This past month was full of planting and mulching. I haven’t helped out in the family garden much the past few years), and I quickly found out, soon after starting this year, just how little I had done when a few hour’s work produced blisters and aching muscles! Ahem. It’s good for me, I’m sure.
We started out the season planting our beds of potatoes. One of my brothers has been studying soil health and regenerative farming for his last year of school, so we decided to try “no-till” planting our potatoes—one person pushed a grubber handle in the ground (a grubber is sort of like a short-handled hoe), and another came behind dropping the seed potatoes in. Then the others of us followed, layering on hay for mulch.
We ran out of seed potatoes after a while, so had to go dig up the potatoes we’d missed when we dug them last season—there was quite a number coming up in the old potato patch again! This is one of the buckets I filled when digging for more seed potatoes:
Another day, several of us worked on pulling out grass and buttercup roots from a freshly-tilled bed, readying it for planting the carrots, radishes, and beetroot.
One thing we’re trying to do this year is put down as much mulch as possible. Last autumn, we were given some old silage that needed to be cleared out before the new crop came in, so Dad and my brothers spent several weeks hauling loads whenever they could. They got a nice, big pile for their efforts—and by the time we were ready to use it this year, the height had dramatically reduced, and most of what we had left was black with worm castings!
There’s a small quarter-acre section in front of our place, where some of our neighbors graze their ponies, and when they mowed it recently, we raked up the grass clippings to put on the garden—I was surprised at how much we got off of just less than half of the section!
Most of the grass clippings went into our greenhouse. There isn’t much planted in there at the moment, but Mom and I just went through and weeded the entire thing (it was quite overgrown, after just a few months of sitting!), and now that it was clear, we wanted to get something down to discourage any more weed growth. She’s planted peppers in there, and has a patch of brassicas, several more of garlic, and a patch of multi-year peppers. We’ll be putting more plants in soon.
And hey! I think I can do a picture comparison here. The picture on the left is from 2 September, when we still had our winter garden in; the one on the right is from 22 November.
I wasn’t involved with the most recent garden project—cutting and sharpening willow stakes to trellis our tomatoes with this year. My brothers did that last weekend, and hopefully, they’ll have time sometime this week to get the posts in the ground for me so I can start tying up the tomatoes.
Now the garden is almost all planted! We got the corn, beans, and pumpkins in the ground, the tomatoes and cukes are in, and now we need to focus on keeping on top of whatever weeds dare to come up through the mulch (turns out silage isn’t the best as far as weed control is concerned—maybe what we have is too broken down already?). By the time this post goes live, we’ll hopefully have more of the greenhouse planted, since it’s currently about half empty.
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