Sunday, April 19, 2009

We've Got Peas!!!!

It was a cold, windy, rainy day early in March when we laid out our first mulch bed and planted peas in hopes that they would be convinced that Starbird Farm is a good place to live. Well, after all these cold, rainy days they finally have the courage to peek their little heads out.

In the four weeks since we put in this first bed, 20 feet long and 3 feet wide, we have been preparing 3 more beds which will be home to a variety of peas and beans. Yesterday, we planted a row of snow peas and put in a low fence to act as a trellis between the two rows.

We've also put in two blueberries, black currants, red currants, strawberries, and rhubarb. As an experiment, (which much of this garden is for us) we planted potatoes. All we did was chop a slit in the sod and stick a slip of potato in it. Once they start coming up and we can identify the plants we'll put down layers of newspaper and mulch around them to kill off the weeds.

In our greenhouse here at home we have tomatoes, squash, melons, and cabbage started in pots. Once the weather shows a warming, drying trend we will put them in the ground at Starbird Farm. Each plant will be planted in it's own mini-garden by digging a hole about the size of a small dinner plate, loosening the soil and adding compost with the plant. Again, we layer newspaper and mulch around these mini-gardens to kill off the weeds.

Yesterday we finished digging our well. It is about 3 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep. Next time we go out we will be stabilizing the sides by sinking a big tub with holes in it, dropping a few good sized rocks in it so it won't float to the surface, and shoring up the edges with more rocks. It's amazing how deep the roots go down. We were digging out roots down to about 3 feet!!!

I hope you are all as enthusiastic as we are about this. I would like to hear more about others' plans and methods.


  1. Wow! I'm impressed. I saw your fence and your little peas sticking up their heads. I'll look for your strawberries and blueberries. We already have blueberries, strawberries, currants, apples, plumbs and cherries at the house. Saturday we set six wood posts at the farm to which we will later add a couple of strands of 9-ga wire to support raspberries and boysenberries. We also dug holes for 5 hazelnut trees.

    I'm concerned about potatoes. I'll definitely plant some, but sod is the natural habitat for wireworm which also attacks potatoes, carrots and corn. I have set six wireworm traps which I will be watching closely for the critters. If I find a lot, I may re-think planting a lot of corn. I will definitely do a lot of broccoli. It freezes well and can also be induced to produce most of the winter.

    That grass is really tough. Where it was plowed with the moldboard plow,it is coming right back. The rototilled areas have barely broken up the sod. It is going to take a lot more cultivation or something to really cut the sod and give our vegies some root room.

  2. Hiya. Dean, I did another two passes over your plot to finish it up today with the tractor and tiller. I didn't hit your holes or marker poles figuring you wanted them there for something, but I just wasn't happy with the depth of till.
    That may provide your root room, but if you need me to make another pass with the plow and tiller, I'd be happy to do that for $40. That would take it down about 16" from its current 8".

    The canary grass is a rizome (that how you spell it?) based plant - so getting rid of it is very difficult unless you use roundup. It makes great forage grass for that reason -- animals can really mangle it and it comes right back. You can control it by mulching or shading; around the base of your raspberry plants under your rows, for instance.

    I have to admire the folks who didn't want their land tilled. They will not need that gym membership this year!