Heather Ulrich

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since Jan 24, 2019
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Recent posts by Heather Ulrich

Suyo Long cucumbers from Baker Creek. They are great for fresh eating and pickling!
We had a pretty big 2020 around the homestead. We had a large shop built (in the background), for which we ran all the electric and water, we built ourselves a 10'x10' garden shed, built a garden perimeter fence and lined it with buried hardware cloth for maximum predator protection and finally got our low tunnel put up so that I can use it for greens and starting seeds.

I've still got some final touches to do, but it's coming together. In the pics, you can kinda see a solution for the water intrusion problem I posted about earlier in this thread. I built a Swale, using limestone rocks, tons of new soil and planted bulbs to line the front of the garden fence.

Oh, and we got a new doggy - Kaiser. He's our second GSD and I just love him to pieces.
2 days ago
Hey friends! Ive been lurking around for a while, silently working on our home and gardens, cooking and eating lots of food and spending time with family..

I'm really wanting to put a plan together for some new bee hives this spring, but bees may be ambitious for this year, as I've got a couple more things I want to get done first.

Looking back at this thread reminds me of where the area started! It's crazy to look out and see the transformation. We got the fence up, which we're super proud of, and finally finished the hoophouse. Ill try to take some new pics and update my thread here.

I'm getting ready to start a few seedlings - onions, leeks and lettuces.  I've also got a yard or two of compost that needs moved today.

What's everyone else do in the winter?
2 days ago

Paul Ladendorf wrote:I'm thinking my best bet is to bring in a couple loads of topsoil for my garden as the sheer amount of work I'll need to do to de-rock the soil will be overwhelming. And even then I'll still end up with hard clay soil. Any thought? Thanks.

We have heavy clay soil. My solution was to place a layer of straw, then cardboard (the worms LOVE it) then a thick layer of compost and then mulch heavily with chopped leaves. I did this for about 8 months prior to planting. Right before planting, I hand tilled the ground and removed the large rocks, but left all the small ones - they're surprisingly welcome, as they contain lots of nutrients. Each fall I top dress my beds with more compost, then mulch with chopped leaves/yard clippings (clover). In the spring, I do the same, but don't add compost unless it appears it's needed. If you're planting carrots and radishes, or things that don't like rocks, a raised bed, filled with de-rocked clay/sand/peat should work great.  

Your timeframe may not work using this method, but it's produced great results for us.
1 week ago
I love this topic! We live on 24 acres of heavy woods, so leaves are abundant.  Funny tho, I always feel as if I'm robbing the forest when I pick them up!  

We have a mower with a vacuum/bagging system, as well a large "leaf vacuum".  The leaf vacuum is so cool. Its a pull behind (we use the 4-wheeler), has a 6" hose that sucks up leaves and turns them through a small "chopper" and then shoots them into a 3'x4' containment area. Once that's full, we pull it over to where we want to apply leaves and dump. Last fall we dressed all our garden beds with about a foot of chopped leaves. I plan to get out and collect more soon, and apply them to the walkways - as weeds are a very annoying issue we deal with all summer long.  I'll lay cardboard first in hopes of choking it out, then leaves, then will try to find some free sawdust - or buy some if I have to.
1 year ago
Please excuse my poor quality pics, I'd rather buy plants than a new phone/camera!  As you can kinda see, the tomatoes all got a big dose of mulch!
1 year ago
After sitting and staring at my swamp area for hours, studying the lay of the land and spot checking holes for seeping water, I got busy on what I hope is the best solution.  Against the wall, I planted perennials that like wet feet (iris', elephant ears, canna bulbs, calla lillies, and a few others I picked up at a local nursery). When planting, instead of digging a hole, I sat the plants on top of the existing soil and built up the bed using compost and wood chips, then lined it with leaves so to keep down weeds. They all seem happy so far.  For the remaining area I forked the soil where possible, spread gypsum pellets, then added about 4" of compost, 6" of straw, and another 2-3" of rotting wood chips that were crawling with earthworms. I won't use the area this year for any plantings, but instead keep adding layers of organics and browns and hoping it permeates the clay underneath so it'll begin draining properly. If it doesn't work, I'm not out anything but time and organics and I'll dig a french drain next spring to take the excess water out the back. I also have a plan for a swale up above the area, but it'll require a lot of dirt and time, so it's on the to-do list.
1 year ago
Thank you for this thread, we're building one this weekend for my mothers day present! :)
1 year ago

Mike Barkley wrote:

I wanted to wait and post pics once everything is nicely mulched and weeded, but just getting to this point was so much work that I wanted to show it off.  

Thanks for not waiting. That is a beautiful garden as it is. One of things I enjoy most about this site is before & after pictures of projects like this. I especially like the arched garden entry. Let us know how it all turns out. Looks like it will do very well if the rains don't interfere too much for too long.

I'll plan on keeping this thread alive throughout the season! My next big project, aside from the water issue, is getting the area fenced off to keep the deer and dogs out. Most of the infrastructure is there, just need to re-set a few corner posts and put it all back up. The chickens will be happy to be able to roam the garden area! Speaking of that, I've considered instead of letting them roam and having to fence off areas they should stay out of, simply building runs all the way around the side and back perimeters of the garden instead. Then they could eat all the bugs making their way in and out and keep the fence line free of weeds!
1 year ago
Oh man, what a gorgeous area you get to call home, Redhawk!  I'd love to visit the Ozark National Forest soon, Arkansas has so much natural beauty. We love to hike, fish and camp, but with 3 kids, 2 dogs, full time jobs, a garden and all that goes in between, it's hard to get away.  We have a place on Tablerock lake, which is only about 40 minutes from our house, that we like to get away to and spend time fishing, jet-skiing and swimming.

Good plan for now with the straw bales. I've got 3 bales right now, I can have my husband pick up a few more today on his way home. I've also got an entire dump bed load of composting wood chips..

It's hard to see on the picture, but I had them build a wide swale when constructing the retaining wall, exactly as you've described. In the pic looking towards the house, it's where the green grass meets the yellow straw and it's about 6-8' wide, very shallow. It works really well to catch and route everything running off the yard.  The problem is that it doesn't catch the runoff garden-side of the flower bed. There's a good 10' slope leading right into the garden. That's where I'll try to focus my swale once everything dries out.  For now, in addition to the straw bale diversion, I''m gonna go periodically remove standing water around the tomato plants with my shop vac!!!  
1 year ago