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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Building beds and..

May 6. We had frost warnings in local areas overnight last night. If we got frost here, it didn't seem to hurt any of the seedlings out in the yard. The mini-greenhouses are great. The solarium is right fine.

Today I busted my ass building a lasagne bed for the tomatoes, peppers, and Taylor bush beans.

A couple days ago, I cut open 64 paper bags like this (not my photo):
The bags cut open with anticipated overlap is around 3x1 foot. I wanted 2 layers of 8x4 bags.

Duh me, could have taken pics of the process, but didn't think about it really till I was breaking up the straw. Then figured screw it, lol. I might be making another much smaller bed for the maisi beans over the next few days.
Used the big wheelbarrow filled with a few inches of water as a soaking tub to wet up the bags BEFORE laying them down. On a breezy day this is great. Can't really soak them too long or they get really easy to tear up really fast. The paper wants to stay down and stuck to itself while you lay in the layers. Have a hose ready to spray the stuff wet again if needed while laying out the paper. I worked fast enough to lay out the whole first layer before starting in the second layer of paper on top. I had cut up a few extra bags to be prepared, and used them to patch over a couple spots that seemed thin while walking on the first layer.
Then a nice layer of leaves that I raked out of the area before I laid the paper down. Then hosed down real well to wet the leaves till they stopped shrinking down under showering with water.
Then 10 barrows of composted poop. A nice layer of not seeing leaves anymore, not really perfect. Then hosed down this layer real well to see where thin spots might be, water in clumps real well.
Then one bail of straw, broken up and fluffed a bit. Then hosed down very well, to the point where watering didn't make the straw sink at all in any spots.
Then another 17 barrows of composted manure. Really burying in all the straw well till no more can be seen. Payed attention to the edges.
I probably lost about 8 inches around the border between the initial edge of the paper to straw, to final compost layer.
This is the bed right now. Further down the fence is what this spot looked like before I started laying down the paper bags. You can see that it's a natural drift spot for fall leaves. A bit further off frame down the fence is the bee patio and garlic bed.
I may or may not add more layer to this bed. Depends on what cleanup and mowing yields before I start getting plants in- which won't happen for 2-4 weeks.
This bed looks high, but I want a few weeks of weathering in before putting in plants. Just like that fall leaf and compost bed :)

I'm thanking my misgivings a couple weeks ago when I decided to not start Maisi beans and they would be direct seeded. Right now this bed will be full of tomatoes, peppers, and the potted beans.

I think I might build a second smaller bed next to this one for Maisi beans. I would be doing it one bag wide instead of 4, since that's about how wide the bed was last year for the Top Crop beans.

Putting a pretty good dent into the composted manure pile. I think I dug out about a third of it's total heap, maybe a bit more than that. Enough left to do up another small bed and have a goodly bit for the second build box for garlic.
I'm exceptionally happy about the pea trench. Damn I'm glad I really took the time to dig out that big ass board, and really widen out the area a few inches wider than my original intent, and really stabilizing the heap. And for putting in the pipes holding up the board walls. There were several times today that I could have dumped badly on the peas if not for that trench and wall. I actually have most of the worst of tumble stuff dug out and spread in the new bed.
The Alaska pea plants I put in are doing right fine. I might be mistaken, but I don't think I've lost a single one. And they are all growing up enough that I've had to start training them up the fence by their first link. I've been a good girl and haven't even peeked at the Green Arrow pea seed or the Dwarf Jewel Mix nasturtium I seeded in when I planted in the Alaska peas.

Pretty pleased with the end bed right now. I set that up before the pea trench and so far zero weeds sprouting up. I think another sprinkle in of composted manure to fill in the leafy spots a smidge. The earliest of the Histada Shield beans are sprouting up right fine. In another week or two they will be ready for planting in.

I'm not sure to be worried or not- but I haven't seen any potato sprouts in my bags yet. Thought about how little real rain we have had since I planted them and figured I might have already killed them do to lack of water. I watered them real good today, and will have to keep in mind to keep doing so if we don't get rain.

On some good growing news. The two Pixwell Gooseberries I got early this season and promptly potted up in litter bucks are doing really well:
I'm still not sure where this pair will be going. Nice part about this size bucket is if I want to hold them till fall planting, I can. If I want to hold them till next spring, I can do that too.

Here's a pic of the horseradish buckets:
In the three big cans are last years biggest roots. In the smaller one all the little root bits. Unless you want horseradish to invade, ALWAYS grow it in containers. I'm doing a few pots like this to help spread fresh horseradish season more. The tall pots are some cheap on sale garbage cans from a big box hardware store. As they grow in during the season they will make a pretty border along the porch.

And just a random note.. Seriously need to replace the front porch steps. Just a couple new pieces of wood really to make that whole stepping area much safer.

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