Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Record of Planting Seeds and Moving a Raised Bed

Jamie and I recently planted some seeds in the garden.  I should say it like this - Jamie and I planted pea, spinach, onion, kale, turnip, radish and kohlrabi seeds on March 12, so that I have a record of what we did.  The importance of a good record was made to me, once again, when a few days ago we noticed that due to my chicken mis-management, one of the beds we planted was excavated by June and Mrs. Hall, and when we tried to remember what was destroyed, we couldn't.  Jamie reminded me that I took pictures of the seed packets in the beds, for our records, but I'm pretty sure I deleted those photos because they were boring, and I forgot that my photos were my attempt to keep a record.  Doh!

But, at least I remember where the peas were planted.  Not because of my record keeping though, but because they are sprouting now and I can recognize baby pea plants.  

The spinach seeds that we planted with the peas have not sprouted.  We were pretty sure it was a little early to expect spinach seeds to sprout, but the weather was so nice I was happy to be out in the sun working in the garden.  

I was really happy to recruit Jamie to help me move two of the raised beds that get too much shade.  See the two boxes on the left, where the chickens are digging around?  

I've never tried to move a raised bed before, so I was curious about how difficult it would be.  I have a friend who has two that he isn't using any more, and I'm making plans to go get them.  I think Jamie and I came up with a pretty good technique.  As you can see, we just lifted the wood boxes up, leaving the dirt behind, and moved them to their new location.  

Several years ago Brandon stopped by a local newspaper office and asked them if they had any newsprint they didn't want.  They had an entire back porch filled with short rolls of newsprint, and they said we could have some.  We took two heavy rolls, and it's been very handy stuff to have around.  We used some of it in the bottom of the new bed locations hoping to prevent grass or weeds from growing up through the dirt.  

I couldn't resist taking pictures of the beautiful dirt that was in these beds.  They were each used as compost locations in the past, so the soil was black and filled with earthworms.  

We shoveled and raked the dirt onto a tarp, and then dragged the tarp to the new beds and dumped out the soil.  Easy!

These beds were made from my nieces old sandbox.  The wood is pressure treated, which isn't organic, and I probably won't build any new beds from treated lumber in the future, but hopefully these have been outside long enough that not much bad stuff gets leached into the soil and taken up by our vegetables.  

Mrs. Hall helpfully raked the soil level as she searched for worms.  

Taking a picture of the seed packets, or my seed folders, at least helped me keep track of what was planted, and the the photos are dated.  Maybe posting our efforts on this blog will help Future Rain  and Jamie keep track.  

While we were planting the seeds, I referenced a book on companion planting written by a guy named Flowerdew.  The book has very pretty watercolor paintings of the plants, and lists which plants grow well together and which plants don't.  

The final step in our efforts was to wrap the beds with chicken wire.  When I stole the chicken wire off one of the beds to make my chicken play pen, June and Mrs. Hall were in the coop, so I didn't configure a new defense right away.  Big mistake!  

If you were someone looking at houses to rent, and you were considering my house, would the garden put you off?  Would you look at this arrangement of raised beds, fruit trees, blackberries, wildflowers, native shrubs, swimming pool location, clothes line, stone paths, wisteria, hop vines, and be intimidated by the amount of work it takes to keep up with it?  With the expectation that we will be moving to the farm this year, I have been thinking about what to do with the garden at our house in the subdivision, which if all goes as planned, will become a rental property.  I have the option to rip everything out and plant grass, which would be easier to maintain for a future renter.  But maybe there are folks who would enjoy the garden and think it was an asset?  Someone like me, who wants a dog and some dirt to play in, may prefer the garden the way it is.  I waffle, but as of now, I've decided to leave the garden here and see how it goes.  What would you do? 

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