Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playin' in the dirt

The weather was beautiful today (high 60's) so I thought I'd get outside and see what I could get done. First, I turned the horse manure compost pile. The pile was smelling a bit like stagnant water when I dug into it yesterday so I figured it was time for some air. I skipped the plastic on the bottom this time as the plastic was a pain when I was turning the pile and the worst odor in the pile was the wet hay at the bottom, on top of the plastic. I think it's probably done enough to use when I am ready for it . There's still a fair amount of the paper bedding visible, but I think it's no different than the paper in a lasagna bed, so I'm not going to worry about it. I do kind of wish I had gotten the compost thermometer when I started the pile so I knew for sure what temperature it reached, but too late for that now. Oh well.

Next I started digging the holes for transplanting the lilacs that we'll be moving soon. There are 3 lilacs along the fence by the vegetable garden that I'm moving so I can add 3 more beds. This is how far I got...

I will admit, I was a bit tired from turning that pile but geez this ground is hard. The one farthest back got a good start but check out the one in the middle! It's about 2-3 inches deep! I just didn't have the strength to attack it with the San Angelo bar today. I'll try again tomorrow.

Here's a close-up of the nearest hole in the picture. The whitish colored area is where the shovel scraped against that layer that is about as hard as concrete. I dumped a couple gallons of water in each hole and called it good for the day. I'll see if the water softens it enough to dig out, otherwise I'll have to break out the bar. I suppose I'm due for a good upper arm workout anyway...

Yesterday's project ended with a bit more success than today's. I prepped a couple of additional spots for spring planting. One of these rings is for rhubarb and the other for zucchini. I'm going to make probably 2 more of these later.

I started with 10' pieces of metal landscape edging (I picked up a stack of it free a while back). My husband riveted them into circles for me. Since I put them on a slightly sloped area, I did have to dig around the edges a bit to level them somewhat though I didn't get terribly particular about it. Thankfully, this area was not near as hard as the spot I was digging today. I put the plastic trim on the top edge and hauled over some rocks to dress it up a bit. The rocks are from a large pile we picked up free last summer (Craigslist again). They look a bit like fire rings don't they??

This is what they're being filled with. Newspaper, spoiled hay, coffee grounds, some of the manure compost from the big pile and about 1/2 bucket of mostly finished compost from my regular bin (not pictured).

(Granny, that's my dumping garden cart that gets LOTS of use! It's how I move nearly everything out here!)

Campfire anyone?? Ok, this is the first layer, newspaper. The wind wasn't blowing a thousand miles per hour at that point, so I didn't have to wet it down first.

Next a couple inches of manure compost, then a layer of hay, which I attempted to wet down in the tote but I didn't let it sit long enough to absorb much apparently. Next a silver bag of coffee, a little compost, the other half cart of manure, the rest of the hay, and a plastic bag of coffee. I poked at it a bit with the cultivator so the coffee fell down into the hay so the coffee layer wasn't quite so thick, dumped the rest of the "hay" water on top and finished it off with a tote full of leaves.

After I filled the second one, I laid a piece of old fencing over the top weighted down with a piece of lumber so all the leaves don't blow away. Now we just have to wait for planting time!

1 comment:

Annie*s Granny said...

Amy, if you have any more digging to do in that hard soil, make yourself a water pick. We have dug all of our fence posts and planting holes in these concrete hard AZ soil with one, and they make the work so much easier. You can see the one we use at http://annieskitchengarden.blogspot.com/2008/11/november-10-2008-dumb-dumber.html


PS: Cool wagon!