This has been a very busy and productive weekend. Most of the lawns are cut, though there is still way to much lawn for my taste. I would estimate that around 80% of the land now is lawn; I am hoping to trim this number back to around 15%-20% by the time we are established.
The hay bale and bag of horse manure that I acquired last week are applied to the woody bed, and the first two plantings are in the bed now. The mulch hay over the top made a huge difference in water retention. Even with the sandy soil over the core of the bed the water did not leach off overnight like it had done before the mulch was applied.
We have added a new bed for rhubarb and asparagus, and planted the tomatoes and peppers. This bed is also mulched well. We constructed this bed with simple 6 x 6 timbers at 4’ per length. After turning over all of the sod that was now in the bed, we planted and mulched it all in.
I split the tomatoes and peppers up in order to do a little experimenting. I want to see which bed produces the best vegetables the fastest. This will guide the decision on whether or not to keep standard beds, or switch all of the beds to wood core. I have placed one pepper and one tomato into the woody bed, and the other two went into the square foot bed.
A little side note on buying starts, look before you leap. I was at the local hardware store and was excited to discover that they offered vegetable starts. What they had to offer were the national brand, in the biodegradable pots, so I purchased a small portion of what I will need for the summer. The starts that I did get were not in bad shape; they did not look sickly or diseased. On the way home I stopped at the local greenhouse, their starts were not only more plentiful, but also looked to be in better shape. Of course the ideal state is that everything originates on the homestead and ends on the homestead, but during the first setup seasons I don’t think buying a few things will hurt.
Some of the plants in the square foot bed are coming up nicely. This year I left the leaf litter from the fall on the bed, the plants that are coming up do not seem to mind at all. I used to be of the mindset that tilling up the soil was the way to go, however the research that I have been doing points in the other direction. In the interest of building the soil we have been adding spent coffee grounds, sprinkled on the top. We will also be adding manure before the plants get tall enough to mulch around.
Today we are planting chives. We are lucky to be given several clusters of chives that are in really good shape. I am thinking that these will go in under the apple trees in the back yard. Check in next Sunday, I plan to post on Sundays for at least the first year.