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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2 Farming Update

As I type this, it is one degree outside with a "feels like" of -12. Greeeeeaaaaaatttt.

Last Sunday was the first time we've both gotten really excited to work on the house together. Seperately, yes; together, not usually.

We went to Home Depot (I hate spending money at big box stores, but we have gift cards!), and dropped about $170 on a rain barrel, bag of peat moss and 6 bags of steer manure to work into the garden. Although we're on the valley floor, in what was once wheat fields, Bozeman has pretty clay-ey soil, and I wanted to at least try to amend it before planting vegetables.

I pulled the drip lines back, poured the bags out, and spent 2 hours spading over all of the dirt in the garden area.

There are some pretty big riverbed rocks in our garden area, and I kept tossing them out of the garden and piling them in areas to get them out of my way. I'm not picky enough to want to get every rock out, but some were in my way as I raked the peat and maure out.

Harlow, being a good helper-dog, observed, teathered to her post, which she's not too fond of.

Once I got everything worked into the soil, I decided that the slope of our garden area bothered me. It was hard to keep your footing in some areas, and slippery when muddy. So I glanced at the rocks, and decided to use them to terrace the space.

You can see that I didn't get totally finished; a project for this weekend! But the little enclosed area will be flowers (there are bulbs planted already), first terrace spinach, lettuce, carrots, shallots, onions, etc. Second terrace tomato and pepper plants, third terrace corn, pumpkin, squashes (zucchini, summer and winter squash) and potatoes.

In a fit of optimisim (see also: it's 1 degree outside right now), I also planted some cool weather crops. I put in spinach, basil, lettuce and carrots , using the sprinkler head flags as markers for where my rows are.

The flags were a nice reminder of what I'd planted yesterday morning, when an inch of snow covered my rows. I have to keep reminding myself that snow is Bozeman's version of spring rain!

During my fit of gardening, DJ worked on installing the rain barrel. The rain chain on the northeast corner of our house moves a lot of water, and the area doesn't have as much positive slope as I'd like. We also thought  that a rain chain and hose under the deck out to the garden area would be useful. The sprinkler system has drip lines to the garden area, but we can shut this portion of the system off and water with the rain when feasible.
While at Home Depot we talked about what we should stand the rain barrel on; some kind of stand to get it out of the mud, but then decided that we'll probably put landscaping felt down, and then rock in this area with hostas to minimize mud. And we weren't quite up for that task on Sunday, so we just bought the rain barrel. Eventually we'll make this less of a mud bog.

This weekend I'll finish the terracing in the garden, and we'll hash out more of a plan for plantings. In  related news, it turns out the City is giving FREE street trees to new construction, so our Elm will be totally gratis, with installation! Wohoo!

And lastly, I've got bulbs pushing through all over the place. The crocus just needs a day of warm weather to bloom by the front steps, although it's still pushing through in other places.
What's funny is that I definately remember planting bulbs in at least groups of three or five, yet in some places only one bulb is coming up... especially with the tulips. Darn.

Happy Friday!

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