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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pulling Up Sod And Digging Clay

I was asked the question what is worse: pulling up sod or digging clay soil?

If I'd been asked that back when I lived in Florida, I would have sworn pulling up sod, because the St. Augustine grass there is amazingly tenacious, I have dug up my share of it. I've also put down my share of it.

This is the lawn that we put down in our garden in Florida.  The shrubbery and Italian cypress are young, and the patio hadn't been grouted yet, but this is the only picture I have of the lawn we put in.  It's actually the drain field for the septic system; otherwise, it would have been the perfect place for a pool, but I'm not the hang-around-the-pool type anyway. But I digress.

If I'd been asked the question on the day we put the apple trees in the ground, I would have said, digging up clay soil. It was truly soggy, and it clung mightily and heavily to my muck boots.  The sod was hell to get up that day as well, because it was so. freaking. heavy.

I am actually in a feverish rush- it's a toss up between desperately wanting to get my bare root stuff in the ground this weekend (it arrived here last Monday) and desperately wanting to get the blueberry bed dug up before this coming Monday.  The soil is finally at a point where I can easily crumble it for mixing with the peat moss for the blueberry bed- if I miss my window tomorrow and don't get it done, Monday's rain will turn it back into a slippery, slimy, sticky mess.  I hate my clay soil, which is interspersed periodically with straight clay.  I hope that come this summer, when it's holding water pretty well, that I'll be thankful for it.

For all my work, though, I feel like I'm getting stronger (I'm certainly smelling stronger) and I've lost a couple of pounds (yay!). Tomorrow I hope to get the rest of the blueberry bed dug, and the blueberries in, and then be able to get the raspberries into the ground as well.  Today Steve and I got the supports into the ground- Steve will paint them for me tomorrow.  And you know, I haven't even mentioned the boysenberries that are also waiting; there is a bundle of five of them, but I am not as concerned with them as I am the raspberries, which I absolutely love, and the blueberries, which will be hiding my bees for me next year (hence the horseshoe-shaped bed- the bee hive will go in the middle of that). I chose the blueberries because they are deciduous- when the bees need what little sun we get in the winter to warm them, the blueberries won't be in the way. And because I have a mix of early, mid-season, and late ripening berries, there should be something in bloom in that bed for them for most of the spring and summer. I've lots of bee fodder planned for all over the yard, but most of it won't get planted until later, which is why I won't start my hive until next spring.

Okay- one last picture of my old garden, back when I was gardening for pleasure, and not for food.  This is the view from the kitchen, in the late afternoon. I am really glad that I hung on to my old pictures- they remind me that I do good work.

Plus, it just makes me happy.  And the answer is digging clay is worse.  The sod is only so many inches thick- the clay, whether it's true or not, just seems to go on forever, especially when it's wet.

1 comment:

Toni aka irishlas said...

We have heavy clay soil, too so I can definitely relate! It is back - breaking to work with. Ugh...
I think your blueberry shape to put your hive in is an excellent idea! Thanks for sharing all your plans. I love to see how others work and plan gardens.