Thursday, April 24, 2008

Electric Fence

Got out the tiller, ran it over the large clumps of sod and soil still remaining after the initial plowing.  There is still a large "island" of sod left to plow in the middle of the garden, probably about 1/3 of the plot remains untilled.  Its tough going with the rotary plow, as the plow is only about 18 inches wide.   Each swipe with the plow chews up about 12 inches or so.  Its slow going.  But once its done, it should be relatively easy to maintain.  

Hidey's Lawn and Landscape dropped off 30 cubic yards of leaf compost mixed with composted cow manure.  It was one heck of a steaming pile.  We may actually order another 30 yards.  You can never add enough compost to your garden.  I cant wait until Im making my own compost.

We have lime to spread tomorrow along with the compost.  Potatoes and tomatoes and strawberries, peas and corn get planted tomorrow and Friday.  

Today I purchased two varieties of corn to plant.  Silver Queen, a later variety and Bodacious, a super sweet early variety of sweet corn.  We are going to experiment with planting the corn and peas together to use the corn stalks as a natural trellis for the peas to climb.  Hopefully the corn grows faster than the peas...  :)

The BCS tractor is working out well so far.  Its still a monster, but after the initial troubles with the beast, I added some weight to the front end of the tractor to help counterbalance the rotary plow and it seems to have helped immensely.

Lastly, before we left for the afternoon, Annette and my Mom and I set up the electric fence from Premier Fence.  The fence is polywire material, polyester rope with aluminum wire spliced together.  The fences have step-in posts built in, and it simply unrolls, then clips together at the top.  A solar panel charges a battery inside an energizer which applies 8000 volts to the fence.  The power terminal is clipped on to one of the wires on the fence, and when an animal, or stupid farmer, ahem, touches the polywire the connection to ground is made and the animal or stupid farmer gets 8000 volts.  It bites you if you arent careful.  

I will keep track of times bitten.  So far its game one of the tiebreak and we are still at Deuce.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Preparing the Garden

Pictures from this morning.  Unfortunately I took these on the camera phone so I'm not getting these pictures to be any larger.  Mike is cutting down the barley and goldenrod to make our garden area.  The house in the picture is the new house on the 6 acre lot- not ours.  We are going to buy the other 25 acres and retrofit that farmhouse and live in it.

We cleared a section that was about 180 feet by 90 feet.  We have electric fencing for 164 X 82.  Tomorrow the tilling starts- bright and early.

Seedlings Continued

I bought a flip video camera to see how it would work as it was on sale for $64.  Here are my seedlings ready to be planted!  It took me 4 tries to get the larger video file loaded....will try smaller ones in the future.

We cut down the barley and goldenrod that were on the land where the garden will be planted!  Picture of Mike cutting it down later today.  I took that picture on his phone camera.

I'm worried about my tomatoes- they grew too fast and I need to get them in the ground.  They are very leggy- see clip.  Although I'm not really worried if some of them die- I made sure to grow enough.  There are 216 tomato plants in total and so it may be a blessing if some don't make it.  

Its the 500 potato plants that worry me--- thats a lot of planting!  Thank goodness Gramma M is coming this weekend!  

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Getting ready to plant

This week we are going to start the planting!  
We have strawberries- 5 different varieties, artichokes, lavender, celery, peas and potatoes to get started in the ground.  I have about 12 varieties of potatoes and about 500 to plant.  I didn't realize how many came in 1 order and so I probably ordered too many.  At least they can last over the winter so Mike will have to dig me a root cellar so that we can save them and have them to keep giving away over the fall/winter this year.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Well, the weather cooperated for a couple of days and the soil dried out enough and warmed up enough and became workable.  Yesterday I was able to get out the BCS tractor and start the process of tilling up some garden space.  The rotary plow attachment that I used is a large propeller-like screw.  It has a large amount of horizontal torque and at times I became the tail rotor on a helicopter that was screwing itself into the ground.

The machine is a beast.

It was definitely a workout.  It took me the afternoon to learn how to control the tractor, hook up implements, understand how the plow worked and decide where to put the garden.  I chose the top of the hill, near where our future house site will be.  We will utilize the well that was drilled for the house for irrigation.  The pump installers should be set for next week.  The person we bought the property from has some irrigation equipment and hoses that he isnt using and might be willing to sell to us for a good price.  That might make things a bit easier.

The sod I had to cut through with the tractor was 6-8 inch high barley grass that was planted as a winter cover crop.  It was a monster to cut through.  The plow was up to the task, but the learning curve was steep.  I needed to add weight to the front of the plow in order to compensate for the corkscrewing action of the plow.  The plow wants to dig down, not move forward.  As a result, I spent the better part of 2 hours plowing and holding up the back end of the machine because of inadequate counterbalance on the front of the tractor.  Lesson learned. I was pooped.

Im about 1/4 done with the initial plowing.  I will have some compost and manure and peat moss delivered and spread and I will till that into the soil and prepare the raised beds for the potatoes and other crops.  And then we plant.  Its starting to warm up a bit so we need to get the cool weather crops planted soon.