Sunday, September 16, 2012

Garden and Rocks

I have been itching to plant something since we bought the land this spring.  

I even started compost pile.  John made me abandon ship when we started getting fruit flies in the house because we couldn't always take the tupperware out to the land every weekend.  Sad.  

I am no expert on gardening.  I am very hopeful that I can get things to grow in the near future.  I have a ficus tree that I have kept alive for more than 3 years and an orchid that is 11 months old.  Plus that baby.  She seems to be doing alright.  But she points to her mouth and says "maw!" when she is hungry.  Plants don't do that.  

This all being said, I enlisted the advice of our birth class instructor and gardener extraordinaire- Amber!  

She has an awesome blog.  Her family also has 40 acres in our town and they are gardening it and building a house.  They are doing it the 'handy' way.  Literally- they are building a straw bale house by hand and using materials they are sourcing from their land and their families lands.  Really awesome.    

Anyhow, I asked her what she would do in our situation.  I want to get a few beds started right now to be ready for spring.  Plus I might want to plant some fall veggies.  

She recommended the lasagna method.  This is basically just layering organic materials to form a bed.  It will break down over the winter and be perfect soil for planting in the spring.  This is good for the earth as you don't have to till anything.  No-till gardening is becoming quite a thing.  When you till, you disturb the soils natural make up and destroy the habitat of little microbes and bugs that help make your soil rich.  Plus, you rip up root structures that aid in keeping soil in place and also help retain water.  Plus, tilling exposes weed seeds to the light and thus causes them to sprout.  

Now, I know nothing about gardening.  So, I could be spouting a bunch of hooey.  However, I've seen Amber's garden and it is awesome.  Her family produced something like 1200 pounds of food from their 1/4 acre plot per year.  I believe her when she tells me something works. 

So, Paisley and I armed ourselves with 160 pounds of cow manure compost and peat.  Plus a bale of straw and a few cardboard boxes.  

First, I put down a cardboard box to be my weed barrier.  Then I dumped some compost and peat on the box and Paisley helped spread it around.  She LOVED getting her hands dirty!  

Then we did a layer of straw...

and another layer of dirt.

Then I went to the store and bought another 800 pounds of dirt and picked up more boxes.  We made the bed WAY bigger and then planted seeds in the top layer of dirt.  

So, it went cardboard, dirt, straw, dirt, straw, dirt, seeds!

I planted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and diakon radish.  I'll let you know how it goes in about 60 days...

 Here are some cool rocks I found in the basement hole.  The first one has rings that look very planetary.  The second one is just super cool.  Crazy to think that the last time these rocks saw light they weren't rocks at all.  Seeing the rings was a neat way to grasp how they were formed.  I wonder how old these rocks are?

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