has have those but before that I think I can get a squash and zuccinne plants and have that before it is warm enough for the egg plants. That way I can get two crops from the same area. A a lot of compost is needed but I have the area where I fed hay for a couple of years. With the wasted hay, the cow manure and the cultivation the cows provided while feeding it is in pretty good shape. Earth worms everywhere! No doubt there will be some weed and grass seed that survived the composting. With the soil nice and loose it should not be hard to weed the beds
Just as a piece of information. I did something quite similar in the early 70s long before I had heard of intensive gardening by name. Dug a hole about the size of a 5 gallon bucket. Replaced the soil with good garden soil mixed with rabbit droppings if I remember correctly. I then added fish emulsion and some type of granular fertilizer. I don’t remember exactly what. I found a couple of tomato plants that were about 12″ tall still in small containers. This was late in the growing season. Carefully removed the limbs except for the top two or three and buried them all the way up to those last branches and let them grow. Again SE FL planted south side of the house late in the season, September maybe early October. We had out 4 foot high cages of stock fence around them for support. They literally grew out the top of those cages back down to the ground and the branches were rooting in the ground again before we lost them. We had fresh tomatoes all winter long till spring. I gave a neighbor some in January I think. He wanted to know where we bought them and when I told him they were our back yard he all but called me a liar. Never gave him anymore you bet!!!! Also I have never been able to duplicate that success again. My fault not the process. Good soil and plenty of nutrients. Some care and protection goes a long way on most things.
That is about it for today. Hope you enjoy hearing from me as much as I do from you.
PS I will at regular interval have to go through the yard and remove the manure. If for no other reason, the best reason of all, Pauline insist.