Now it was on to building a garden. I realized I had to fence it in to keep deer, rabbits, bust most of all my Boxer Hoss out of the garden. You will see him in a lot of pics. I planted some garlic I had and he dug them up as soon as I turned my back. He is a good watch dog and very big and strong, but he can be such a pain sometimes. Any way, I have no money and this project has to sustain itself and all inputs must come from the land. That is just the way it is. There is a lot of fencing around the whole garden, but really there is more of it down than up, and all of it is completely consumed with vines of every kind. I decided to take enough fencing down from other areas and scale down to a 25' x 40' fenced in area with three 30' long 4' wide raised beds. The barn is just full of rough cut pine 2x4s. 2x6s, and 2x10s that FIL had cut down and milled on the property about 15 years ago, so whenever I have to build something, all I really need is screws and imagination.
I decided that I was going to do hugle beds, so I dug out about 12" of dirt, put in about 12" of wood, and then sifted the dirt back into it to clear it of rocks and weed roots. I did a simple test mixing the sifted dirt with water and letting it settle and it looks like I have a pretty even mix of sand and clay with a little silt, but very little organic matter. I have some compost that I had been making with saw dust (cherry wood) hundreds of apples that fell off the trees last June, and a lot of coffee grounds, egg shells, and misc. kitchen stuff, so I added what I could to each bed, about 1" thick across the surface. I also have a chicken coop with completely caged in yard, and one side of the area has about 12" of rotted leaves aged and new chicken poop, and tons of other nice rich black goodness and I intend on stealing this and putting it into the three beds then mixing it all together before planting. I intend on this being the only time I will ever turn the soil in these beds and from here on out I will only be mulching with wood shavings (I have quite a lot and I tease my wife that I make wood shavings for a living and the carved signs are just the by product) and then once a year adding compost to the tops before winter.
So far I have 2 beds done and the third dug out. The wood I used came from two our buildings on the property, as well as many old half rotten sticks and fence posts around the property. There is a carport that I am now using for my van, but it did have about 6 cords of wood stacked in it. I have nothing to use the wood in because when the place was vacant it was robbed and there were 3 wood burning stoves that were stolen. I gave the wood to my neighbor, but there was a lot that was in different stages of rot and that was put into the hugle. There is also a 12' x 15' wood shed that had another 3 cord or so in it that was in about the same condition, and met the same fate. That old wood shed will be my rabbit hutch. My wife and I want to make it into one big rabbit room with a fenced in outside area attached, and put a bunch of rabbits in there and let them sort it out. I am not really into the whole caging animals bit, so this is our version of free range rabbits, but that will be a few months down the road. So for now I got the two buildings cleaned out and empty and got a lot of debris off the property, and it all went into the hugle. That is what I call a two for.
The second pic is a tree I would love help identifying. The third is a close up of the leaves and flowers. I do not remember seeing any fruit of nuts on it last year, and was surprised by the flowers this year. It is growing as an under story and is pretty shaded.
That is about all I have for now. I will be adding to this thread as time goes and I hope that you will check in and comment.
The Practical Madman