Sunday, March 16, 2008

Finally Got To Plant Something!

Very exciting day on the Ranch... finally did some planting. My co-worker Jane came over to give me some pointers, since this is my first garden. It was nice having her show me what to do. I did want to finalize the layout of my garden area, and put the fence up. We have llamas next door, and deer and elk around here, and I don't want to lose all my hard work to them.

I put down some landscaping fabric so that I won't have any grass or weeds inside the planting area. Almost everything is going to be in containers or raised beds.

[Click here to see how I made the raised beds.]

[Click here for part two, the soil and making the squares.]

I trimmed off some of the fabric to make it fit, and me and Jane started installing the 5 foot fence. This heavy gauge fence is a bear to install. We did our best, but it's really hard to get it to be really tight in this type of setting.

I used my compressor and staple gun to attach it to the wood posts, and the standard metal clasps for the t-posts in the middle.

Here how it looks with the fencing in. Oh, by the way, I'm going to put down some river rock over the landscape paper this week to dress it up a bit. I just don't want to have to mow or get the weed whacker out around all those containers. I think the river rock will look great. I thought about bark, but it seems like you'd have to replace that stuff every year.

First thing Jane wanted us to completely ignore the raised boxes, and dig a trench along the fence line on the north side to plant some snap peas.

We dug out about six feet by one foot and tossed the grass off to the side. I just raked it out and we were ready to plant some peas.

We broke from the strictness of the Square Foot Garden book. We planted more seeds than he suggested, but I trust Jane on this one. She knows this area.

We just randomly scattered the snap peas over about 3 feet, and the other style of peas over the other 3 feet. We pushed the down about an inch and a half, and lightly covered them with soil.

Gerty the dog thinks this is not as much fun as chasing things or playing fetch.

Next up, we got this old bath tub that had been out in the field in place on some bricks to make sure it would drain right. Man, those old cast iron bath tubs are HEAVY! It took us 3 people and a hand truck to get that thing in place. I put about 3 bags of top soil in there, and then my neighbor Bill brought over some of his special llama compost, and Jane went wild over this stuff.

There are a bunch of worms in there, and we just tossed the whole lot in, and mixed it up really good with our hands and some hand tools. Jane was going on and on about how great this stuff was going to be for our potatoes. That's what we're putting in the tub.

First up is some purple ones. Jane brought these over. She said you want to cut them into a few pieces, making sure that each piece has an eye that developing. That's the part that will sprout.

We just chopped up several different varieties of potatoes and put them about 4-6 inches down in the soil and covered them up. Jane added another half bag of soil on top of those and mixed in some red onion seeds as well in this tub planter.

Jane had never driven a tractor, and we needed some dirt to fill up the other tubs we had. That was all the excuse we needed to fire up Ol' Blue and get rolling. Neighbor Bill and his nephews came along for the ride.

We shoveled in the dirt, added some potting soil and llama compost, and those tubs are just going to sit for a while until it's hot enough to plant tomatoes in there.

That tractor can drive a bit wonky with a bucket full of dirt. We had a few seconds when one of the wheels came off the ground. I'm going to look into what it would take to put a roll bar on this thing.

The only other thing Jane said we could plant right now was some spinach and some romaine lettuce. I did the spinach into three squares, and followed the Square Foot Rules on this one. Just one seed in each hole. I did 9 seeds in each square. That'll probably be a lot of spinach, but I guess I can give some away if it all comes in.

In a few weeks, or at the latest a month from now, I'm going to plant my herbs, and a lot of the other veggies.

I'm also going to have a giant pumpkin contest with my brother. He bought some seeds for his place down in New Mexico, and I bought a pack up here. I'm going to put them in down by the well house in a few weeks, and see who gets the bigger pumpkin at the end of the year.

See you next time.