Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Garden Club Meeting this coming Friday 29th.

Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at 6:21 PM
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  • I resumed work on the garden beds last night. While the first three were 3 foot wide the next two will be 4 foot wide to accommodate three rows of corn each with soybeans and some squash inter-planted.

    The remaining two beds will be short and probably planted in other forms of squash, but the plan has not crystallized yet. At the end of each row is a 4 foot Mini-bed that will be planted with a wide variety of flower seeds I have from seed swaps at Weed'em and Reap and the Middle Tennessee plant swap.

    Speaking of the Plant Swap, one will be coming up soon.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Mar 28, 2013, at 12:55 PM
  • Are you actually putting seeds in the ground? My soil is wet and looks like will get wetter this weekend. The tomato plants at Wal-Mart have bitten the dust but cabbage, herbs, etc. still looked good. I don't think they would do well in mud though.

    -- Posted by jbillswms on Thu, Mar 28, 2013, at 9:06 PM
  • Yes and no. I have peas in the ground about 2-3" high now, but my first round failed. I think that was seed viability more than conditions.

    Last year I curtailed my garden by more than half to "re-stablish" their organic content. Our clay soil combined with Tennessee's heat burned up most of what I had built in.

    It seems to be a constant battle but this year will be the year that I start method Ruth Stout made so popular years ago, mulch, mulch, and more more mulch. Actually continuous mulch.

    One of our garden club members does it and we all know the stories we get from her garden. :-) But I believe every one of them.

    It is just in out heat, it needs to be done on a regular basis. The microbes that break mulch down are very active in warm weather.

    So, last year I mixed probably a ton of wood chips into the soil. This reduced the nitrogen available to plants so I selectively planted a few veggies and supplemented their roots with blood meal and fish emulsion to boost nitrogen.

    The one thing that went like gang busters was okra. The squash did OK but the tomatoes languished. I could have fed them more, but I have an issue with spending a lot of money on continuous sustenance, so once they got going, they were on their own.

    This year my clay soil is a nice mix of soil, at least down at least 8-10 inches and I can work in it now. Once I get past that, I am quickly reminded of how wet and tough clay can be. It is good for holding the moisture and releasing it back but it is @#$* to work with.

    I saw a discussion about improving clay soil a while back and this one man decided the best way to work with it is to dig it out and throw it in the woods. I could not help but smile and nod my head a bit.

    If I can keep a solid layer of mixed mulch on top from here on I will entrust the tilling of the clay further down to the worms. They can eat the rotted mulch and carry it down to the clay in their holes.

    I am pleased to say that I do have a nice crop of worms this year. I am not tilling, just digging the walkways which will be filled in with wood chips. I expect that to rot down and continuously feed the beds on either side, as well as hold moisture.

    These beds used to have bad erosion gullies after heavy rains, but changing the direction of the beds and having these "walkways" recessed into the garden seem to have stopped the worst so far.

    I used to have full-fledged raised beds, but they dried out so fast and had to be edged with wood, blocks or something else. Now my "raised" beds are recessed into the ground with only a few inches above normal ground level.

    If, but probably when I go to raised beds again, I believe it will be cinder block based. I say "based" because I like to experiment with other materials but I like the durability and flexibility of blocks.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 29, 2013, at 8:26 AM
  • I planted a long row of beets last fall to see if they would overwinter then start this spring. So far, nothing but again, I am a bad hoarder of unused seed so I bought some fresh and will plant a row within about 6" of the other to see which one comes up.

    In fact, I think I will go do that now before the rains come in earnest.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 29, 2013, at 1:37 PM
  • Well, that did not take too long, about 35 minutes and that was with some weeding in between the garlic. I had to keep muttering to myself that weeds are plants that are just in the wrong place since these were some wildflowers self-sown from last year.

    I decided to start with a row of beets about 25 feet long. Half of it was sown with Detroit Dark Red and the other Crosby. I figured that was enough to come in around the same time anyway.

    jbillswms you asked about being able to work in the garden. Loosening the soil was good but I still used a potting soil to cover because the soil was a little too wet to get good coverage around the seed.

    As I was scooping this potting soil out of the bag I ran into a clump of peat moss or at least thought it was, so I started to crumble it with my hands. When it started to take a little shape I decided I better check it out, just in case one of our cats had decided to leave me a surprise. Luckily, it was just clay inside the potting soil. Whew!

    Speaking of CATS. I found out this week that I have a strong allergic reaction to cats! I was tested years ago and did not show any signs.

    I guess being immersed in them for this many years changed that. My wife wants to know where I am going to live now.

    The 18 outside cats have the garage and the four inside/outside are pretty settled in so I guess that leaves me the shed. However, they do like to sit on my tractor, so.... maybe I need to build something for me. :-)

    Speaking again of cats, another of our semi-feral females had her trip to the vet today. She spent the night in one of our bathrooms and I thought she had pulled a Houdini.

    We both searched the bathroom, looked in the cabinets in case she had pulled a door open and slipped in, searched the shelves and Deb finally found her under a plastic shopping bag we brought in to clean her litter box. Obviously, she is not a big cat.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 29, 2013, at 2:33 PM
  • I'll be there tonight if I can get a ride. If not,have fun and I'll try to catch y'all on the flip side.

    -- Posted by quantumcat on Fri, Mar 29, 2013, at 4:59 PM
  • I am thinking of you all. Just have not felt up to snuff. Battling a lot of infections this year.

    -- Posted by cherokee2 on Sat, Mar 30, 2013, at 4:28 AM
  • I guess us indoor gardeners better be careful from now on.


    -- Posted by cherokee2 on Sat, Mar 30, 2013, at 9:09 AM
  • Yikes! I better turn off my florescent lights tonight! Of course, they could just look in the greenhouse windows and we don't have a basement, but.....

    I don't begrudge law enforcement doing their job, but this particular case sounds like someone goofed big time. They are lucky no one had a heart attack from the ordeal.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Mar 30, 2013, at 4:32 PM
  • cherokee2 your walking onions walked out of my washing machine. Just in case someone forgets, I filled an antique washing machine with soil and using it as a planter. Some of those little buggers must have fallen between the slats in my wood deck.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Mar 30, 2013, at 4:34 PM
  • hey Steve, trying to blog again and set up a online subscription, but it won't let me go to post anything. can you help? Lesa Cox

    -- Posted by 4fabfelinez on Sun, Mar 31, 2013, at 5:38 PM
  • fixed it .. thanks !!

    -- Posted by 4fabfelinez on Sun, Mar 31, 2013, at 7:31 PM
  • That was easy. Always glad to help. LOL

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Apr 1, 2013, at 9:40 AM
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