Work, Baby, Work

We’ve been really busy just cleaning the place up a bit. Everything is overgrown and desperate for water. We started on the trees first and now we moved onto pruning smaller plantings. First was the front of the house:

This is the view of the house from the “front yard” and I can’t believe that you can see it now! My dilemma in coming up with a garden design has been what to do with a space of this size; I mean, the size of it, right?! The original plan was to create an area (in the front) that could serve as a neighborhood garden, yet this yard is completely enclosed and littered with walnut trees. Back to the drawing board…

I was able to get the yard in the back mowed (a little bit more) and noticed that there is a large area in back of the trees that is perfect for starting the first part of our market garden. That way I won’t have to worry about waiting for trees to be cut. At least two rows of trees will need to come out for the rest of the garden though.

This area will be the start of the market garden – exciting to say the least. I will get this watered and then start using the disks to dig things up a bit. We’ll be looking for a tiller attachment for the tractor so we can use it to work in compost and/or manure, depending on the soils report. And we just discovered a place that gives away free horse manure. Cool!

I’ve marked off an area to disk and till that will allow 50×4 ft rows for planting garlic, onions and winter plantings later this year. I’m going to try the “no tilling” method after the land has been prepared for the first time, in which you mulch everything, compact the pathways, add irrigation and just try not to disturb too much as you plant and harvest. The mulch will feed the soil and keep weeds down. (Based on the article: Maintain a Weedless Organic Garden, by Lee Reich; Mother Earth News magazine.) This will help the soil to retain the necessary nutrients for the following year’s plantings – according to my crop rotation plan.

So this is the before pic:

And here is the after:

After first disking this area I noticed that it kept getting larger and larger… then I realized that the disk attachment causes the tractor to “swerve” a bit, preventing a straight line. It pushes the tractor slightly to one side and so the easiest thing to do is to allow the tractor to move forward in an off kilter fashion by moving the steering wheel back and forth. Imagine the front end of the tractor slightly pointing to the right, yet moving straight ahead! Strange, huh?

I still have trouble attaching the disks and mower to the tractor. It is so much easier with two people since you have to get the pinholes lined up just right. (These are not technical terms folks. Don’t quote me, please.) It may also have something to do with the tractor being in its prime and not brand new..? But it works FAB just the same and was a fraction of the cost of a new one. We plan to hit up farm auctions and stay on top of Craig’s List to buy more implements and machinery. It’s the only way to go!

I had to water the ground before-hand and this side became a little muddy and disking it became too tough. So I will do one more pass with the disk before we add manure. After adding the amendments, it all gets tilled. All I have to say is, “yeah baby!”

Gotta long way to go! We’ll keep ya updated.