Thursday, May 5, 2011

Random Photos from the Homestead

 This was what schooling looked like for near 4 days last week as one storm front after another rolled through our area.  These are all around midday, though you sure couldn't tell it by the darkness outside and inside.

These are Emily's socks, from a new pattern I crocheted called "Over The Rainbow Wellies Socks" from the March/April issue of Crochet Today magazine.  Technically, they were to be knee socks, but my gauge was different, so I didn't buy enough yarn to play with the pattern.  Besides, Emily was practically hanging on me for 2 days while I made these, begging for them to be for her.  I should have come up the ankle a bit more, but she doesn't care. They are her footies :)  I've already started more from this pattern.  They work up so easily once you get your mind set on the plan, and they are very easily adjusted to different foot lengths and width as well.  A keeper sock pattern I think :)

The garden, in all it's clay clod glory. I've beat that ground to near death this year, as usual.  I ripped it up using the box blade for the tractor...flipped those little finger thingies downward, then tilted the box part out of my way, sort of a jury-rigged cultivator.  I zigged, I zagged, I headed west and east, north and south, I did everything but spin circles with that box blade to rip this ground up.  Then I tilled with the hand tiller.  This direction and that, until it looked so pretty.  It looked like a real garden, one capable of sustaining life and producing a harvest of things other than mile-long rooted weeds. 

 But, alas, wasn't any better ground than any other year.  It looked pretty, but it was clod-filled and clumpy.  Hard clumpy.  Rock-like clumpy.  Same Blackland Community Mississippi clay crud I have every year here.  Blackland my aunt fanny...and no, I don't actually have an aunt fanny, so you get my meaning right?
So, being somewhat resourceful when the moment calls for it, I did what made sense....I stole more cinder blocks from the stack Dewey has out front and I used them to make raised rows in the garden.  We worked long and hard, hauling 1- and 2-hole blocks from up front to out back and into the garden.  We raked what decent soil there was into what would have been my normal planting rows, and then we boxed it in, making a 'raised row' of sorts.  I filled this with bought garden soil....yes, I live on 20 acres and yet I bought garden soil. Sad isn't it?
I don't plan to do the entire garden in this manner unless I have to, but the tomatoes and the peppers are tucked neatly into these narrow raised beds, filled with the prettiest black garden soil I could find (and afford). Next to these we planted onions and a 3 or 4x 6 flat bed of bush type beans.  That's all I have in thus far, rains have sort of put a stop to more planting yet, until it dries a bit more.  I have 3 other kinds of beans and some beets to go in yet, and I'd like to get a section ready for pumpkins and zucchini.  Not sure what else I want to try out there, given I usually put a lot of work in just to watch the ground dry off and push everything out of big, deep cracks in the bone-dry July ground :(  Still, no loss, no gain, right?

 This is one end of the grape arbor.  For 2 years, the grapes have produced a few spindly twigs with some curly little vines and that's it.  A little show with no substance.  This year, we have pin dot little grape clusters tucked in these vines.  Maybe this year...dare I dream?  What should I fertilize with for grapes?  They have some potential this year, I just know it.


The Edwards' said...

I've read, and plan to try it this year (assuming I ever get my garden tilled to plant), that left over milk products, like whey, sour milk, skim milk, if you don't want it, milk from making butter (we feed this to the calf right now), etc. makes a great fertilizer, and adds lots of goodies to the soil. May help out your soil!? Supposedly, you spray 3 gallons of whey to 1 acre for good results. Hear it'll even make the grass grow. (free food for the cows, lol)


Blessed Mom said...

Just wondering Sister Deanna, if you do anything to ammend the soil at the end of the growing season to sit on there through the winter. We had wondrful luck this year taking the hay and manure from the chicken coop and layering it on our beds last fall. That along with some homemade compost promises to grow some pretty good fruits/veggies this year. I'm sure you know all that, but just wanted to share what's working for us!


Paula said...

Don't worry, we have 400 acres and I still have to buy top soil for our vegetable garden. We've got Renfrew county white clay to deal with and very little natural top soil. Raised beds are a must. Sometimes you have to spend money to save time and aggravation. Raised beds last a good long time. If you can get your hands on any old grain bins, the rings (cut in half widthwise) make good raised beds -that's what we use.


Sisterbrenda said...

Pictures look great.. I must ask don't you have rocks down there? and hauling all those blocks girlfriend your behind must of been dragging.. I would say you will have great peppers and tomatoes plants... That's a lot of work.. It looks good I would call it the labor of Love...

Mrs. Dewey Smith said...

I'd love to fine some old salvaged grain bins. What a great bed that would make.

Right now, I'm adding milk out there, though I haven't sprayed it...just poured here and there. The sprayer has the flea stuff for the yard in it right now. We have been covered up in fleas this year since February :( ugh, I hate fleas.

I still have lots of barn goodies to bring out to the garden and work in, plus we'll top dress the whole area come fall when we do the barn again. It won't be as composted as it is now, but I didn't plan well...I totally clean out the barn once a year and it's been early spring. I think it would do the garden better to add the bulk of it in come fall. We clean out the worst stuff, and the chicken coop more often, but for the most part 'mucking out the barn' around here means readjusting the bedding and adding fresh on top. If it's particularly bad, we clean out and place in the compost, or it gets upcycled...the cow and goat bedding not composted, heads to the chicken yard for their picking adventures, etc.

The 'beds' this year aren't so much beds as merely 'enclosed rows' The row I would have planted in anyway, we enclosed, and added soil to. I will remove the blocks come harvest and we'll till what soil is left into the whole of the garden area, along with other goodies. Might need raised rows again next year, we'll see.

Dana said...

I second the motion of amending the soil in the fall, my dad would add to the garden spot each fall all kinds of things. Manure, straw, compost, etc etc, and till it in and leave it go on its own till spring. His garden was always wonderful.

I need to remember to do that to ours too.

I like your idea of building up the rows then once they are established taking the blocks away and tilling everything in at the end of season.

Good luck with your garden I hope it blesses you abundantly!!!

Greg and Donna said...

Looks great friend~ I like your raised rows...looks like they might keep the weeds down. The grape plants look promising, thats something I haven't done yet. I like your new background for the blog ~ very springy looking.

Sharmayne said...

Hi Deanna, Lovely to see your photos. We had horrible clay soil in Boorhaman, but it was easily broken down within a year - firstly we needed to add quite a bit of gypsum (which is a clay breaker) - if you can dig it in a little all the better. Then I simply kept cleaning out the chook pens (more often than needed probably) & piled it onto the areas I was making into garden beds. This had quite good results, but I did have to continue to add mulch, compost etc each season. Good luck with it.


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

Blog Archive