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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Garden, drains, water, snow, frost and other spring stuff

Spring is volatile.
It's good for earth work, earth work testing and earth building.

Only cold tolerant plants live through our weather in spring. We have them grow and freeze multiple times, we have them hit with snow, but frost is the most common. They do thaw out all right so...
Having rocks with micro climate does help. And mulch helps too.

 Rock and thermal mass micro-climates (rock, large earthenware pots with dirt)
 Smaller rocks for smaller low growing plants (and parsley weeds :)... at least that's edible)
 Large rock creates successful micro-climate for lavender and other side has perennial gladiolas...

 Mid-early tulips, they come late March when our last hard frost date is May 20-th r so
 Another large rock creates micro-climate for herbs (mint, terragon, winter savory, parsley) and day lily.
Tulips and some other spring bulbs propagation site.
 Galantiums. Froze mid-late April, again :). Thy get frozen over 10 times just in April...
 Cold hardy vegetables frozen. They do thaw out...
 Same happens with onions, that tough like nails variety comes out early March and gets full size by Mid April almost a month before last frost date...
 Frozen sorel. It does thaw out and does get sweeter... Not a bad thing in the end...
 Strawberry do not like it much but they do ok... if red robins do not help a lot with the harvest...
 Covers before the storm (2 feet of snow expected)

Caragana after several frosts. so far it does tough it out ok.
 Peas. they are small this year. Lived through several snow storms.
 Frozen strawberry :). Blooming, our spring normal is exactly that

New gardens completed

Keyhole garden description is here.
finished ready to be used gardens are like so:

Lasagna in progress (only horse poop layer pictures are missing, but who would complain about that :) )
Step 1 general shape with wood chips and manure and wood chips
 Leaves and grass materials
 Application of layers
 Here are 3 layers how they get applied up the spiral

Wood chips go after that. Compost goes on top
And mulch is the final cover

This is how finished beds look like.
There are 3 types. Alpine-like mound. It does hide some decent concrete and is the lasagna experiment over concrete..

Keyhole: lasagna with working compost pile in the center

And the spiral: lasagna with water control.

I'm thinking do I want to set it up with ollas irrigation... clay pots based, automatic, gravity fed...
If I'll get to it this year

Now the french drains and dry creek. 
Big storm test. Some were reporting baseball size hail, did not get any of those thankfully, got smaller ones, not many either.
weeded that, on time, sort off... weeds served as temp barrier while I was cleaning that old pine bark (hate that stuff for mulch, prev owners landscapers did not know any better...) Some of it needs fixing to have it deeper  bit, but it does the job.
Main dry creek working

 Here is the new part working the flood water
 Here is the highlighted place where the french drains overflow kicks in, pretty visible
 And here s where french drain comes out to the lover pasture mulched area and overflow gets absorbed on the property bu many many woodchips. there s a foot of that at least.

Here is not all the way finished dry creek 2 at very beginning of rain and hail storm
 Temp dig to finished area.
 Here is finished area with overflow pit. The size was adequate. But the rain was not 1000 years flood either, more like a usual one, so the system does hold and did not even come close overfilling
 Temp dry creek 2 filling in

 Overflow receiver working, where water does not show that's where French drains are working and water lands into a giant rock pit
 Right here. At the side is passive irrigation bet with some weeds (to be killed) and planted sunchokes.

And result - dry road in the rain storm capable of receiving a heavy truck. So I'm ok with what was done.
This storm did not get my secondary french drain line of defense triggered. Those are more for 100 years flood kind of a case. They were triggered 3 times last year. And we did have 1000 years flood when entire property was under 2 inches of standing water. That's what started whole earth shaping and drainage project... existing system was not large enough and was dumping the water in sort of wrong places... at least it was not designed for any extensions like garden and orchard and other useful things :). Now it is.
Normal flood we can manage now easy enough.
Nothing gets anywhere near building or dirt road for now. And it's quite an improvement compared to last year when back of the property was no truck accessible till July or so. Now we yet to see the trouble bad enough for a truck to be stuck in there.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Spring continues... May in February, February in May...

May in February, February in May...   yeah, sounds kind of normal

Meaning that... typical may... Snow and hard freeze... that was the beginning of snow, got couple feet, was all melted ... no complains about extra moisture... Had to cover some... It was ok in the end...
Not likely to have apple heaven or currents heaven, some of my young apple trees were caught in full bloom by this... One can do only so much with much, after 3 weeks in 70F+ and some freezes at night trees did wake up. All my honeylocust if freeze shot but they will be back.

 So with the weather like that hen in garage... dusty...
 Raspberries in garage as well... if I'd transplant them before that snow they would be good and dead, to much sock.

My spiral and african garden are completed.
Tried to make a decent shot of a spiral... but one would need a drone or something to go way up there...
These are before the final layer of mulch on them. Under that compost layer is lasagna garden proper.
wood chips, manure, grass, compost, wood chips, compost

Here is how one gets compost :)... if you do not have a truck... if you do its all easy :)

And here is how I get compost done.... on site :) it will be a good one, eventually when I layer it and get it do the thing for a year

Why would I get compost from hot composting some place else? Because it's an innoculant, I have my critters in mine, that other one has others, I need the diversity.
So lasagnas get seeded by compost tea, I'll do that as soon as we are past the deep freezes again...

Lilac before the snow. It did hate it, but it will be back good next year. It got used to it :)
Some more mid April before the snow hit photos.
Most of it was just fine, some got frost shot but they almost recover...
And the weeds came... og boy, I need to get some of cheat grass and bindweed before it gets me big.