Once Upon a Farm Homestead Happenings

TheFatBlueCat

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Today there is snow on the hills, and it's pretty cold. Cold is relative I know, we live in a pretty temperate region, it doesn't snow on the ground, just in the hills. The wind is pretty chilly, and it's been raining so that adds some dampness to it all. It's the sort of day you feel the chill in your bones. I am huddled inside by the fire, waiting for it to warm up enough to make working outside a bit more pleasant.

My outdoor jobs for the day are finishing hacking back the ivy that endlessly wants to take over my yard, and stacking tree prunings into one place ready for the chipper this weekend. I am trying to figure out what to do with the ivy. I can burn it, which is my preferred method, but I can't make a huge bonfire, more like a burn drum. I have a gigantic pile of the stuff, it would takes days or weeks to burn it all in drum. I may have to resort to taking it to the local greenwaste, but I do like to keep things cycling back onto the property rather than lose the nutrients out of the system. I'm toying with the idea of composting it, but don't currently have a hot composting system that I'd feel is effective enough to kill that stuff dead. Ivy is an incredibly impressive plant.... I have to give it that much respect. Have any of you had success killing ivy dead enough to let it near soil again? In the past I have laid it out on concrete in the sun, until it was all crispy. I've got too much for that right now, although I could do it in small batches I suppose.

If you would like to see what I've been working on in the garden last week, this is my latest video:

 

flowerbug

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i'm in a rambly mood this morning, so don't think i'm lecturing you, just running through the options and perhaps can save you some time. :)

if you can raise the ivy pile up so it is not in contact with the ground (even a chunk of thicker (thicker is better so holes won't happen too easily) black plastic on a slope so the water can drain if it rains will do) and then just leave it to dry as long as it takes before burying it.

i do not usually compost or chip anything here but after it has dried out enough it gets buried so the worms and other soil community creatures can figure it out for themselves. sure it could be used as mulch and i'd like to do such things here but Mom doesn't like the look of that on top of some gardens so i bury it instead. she does like the look of wood chips that we can get from a local mill so once every so many years we go off with a truck and pick up some of those and use them in some gardens (and i use the mostly or partially digested wood chip humus in the worm buckets and gardens).

to me burning is a waste and i have no real good place i would burn anything, plus i do not want to encourage Mom to burn anything because she lacks caution and has caused issues before (like me having to run on a too windy day into a field to smack out embers and small fires that she would have started).

i do keep a weed pile for bits of roots or seedy things but i don't compost that either. i just toss stuff on there and the birds and animals can pick through it as much as they'd like.

the other thing is that some weeds should not be burned (poison ivy, etc.) which can give off smoke that if breathed in can be really bad on the airways and lungs...
 

TheFatBlueCat

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i'm in a rambly mood this morning, so don't think i'm lecturing you, just running through the options and perhaps can save you some time. :)

if you can raise the ivy pile up so it is not in contact with the ground (even a chunk of thicker (thicker is better so holes won't happen too easily) black plastic on a slope so the water can drain if it rains will do) and then just leave it to dry as long as it takes before burying it.

i do not usually compost or chip anything here but after it has dried out enough it gets buried so the worms and other soil community creatures can figure it out for themselves. sure it could be used as mulch and i'd like to do such things here but Mom doesn't like the look of that on top of some gardens so i bury it instead. she does like the look of wood chips that we can get from a local mill so once every so many years we go off with a truck and pick up some of those and use them in some gardens (and i use the mostly or partially digested wood chip humus in the worm buckets and gardens).

to me burning is a waste and i have no real good place i would burn anything, plus i do not want to encourage Mom to burn anything because she lacks caution and has caused issues before (like me having to run on a too windy day into a field to smack out embers and small fires that she would have started).

i do keep a weed pile for bits of roots or seedy things but i don't compost that either. i just toss stuff on there and the birds and animals can pick through it as much as they'd like.

the other thing is that some weeds should not be burned (poison ivy, etc.) which can give off smoke that if breathed in can be really bad on the airways and lungs...
I hadn't considered using plastic, that's a good idea! I could make it do double duty by killing off the grass where I plan my next in ground garden to go. Thanks! We haven't got poison ivy here so I'm not worried about smoke fumes, but I'd always rather return organic matter to the soil. Burning is just the last resort as at least I retain the minerals in the ash and charcoal.
 

TheFatBlueCat

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It has been cold, it has been warm, must mean spring is on the way! On Saturday I had the last of my raised garden beds delivered. We had ordered wood for them to build ourselves as we did with our first two new beds, but the supplier wasn't able to get it in and I was getting worried with how close we are getting to planting time. We found a nice local outfit who makes garden beds out of the wood we wanted, so we just ordered those. This was a brilliant idea, they're great and we saved an entire weekend of building. I spent Sunday coating them with linseed oil to hopefully keep them in service a few years longer. I don't use pressure treated wood for garden beds. They're now ready for cardboard and wool to go in the bottom, then some rotting logs and woodchip mulch, then topsoil mixed with compost for the top layer. This will probably take me all week!

I am pretty excited about it. I have all sorts of garden beds tucked all over the property wherever I could make one, but now I'll have a concentrated area for high-value crops to grow, where I can more easily manage irrigation, crop covers and daily oversight. The reason I am going with raised beds in this area is because this section where the bark layer is, was a swimming pool we had covered over. It won't be suitable for growing anything in for years yet. It is filled in with soil but soil of questionable worth. It was a very large swimming pool with a large concrete area around it. The space is over 100 square meters (over 1000 square feet) now it is filled and cleared. It was quite the undertaking to get it to this point, but I am so happy about it now.

20230807_093609.jpg


The winter greens gardens almost ready for clearing to make way for spring crops. There's some garlic in there too!

20230807_093418.jpg


More concise view of the new garden bed arrangement:

20230807_093552.jpg
 
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TheFatBlueCat

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That's amazing! 👍. What's in the background? Appears to be a covered area with vines or young to trees of some sort ----?
It's a commercial apple orchard. I'll get some photos to share for those who aren't familiar with them :). The covers are to protect the apple crop from hail. They're actually fairly mature trees for a commercial orchard setting, they're dwarf trees at very close spacing and carefully pruned.
 
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