Mulch

The Cabin Garden Is Back!

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We are back! This has been a winter of adjustments and decisions regarding the garden. I have decided with agreement from family that we are going at the program of gardening in a big way. First of all, the size will be back to a 95 by 80 foot garden. The size is back to what it was before I was hit with Guillain-Barre.   I have some other plans I will start to share now and in future posts.

PrecultivatingFirst of all, last fall I had the garden covered with compost and than had the compost cultivated under to provide a rich base of quality soil for the cabin garden 2016. In early May, I will have the garden worked up again.

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I have also decided to work on ridding my garden of weeding (at least some) by laying the entire garden with a black fabric that should hold down most of the weeds.  When I do this process I will share the process with you in a post with pictures.

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I have also decided to start the majority of my plants with seed. Why? First of all, it is interesting and just feels good to raise your own plants. Secondly, I will save money by getting many more plants. I also plan to sell the extras to "customers in the area" thru local ads on the grocery store sale board.

IMG_0751I have spent time researching the seed options and the best seeds to plant in my area. I also have studied the timing for planting your seeds indoors and outdoors.  I will share the reasoning for these decisions as I post an ongoing story of our cabin garden 2016.

My first post will share how I set up the procedures to plant seeds indoors.  As I indicated to a member of my family…”planting seeds and raising seedlings, is like having babies”…you are on duty all the time!”

More later!

 

 

 

Our Fall Mulching Story

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This past week we finished off the garden for 2015.  We covered the garden with hay and a layer of turkey manure.  Both were partially decomposed.    Our goal is to bury the mulch in a winter bed.   This will help breakup the mulch for the soil's nutrition. heavyprecultivating

BEFORE CULTIVATION VIEW ONE: HAY

Precultivating

BEFORE CULTIVATION VIEW TWO:  TURKEY MANURE AND FALLING LEAVES ADDED TO LAYERS

A huge job!  I always second guess our doing this step because it takes so much time and labor.  Our goal is to avoid chemical fertilizers.  And, I think nature's way is better.  This step adds nutrition and great soil composition to our future garden.  Just look at the garden after we cultivate all that wonderful nutrition into the garden!   Almost pritty!!

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The winter snow fall will provide a blanket for the mulch.  In the spring the mulch continues to breakdown. The spring cultivating continues the mixing of various mulches. This is our story on helping nature provide the plants adequate nutrition.  We have just given it a little "nudge" to add richness to the soils.  Farming in the garden!   Talk about fun!!

 

 

Prepping the Garden for Winter

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What a pleasure!  To say we are done with the garden till spring!!  Or are We?  Not  until you prep the garden for NEXT SPRING!!  Yup!  Get the organic stuff down as well as any manures you prefer and work them in to the soil.Preping the garden with hayThe hay bales we put in piles this past spring are now spread as a top mulch.  Yes, it is a lot of work, but what a pleasure we will have next spring to see the mulch mixed in so well with your soils.  And it is all done without any chemicals.  Organic gardening!  I love it! Haul it awayBut Wait!!  What did we do with all those left overs??  Tomato plants, pepper plants, carrot tops and on and on? There is just too much chance of left over bugs and disease.  My vote is to haul it off the garden area and place in a pile away from the garden.  This winter when you want a little bonfire.  This will do the trick.

More to do?  Yes fellow gardeners..we do.  More in the next post on prepping the garden for a good toasty home for all those mulches.

 

Milkweed and Wild Flowers

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 Garden July 28th

In an earlier post I reviewed our issues with weed control and the plan appears to be working.

Brush2There are still several areas where the weeds are dominating. As we looked at these wild uncontrolled areas we noticed a considerable amount of common milkweed plants. Which was brought to my attention by my granddaughter. I consider milkweed a weed and would have started figuring out how to get rid of them.

milkweed3 She explained to me that her science teacher has encouraged her students to promote the common milkweed in the wild because the monarch butterfly seeks out milkweed as a habitat and an eating station. The larvae hatch and continue to live off the milkweed plants.

There is concern that the monarch butterfly is losing their habitat to climate change.  So this felt like a good project to foster a home for monarch butterflies and the idea to develop this weed patch into a wild flower garden became a reality. My granddaughter was excited to participate and I welcomed her help.

DaisyyellowWe started looking over the area noting several colorful wild flowers flourishing in the dense weed area. Why not make this into a wild flower garden alongside our vegetable garden? The garden would also provide the monarch butterfly a natural habitat.  So, we needed to identify the flowers since most of them were not familiar. Actually, they were familiar. In my past, I considered them weeds.

Flower9I am now experiencing a whole new appreciation for flowering weeds!  Their beauty will be constant since most wild flowers act like perennials and return each year. They may also benefit companion gardening.  My granddaughter, and my son have taken pictures of some of the flowers. If you recognize any of them, please share their name and information on their growing patterns. Any information will help us on our journey to build a wild flower garden.

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Three lessons on weeding

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Help! Help was my first thought as I entered the garden in mid June.  As we all feared might happen, the weeds are taking over.Even with GBS, we had decided that we would tackle the garden on our own this year. And the planting went well! We were feeling great about how quickly and how well the planting went!

Here's a view of the garden before we planted... isn't it lovely and WEED FREE?!

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Unfortunately, the one issue that just cannot be avoided is weeding! Where there was not adequate protection from weed growth, weeds have taken over.

One month later:

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So - here we are in early July and we are struggling with how to tackle the weeds, given my inability to weed - and my family's time constraints in helping. But - we did take some steps to prevent weeds - some of which have worked, and some have not (obviously).

Here are three lessons on weeding we've learned so far this summer:

1 - Control the amount of potential weed seeds by not cultivating deep. The deeper you cultivate the more seeds are available to germinate. Weed seeds are everywhere. If you mix up the soil too much you create more opportunities for the weed seeds to germinate. (Unfortunately, we cultivated too deep.) So - to combat our error in cultivation, our focus is on destroying any possibility of the weeds to continue to grow. We are mowing down the areas that weeds have taken over. At this point, the weeds had not gone to seed which should mean we use the greens as “green manure.” Then, we will continue to keep it mowed and turn the remains over with our tiller.

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2 -  Commercial mulching controls weeds by blocking the seeds and plants from the sun. They provide a neat appearance and it seems to work.

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One of the things we did this year in order to prevent weeds was to place a landscape fabric down to protect certain crops such as tomatoes, herbs and peppers

We used four different kinds of commercial weed prevention and mulch - and will share more about these in another post with our reviews (because if they're working for us given how little we're able to weed, they'll work for you)! And if they don't work... well, that's good to know, too.

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And 3 - Cover any other open areas with our natural mulch from the seedless hay and leaves that have been breaking down in mulch piles around the garden. This process should eliminate any weeds from receiving sunlight. It also provides enrichment to the soil as the mulch breaks down, as well as smothers the weeds and their seeds. Weeds do not grow and your soil takes in rich nutrients. We are learning a lot - especially in how to best prevent weed growth if you're not able to spend as much time in your garden, like us this year. We're excited to share more with you as we learn these lessons. Question for the future:

”How can I avoid the weeds from coming back so abundantly every year?”

WEEDING LESSONS