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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Busy Spring

Sorry I haven't written guys- I've been up to my eyebrows in things to do.

We've had a spate of sunny days, which means the ground has been drying out enough to dig, so that's what I've been doing. I've been cleaning up beds and spreading bark in front of the hive so that Steve doesn't have to mow in front of it, even though the girls appear to be really focused on their tasks and don't really bother us.

Then yesterday I starting digging up a new bed.  It's actually an extension of the bed in which the garlic is growing, but I decided that I didn't like where I'd planned to put the tomatoes, so they are going in the new bed.  I spent a large chunk of yesterday cutting up sod and replanting it out front to form better lawn in the bare patches, and need to finish digging the rest of it up so that I can double dig the bed.  I'm hoping to get all this done before tomorrow, which is Easter, because the next few days it's supposed to rain like the dickens, and then shower all week.  Tomorrow is sow seeds indoors and cut straw day.

So much has been happening!  The seed potatoes showed up so I've been hand sewing grow bags from weed stop fabric which I learned from this Instructables video.  I am not putting seed potatoes in the ground, however.  I don't need holes in my bark paths.   I think it was last year that I told Fiona over at The Cottage Smallholder about a method my neighbor in Florida used for growing potatoes.  We had very sandy soil in Florida.  He'd place his seed potatoes in their beds, and then pile them up with leaves as they grew, and when they were ready for digging up, the leaves had pretty much turned to crumbly soil by then and he had no trouble at all finding and digging potatoes.  And they were great spuds!  So Fiona tried it, only she did it in grow bags, and she reported that she grew a lot of potatoes this way.  My plan is to do the same thing, only I'll leave the rubble out of the bag.  I'll grow them on top of the bark in the wider paths, so drainage shouldn't be a problem.  I'm also running out of leaves, unfortunately, so I'll use shredded straw as the mulch medium in which to hill them up.  As long as I keep the roots covered and the black bags fairly closed around the tops of the plants, things should be okay.

Then also this week, my grain mill showed up, but I'll leave that for another post.  We're waiting on a couple of square buckets with lids from US Plastics, and once they're in I can start building the stand for the mill, which I want to keep in the house.

So now I need to don my grubbies and get outside for a torturous day of moving earth.  I'll leave you with a shot of my flower border as seen through the garden gate.  This is what sunshine looks like in Oregon.

13 comments:

Heidianne said...

Yaaah sun! I have been turning, mulching, and preparing beds all morning. It was all going great until I found rust blisters on my over wintered leeks. Grrrrrr! they were scheduled to be ripped up anyways, and turned into dinner, but still. I have yet to try the cornmeal emulsion/spray you suggested before, but iam so on it now! The rust seems to be endemic in my yard, so I have to fight tough.
i have to decide if I want to grow taters this year. I usually just put them in the earth, and mulch up the mounds as they grow. There seems to be so many ways to grow them, it makes my tiny pea brain spin. Also I have not called your farmer friends re dairy or meat, money is just too tight. Their website is great, and one day when we can afford it I would love to order from them. Have fun in our sun, I wish it would last...

Rae said...

Lovely flower pic!

Question: You want to go to the Master Gardener Show with us on Saturday the 30th? I'm gonna see Katie tomorrow for Easter, and we'll probably be planning the trip. Normally, head out at about 8-8:30, grab coffee in Canby, and head to the show. Fun to see all the plants, even if you don't buy anything. :)

Paula said...

Heidianne- if you are getting good yields of potatoes your way, then don't change it! Potatoes are supposed the crop with the highest calorie yield per acre, so in terms of economics, they are a good thing to grow, especially organic. They are particularly susceptible to harboring the garbage that get sprayed on them in conventional farming. Plus fresh is just so. much. better.

Paula said...

Thanks Rae! Answer: Yes- I'm in. Let me know where to meet you guys. Do I need to bring cash to the show?

Rae said...

Cash, yep, though I think they also have a temp ATM set up at the show. We can probably all meet at Katie's place in OC and go together in the truck from there. Katie and I will both bring our wagons, and if you buy anything, we can haul it for ya. The sale is pretty big, and a wagon is very very nice to have. :) I'll let you know the plan once I've talked to Katie.

Rachel said...

I'd love to see more pics of your garden projects. I've never grown potatoes and I'm sure exactly what I should do or even what potatoes look like as they're growing.I've never seen anyone's asparagus beds either (not alot of veggie gardening going on in my area of Peoria, AZ), but you seem to be getting alot for dinner!

Miriam said...

We're finally getting some sunshine here, too - isn't it lovely?

Your tulips are gorgeous - but then you know how much I like tulips!

JustAnotherGraphicsGirl said...

Those flowers are BEAUTIFUL! Here in the NE, we have so much mud - it just won't stop raining, making outdoor work difficult. You gave me a gift today - well actually two. I have seed potatoes to plant, so thanks for introducing me to your planting method. I read an article in Mother Earth News where someone grew their potatoes in garbage cans - I think they kept putting saw dust ontop as the potatoes grew. This got me thinking for a winter crop. My seeds are due to arrive this week from seed savers. Really thought I was behind with everything (as usual). Thanks for mentioning that you are planting your seeds now. I feel better! Happy Easter to you and Steve!

Paula said...

Hi Rachel- I usually do post more pictures of the garden, but there's not a lot going on right now. Next sunny day I'll get out there and snap what I have.

Paula said...

Thank you JAGG! Yeah, for my first time tulips, I was very satisfied with the show. But they do make me want to plant more bulbs next autumn! I'm glad you got something from this post. I hope it all goes well for you!

Paula said...

And I know how you like poppies, too Miriam!

Michael said...

That IS a busy spring. Personally, I think weed control is the most important factor in spring.

Paula said...

Weed control is pretty important in the spring- you're close to right Michael. I just disagree that it's the most important thing. I especially don't like weed control fabric because it's impossible to dig through later on. The fellow who owned this house previously laid black plastic all over the place and put bark down on top of it. Now the bark has broken down into soil, the weeds are growing on top of it, and I can't dig the whole thing in and improve the soil because I can't get a shovel through the plastic. So I leave the dandelions back there because they're good for bee forage. Some day I'll get to really dealing with them, but I have more important places to weed, like my raspberry bed.