Posts Tagged With: Projects

Of Life Events and Gardens

It has been a rather long and rather eventful month here at Transient Ranch (I should explain that I briefly considered calling it Mustang Ranch, but the implications were…less than ideal). People in the hospital, friends and family with relationships ending and beginning, legal issues that demanded our attention and the myriad of everyday things we call “life” all conspired to keep me away from the keyboard, though not from acquiring more projects. Anyway, I’m back and I want to share the progress of one of those ongoing projects with you.

The garden is in, finally, and it doesn’t look, at this point, as if we’re likely to lose anything with the possible exception of the asparagus.

Last year, I did not plant a fall garden, so the beds were a little overgrown when I started work on them for this spring. As you can tell, everything was left in the beds from last year, including the landscaping cloth and stakes for some of last year’s plants. They looked like this:

Needs work

Needs work

After cutting grass and weeds and removing the leftover stuff from last year, it was time to lay down new landscape cloth in the beds and mulch the walkways in between them. You’ll note that except for two smaller beds at the top left hand side of the picture, the beds run the full length of the garden. That makes them 34 feet long.

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Here it is, the walkways almost all mulched and with every bed ready to receive plants and its own mulch.

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Finally done, or close to it (still need to mulch that area to the left side of the garden). Plants in and homemade tomato cages in place.

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In a few days, I’ll go through and weed even the walkways and place the pavers, both for aesthetics and to keep my feet from getting quite so muddy if I have to go out there right after watering or rain.

A few other things. So far, I have placed 2 cubic yards of mulch in the garden and walkways. I estimate another yard will provide the cover I need as I add it to thin spots and “mulch out” a walkway on the left hand side of the garden. This year I purchased a new, state of the art, mulch transportation and delivery device. It’s been very useful.

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The pavers that will go in, shortly.

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Last year we grew, well, a lot varieties of everything, especially tomatoes and cucumbers. We discovered that as much as we like Italian food, we can’t grow enough Roma tomatoes to make sauce and adding other varieties to the sauce makes it far too wet. When it comes to cucumbers, the non pickling varieties are also too wet. This year, we are being more selective and limiting our varieties. Our plant selection looks like this:

PLANT VARIETIES
  • Black or Russian Krim tomatoes x 9
  • Red Brandywine tomato x1
  • Boston Pickling cucumbers x 8
  • Black Beauty zucchini x 2
  • Crook Neck squash x 2
  • Serrano, jalapeno, ancho/poblano, Anaheim, cayenne and bell peppers x 2 of each
  • Hale’s Best cantaloupe x 2
  • Asparagus x 18
  • Carrots, lettuce varieties, arugula, spinach and kale x a lot of each (we have rabbits, okay?)

Now comes the hard part…waiting for harvest.

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Garden Planning Update…Starter Boxes

WordPress likes me, today, so I was able to upload a couple of pics of the concrete forms I’m re-purposing as starter boxes. With 5 of them, I probably have more than I need, still, it’s nice to know I’ll be able to start everything without having to worry about containers.

5 starter boxes for the garden.

5 starter boxes for the garden.

They’re pretty big. Outside dimensions are 96″ x 16″. Inside, after taking the inner divisions into account, I wind up with about 88″ x 13.5″ of usable space in each one. With 5 boxes, that means I have 5940 sq inches. Wow! The 3/4″ plywood bottoms make them sorta heavy, but that’s okay. They aren’t likely to fall apart any time soon.

Inside a starter box

Inside a starter box

Later today, hopefully, I’ll be buying my seed starting mix and tomorrow the fun begins.

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The Mighty Mulberry Project

Ah, the around the house project. Travel is great but home is where we live, so the projects are inevitable. For those of us of the married persuasion, those projects are sometimes referred to (dare I say, derisively?) as a “honey do” list. In my case, it revolves largely around our back yard which has become sort of overgrown and neglected. The truth is, that to enjoy the benefits of an inviting back yard, you have to first put in the effort to make it that way. My wife and I like to cook and entertain. Eating outside can be a delightful addition to a meal shared with friends But our yard and patio need work. I’d like to say they need attention, but they need enough attention to call it work.

The first task was taking care of the rather large mulberry tree on one side of our yard. It’s a frequent dining spot for a woodpecker, which means it has a number of dead limbs and branches that attract bugs. It’s also sitting close to the house and one of the tool sheds. The challenge was reducing the risk of damage from falling branches while preserving the buffet for the woodpecker. With the help of a couple of friends, I removed the limbs most likely to fall. The best part is, I didn’t damage the house, the tool shed or myself!

The Mighty Mulberry, before removal of the dead and dying limbs.

The Mighty Mulberry, before removal of the dead and dying limbs.

Eventually, I had everything off that needed to be removed.

The now far less Mighty Mulberry. Notice that the buffet (dead branches) are still there for the woodpecker.

The now far less Mighty Mulberry. Notice that the buffet (dead branches) are still there for the woodpecker.

Now, we don’t only need to not worry about limbs falling onto the house or tool shed, but we also have wood for the fire pit.

A good amount of firewood...unless you need to heat and cook with it

A good amount of firewood…unless you need to heat and cook with it

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