songbird's roost

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by songbird, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Terra

    Terra Moderator

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Elliot Traps are like Eco describes , many copies out there very effective at catching but not killing small animals .
     
  2. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Songbird;
    About thirty years ago in Arkansas I had a problem with potato beetles. I harvested a couple handfuls of them and put them in my blender that I used for shredding kitchen wastes. I added a few cups of water to the beetles, pureed them up, let them stand overnight, strained them and sprayed the stuff on my potatoes. That was the end of my beetle problem. The science behind this is "Every organism carries the seeds of it's own destruction" Imagine what would happen to a colony of people if a half-dozen people were killed, ground up and strewn in their midst. Same principle. I haven't had any problem with Japanese beetles with enough of them to use the same solution (no pun intended), but it might be worth your while to try it.

    Love to all'
    Uncle Ben
     
  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    thanks Benjy, the japanese beetles are long gone now and have been for about a month. once the beans were showing signs of being mostly done i didn't bother much more with picking them off the wild grape vines or the bean plants, and then we had some cold.

    we've had maybe 4 hard frosts now.

    planted garlic today. we'll see how my hand feels tonight/tomorrow...
     
  4. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    You know the beetles overwinter in the ground, lay their eggs which go through the pupa stage pretty deep underground. You can buy benneficial nemetodes that take out the grubs in their cocoons before they can become beetles. Of course they can come into your garden from some other area, but I believe the spray you can make up from them will work nicely on the next invasion.
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    i will not use such sprays here as they can affect other species of critters including butterflies...
     
  6. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    When I used the "ground up beetle" spray on my colorado potato beetle I didn't see any other insects or butterflies being affected. Most of us organic gardeners use the bacillus that kills tomato hornworms and cabbag loopers. My cabbage and broccoli would be eaten up if I didn't dust them occasionally. It's sold in most feed stores as "Dipel" here. When I see those little pale green, almost white cabbage looper butterflies, I get out the duster or count on eating worm-infested produce. These diseases are the natural enemies of the beetles and the process that I use only lets them multiply up to a population that is too much for their immune system, much like you walking into a room full of TB patients and letting them cough all over you. Now, a dog might be with you, but he might not be affected, just like the butterfly might not be affected by the microbe that makes the beetle ill and brings it down. I guess more studies will have to be made by folks smarter than I, but I didn't observe any problems.
     
  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    a more recent sat image

    From Google

    [​IMG]


    shows a few of the changes made since the last update from them...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  8. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    the trapped audience and learning opportunities...

    heehee, Ma and I have been working on clearing out a garden of irises. it has needed a lot of work the past few years because of the weeds that have invaded and the point that the soil is completely wrong for irises (mostly clay) and it is a bit low so that it stays too wet too long.

    at the rate we are going it is taking us two weeks to do this project. it isn't a particularly big garden, but the combination of soil and weed (sow thistle) makes for a very long task if you are not going to smother it. digging it a shovel at a time, separating the weed roots from the clay, finding all the pieces of root, getting the irises sorted out, making sure the weed roots are not in the iris roots that you are going to replant (some place else)... it's quite a task. luckily we've had pretty good weather the past few weeks for the most part. the past few days have been near perfect (for this late in the season they are greatly appreciated).

    after we'd finished the first half of the garden i tried to talk Ma into using another method to finish the second half, instead of taking five days to do we could have probably finished it in a day. but no. arg. so we continue doing things the slow and labor intensive manner.

    i will have to double dig the whole area again next spring to catch any stray bits of root that will sprout again, and also keep an eye on the whole patch so there is a good chance i will be able to plant beans in there next year and then follow the beans with garlic and onions the year after as that ways it is kept mostly clear and that lets us keep an eye on it to make sure the weeds do not get another chance to come back. a neighboring area used to be full of the sow thistle and i had to dig through it all to put in a drainage trench and then drain tube (when the ground was rock hard and dry several years ago) so back then i had a very good introduction into the sow thistle root structure and growing habits. it is not an easy plant to get rid of manually. when beating on a clump of clay to break it apart to get the weed roots out most weeds roots will stay intact, but sow thistle will shatter into several pieces if you hit it wrong... and each of those small pieces can be viable... we'll be tracking them down in this garden for a few years yet (not counting those that blow in on the wind).

    the middle part of the garden had bed frames which Ma liked to let morning glories run over them, but after seeing how the morning glories are spreading and causing a lot more work Ma was glad to have a reason to move the bed frames out of there and then getting rid of the morning glories and then finally we are able to get the irises dug up and moved and then all the weeds and weed roots out of there.

    not too many of the irises are in great shape, but bits of them remain and struggle along and a few flowers happen each year. i will have a lot of bits to replant and eventually they will turn into full sized regular plants and flowers... the fun is trying to find places for all of them...

    while we are working away we can talk about whatever, so i've been able to pass along the whale story from Bill M and many other tidbits of plant and worm lore. one thing for sure we're seeing a lot of worms in this area, along with a few night crawlers, each iris has a worm or two that takes up residence and eats the decaying parts of the iris as it dies back from the further end, so they make their own soil (like many other plants that share their sugars with the surrounding soil community), and the top layer of soil right under the irises is pretty nice compared to what the subsoil a few feet down looks like. some of those weed roots i do track down a full two feet. along with some of the alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil and red clover that has also wandered into these irises. quite interesting to be able to see the effect those nitrogen fixers break up and feed their soil community and how the worms tend to hang out, but also the healthiest irises are those that are near one of these nitrogen fixers, and the weeds are very healthy too. : )

    we've been entertained at times by a blue jay which wanders through. sometimes it sounds like it is trying to mimic us and our laughter, which gets us laughing harder. we have sunflower heads up for them to pick seeds. i suspect at times it is scolding us for being too near it's supply...

    my hand is a little sore, i'm hoping for a few days off Tue - Wed as the rains are forecast, but if not then we'll be back out there tomorrow for yet another day. two more days should do it for my part of this task. if it rains we may be forced to delay longer as it is tough to work in clay when it gets too wet. at least i'm used to it... i did a trench last year in large part using my hands and a trowel while standing in mud... i guess i'm crazy that ways.

    however, i have been able to bury some weeds and other greens and things that Ma would have thrown out to the weed piles. she is afraid that some of them will regrow. a few might, but they are all being put down pretty deeply, so it will take quite a bit to come up through all that clay. instead they are more likely to rot and be worm food. which based upon the subsoil down deep it could use a bit of organic matter and that will encourage the worms to stay on... which brings me to another topic. i'll do that in another post in another place. : )
     
  9. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    horse shoe garden project done for now

    in the picture from google posted a few notches down, you'll see in the top middle a horse shoe shaped area, with the pathway curving around (the open end faces east).

    in the middle of that area was the iris garden that we just finished weeding, we now have a wheelbarrow full of irises to replant elsewhere and the old space will be turned into veggie production for the next few years.

    all is not lost, the surrounding border is a mix of flowering perennials (mostly lavender) and the area at the closed end of the horseshoe is full of thyme and a few other flowering species too.

    as i look out my window it is snowing...
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    from under the heading "Why we don't vote" or "Why we don't trust politicians"

    https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2014/11/ballot-measures-and-the-heavy-hand-of-the-state.html

    oy!

    looks like both proposals have been voted NO, but results will be coming in for some time yet so i sure hope they don't both swing back to YES later...

    this state desperately needs wolves in many regards, and the population is still rather small and remote (in the UP of Michigan), i would like to see them back in the LP too, especially around here where there are so many deer.
     
  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    leaves

    some friends called up the other day and said they were going to bring by some leaves they'd raked and some buckets of ashes from their wood burning stove.

    i wasn't expecting to do any more yard work this season, but it turned out that day was one of the warmest we'd had recently. so i got out there and put the leaves down right away instead of having them in the garage all winter.

    a few more square feet were added to the garden i've been working at smothering some unwanted invasive plants. in a year or two the strawberries will take over as the leaves decay. underneath the leaves there's a layer of cardboard or heavy craft paper. this is a very remote garden back near the large drainage ditch and outside of the fenced area so i do not treat it as a formal garden.

    one large reason to try not to spend a lot of time back there is because it is along the large drainage ditch and the side of that ditch is planted in in a very sturdy and invasive grass that pushes into this garden. i've already decided that i will need to put in a barrier down deep into the soil to prevent the grass roots from pushing in all the time. this is in very heavy and solid clay, but the worms and plants still manage to find ways through. the worms i don't mind at all, but those grass roots are not easy to deal with. already the grass is taking over the northern end of the patch of strawberries and i'll have to renovate that. when the grass gets too close to the pathway it also means it can go under the pathway and into the fenced garden. when that happens i track it all down and dig the roots out again.

    we have another friend who says he has some material for us that we can use as weed barrier and so we'll see what that looks like. sometimes we just dig down and put a few layers of heavy black plastic as a barrier and that will work fine for many years as long as the sun does not get to it to degrade the plastic. but i hate using plastic of any kind. anyways, if this new material looks useful then i'll probably use it along the back part of that strawberry patch to keep the grasses from taking over again. more digging. :)
     
  12. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    sleeping in winter

    Things are really quiet here with the snow on the ground.

    By really quiet I mean that the most excitement I've had was to replace a worm bin that had a small leak. Plastic gets brittle with age.

    Since Christmas I'd been sick and had very little energy for much other than sleeping when I could. Finally I was able to get caught up on feeding the worms in their bins and seeing how they were getting along. They all seemed to be doing well. The bean pods I put in a month ago are being broken down and the worms are all through the bins from top to bottom.

    My most interesting experiment with the worms is to increase my native species that are the soil miners. They are down fairly deep quite a bit of the time when I find them in a garden if I'm renovating it (otherwise I don't dig much at all). As I do not know how well they would do in a bin, if the dirt was deep enough and there was enough of the other things that they might need to lay eggs, so it is purely an experiment to see if they would survive let alone have babies. In my last round of feeding and checking them out I did see eggs/cocoons, but I'm not sure if they are the species I desire in there or from others that might have been mixed in. Hopefully by spring I'll have an answer to that question.

    If it turns out that I can raise natives in the bins then I'll gradually shift more of the other bins to natives as I get a working population established. The current worms are working great and seem to flourish in any conditions I give them in the bins, so I doubt I will get rid of all of them, but I do not see them surviving out in the gardens through the seasons we have. The natives will at least have a better chance.

    Previously I'd tried to get a few of our native night crawlers to thrive and breed in captivity and was rewarded with a rare cocoon once in a great while, but they were not really doing well so I released them into a garden. They need quite a bit of space (a few cubic meters) for their burrows which they dig and expand as they grow themselves -- it is very hard for them to start over from scratch if the soil is deeply disturbed. Since I do still find them from time to time out there I consider it a good sign for other worm species too. Our high water table is likely a challenge for them to have deep enough burrows but when lined with clay perhaps they can keep the water out enough for their own comfort? What I do know is that it was barren before and they were not to be found and now there are some. Just would like that to be a lot more because they are such interesting and useful creatures.
     
  13. Australian Beekeeper

    Australian Beekeeper Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Nice work :) how do you keep your worms warm in the winter. Interested to hear your results with the native species :)
     
  14. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    they are right here. : ) i.e. in this room where i spend most of my time.

    these are older pictures now, but not much has really changed other than the number of bins has increased.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  15. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    last year i ran across someone who keeps chickens for eggs, but their e-mail address was out of date and so my e-mail to them bounced.

    i checked again the other day and they had a different listing up so i sent them an e-mail saying i had extra stuff at times they could use for chicken feed. had a reply that same day that they didn't have many chickens now, but would have more in the spring.

    they have land and connections to a few eateries and might be interested in sustainable systems of one kind or another. we'll see what happens... : )
     
  16. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    spring is finally here with the earliest flowers coming out. so good to see. rains have been coming along often enough that the gardens are too wet to do much, but i've managed to get two of the larger ones ready for planting and have started on the last one. not much more to do for many of the gardens as they were kept clear this winter. not my idea, but it happens. just have to do a little weeding and then plant.

    the last of the larger patches i'll get ready the next few weeks, i can put in some of the cooler weather seeds that won't mind a mild frost or some snow. it is still way too early to plant anything that is cold sensitive. another four to six weeks yet. i have gobs of onion seeds...

    moved some daffodils, not the right time to do it, but i have many already in other places and these were in the wrong place so it got done. they'll now be in the middle of a strawberry patch. discourages deer. needed to have them moved before i could get on with the rest of the work in that garden. now i have to figure out where i want to put the onion seeds and anything else.
     
  17. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    nice how some things work out

    forgive me if i repeat myself from elsewheres, but the past few weeks have been pretty busy and stressful too so i'm not always tracking what i write where...

    most of the larger gardens are coming along well and ready to be planted as soon as we get a week or two further along. some have already been planted with the more cold tolerant plants. some of the onion seeds have already sprouted and the flax is up.

    right now the strawberries and turnips are blooming. i leave some of the turnips from last year alone and a few survive the winter and make nice yellow flowers on stalks. the rhubarb attempted to bloom but i headed that off. i certainly don't want those to spread.

    in the north garden i had a low spot which collected water and also weeds and it being on top of heavy clay means it tended to get scummy algae at times too. i decided that i didn't want to weed it and had enough large chunks of cardboard which covered papers/newspapers to smother the area. and then i had to find things to hold the cardboard down. rocks we have, but most are already dedicated to covering where they are at, but i still used them with the intent to replace them. it gives us a chance to look at the rocks again. :)

    i get that done just in time for some rains, but it still needs some more cover. then i get a call from some friends who bring stuff by from time to time, their yard debris, leaves, chunks of wood and bark from cutting wood for their wood burner, etc. anyways, they call saying they have some bags of bark and chunks of wood for me. i had just gone in and was tired but said i would be up later if they wanted to drop the stuff off (i love people who bring me good stuff :) ). as it turned out to be 15 bags of bark, with some leaves and other wood chunks, sometimes they get a rotted piece of wood that they won't burn, but it works fine for us. all of this material will eventually make good topsoil as the worms break it down. and so there it was. like i planned it that ways.

    there were enough torn bags that i was able to scrape out the old woodchips and topsoil that was along a part of the north edge and put that uphill for some more elevation and then covered that edge with the torn bags and more of the chunks/leaves/etc.

    from both of these spots i will be able to harvest topsoil eventually as the worms and other animals break the wood apart and mix it with the clay.

    then a few days later, while looking at the old trash bin we have had sitting out back for many years that had two other large trash barrels stuck inside it, just taking up space, and as i'm looking at that i'm saying, "Hey that's a better way to move chunky material than the bags." which tend to rip easily. so i asked the friends if they'd want to use them instead and save the bags for leaves (this way they can be reused many times and that cost savings pays for the gas they burn to bring things over - plus i give them goodies from the gardens too). they said yes and we've already gotten them over to their place. the largest bin has wheels so that will help him move stuff too. we told them we didn't ever need the bins back... so yet another good thing that wasn't planned. :)

    today was nice out and i got plenty of stuff done, but i'm feeling a bit under the weather again so i hit my limit too early. any work i do on the far back strawberry patch is very much being done out of the sheer joy of being outside and listening to the birds, because the patch itself is getting overrun in places and so i have to smother or weed out things. the soil back there has been improved a great deal by taking a lot of leaves, pine needles, etc. and putting them back there. the strawberry plants are just a way to turn an area that is unfenced into something a little more productive and we get a lot of strawberries out of there now. considering how little time i spend back there it's a good trade off. the critters also take their share. i don't ever have to worry about giving back to nature here. it's quite willing to come right up and chomp quite a few berries, but luckily they are not very efficient at finding all of them so there is still plenty left. besides this is only one of three strawberry patches (and i'm starting the fourth because the first is going to need redoing or resting for a few years).

    the rhubard is looking good, i use it as a border plant more than an edible, but others like it and so i called them to say it was ready if they wanted some.

    always plenty more to do here, but for the most part i won't mind if the next few days are rainy. i can break almost all of the projects here into half hour or so to get them done and some times that is all i can squeak in. yesterday i managed to get the center of the horseshoe garden gone through and that was to get rid of the sow thistle that was poking up. i'm sure there's still more in there to get for sure. still it also gave me a chance to see how the soil was doing because i'd mixed in leaves and twigs and wood ashes a while ago. lots of big fat worms in there so i'm glad to see that. i dunno what will survive the critters being planted there. i'll try to get some beans and peas in there and later in the summer if nothing else works i can put garlic in. the irises that used to be in there are spread into several other places that will now have to be watched for those bits of sow thistle that went along for the ride. sometimes the roots get so intertwined that even if you think you've got them all out there's still some left...

    gobs of weeding to do. yes, i know that weeds are ok, in fact it's not me that really likes the bare dirt look around here, but i do my part to keep Ma happy and things looking tidy if i can. i just try to do things efficiently too. i'd much rather smother and mulch around plants as much as i can (like the above mentioned turning of the edges into worm farm and topsoil generators). to me that's a much better way to go. i have plenty of green stuff to chop and drop now along with many bins of worms and castings that will be going out into the gardens soon. it has been five years now that i've been doing that and those veggie gardens keep improving each year. when i get more native worms in my worm bins then eventually they will help things out there too. the non-native worms do ok, but they do not persist through the hot or cold spells we have.

    ok, i've rambled on enough here... :)
     
  18. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    strawberries coming in now, still getting other things planted and being busy weeding, some rains last night, yay! will be making freezer jam today and doing other indoors tasks...

    most of the worms went out to the gardens so i had to restart those and have shifted the largest container to being a native bin. that brings me up to two buckets and the large bin as being natives, so by next spring i should have a good supply to shift even more production to native species.

    the gardens are coming along well and i should get out and do a chop of the green manure patch to give those worms a feast. tons to finish planting yet...
     
  19. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    strawberries winding down.

    gardens all planted. a bit late on a few of them, so we'll see how the beans turn out, i always plant a mix of types because i don't know what the weather or season will be like, but this year i'm putting in more of the shorter season types that seem to do ok with 80-100 days.

    chopped the green manure patch back and it's grown so quickly since then i could chop it again in a few more weeks. some bare spots will be planted and some weeds in there should be taken out and i could do some trimming along the northeastern corner to give some flowers in there some more light. some garlic could also come out. i've been trying to get it all out of there but with how much was growing in there before there's always some left behind. have to make sure i get all of the tops off them before they drop the little bulbs all over the place. chopping the whole area back at least stopped the little bulbs from forming for now.

    thinning time for some of the veggie crops and replanting some spots that didn't sprout for the beans.

    i have some bulk seeds to use for various bare spots, the buckwheat is such a nice plant so i put some of that in to help the harder clay soils and the bees love it. field peas, radish and turnip seeds, old flower seeds i can scatter into some other areas so perhaps they'll start a few plants for more variety.

    weeding and getting some other projects going while the weather remains cool enough.

    this is my favorite part of the season, when i can putter and do whatever and not be stuck into any one task for long hours. it's a good time to get caught up on my projects that i work on for the longer term like trying to increase diversity or to thin back some plants so that others have a better chance or getting some problem weeds knocked back or some other project started that i've wanted to do.
     
  20. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    summer is going way too fast

    we've had pretty regular rains and some sunshine so the gardens are doing pretty well.

    i did get the large green manure patch chopped back about a week ago (it had already regrown to about 45cm) and a few days later did some chopping back of the honeysuckle trees and some tougher weeds along an edge. today i finally got the whole area weeded (it's much easier to weed after it gets chopped as then you don't have to fight your way through the tall plants). all of this activity gives me a chance to see how the soil itself is doing. over the past four years it has certainly improved, yet in places it is still compacted enough that it has moss growing -- that is ok, as i keep chopping and letting the worms work on the area and the plants keep growing tall and i introduce other plants and keep up with the weeding it is trending in the direction which i'm aiming. i like that in a project... :) the area is roughly 30 square meters of space so it has a lot of potential productivity beyond what it already provides (high nitrogen content green stuff for gardens and for the worm farm).

    the live trap finally came through for us. before it was not working very well and any creatures it might happen to capture ended up being able to push back out of it. after looking at it more closely i figured out why the latch was not closing properly. fixed that. now we've captured five groundhogs and three raccoons in about 5 days. they were then transported to an area where they could live without destroying my gardens. we also found out that raccoons will go after sunflower seeds as much as the groundhogs would so we didn't have the change the bait from the day time to the night time. it's been several days since i've seen any creature about that might be planning on raiding the gardens. which frees up a lot of time that i don't have to spend patrolling and chasing them away or transporting them.

    the difference between this year and last year is already large because by this time last year i had many gardens repeatedly munched on and so didn't get much of a harvest. this year only one of the plants looks like they got at it before i captured them.

    the bee hives that were placed on the neighboring property have kept our entire yard busy with honey bees this year. right now with so many things flowering it s very active out there.

    projects in the works for the next few weeks are to get a few of the gardens weeded again and to start renovating the back strawberry patch which continually gets invaded by grasses from the neighboring large drainage ditch. we'll have to put down some kind of root barrier about 40cm deep to keep the grass from coming back in again. also there is an invasive flowering plant that is nice but it takes over any garden it gets into so we need to get that turned under and the whole area needs to be weeded and then replanted with strawberries again. as a space we used to keep it bare of all plants i am much happier to have it producing fruit for us (and the critters too as we don't fence this garden off). this season alone we harvested about 40kg of strawberries from back there...

    the apple tree saplings are now taller than i am and i am planning for the fall project where i will be moving them from their temporary home back to the other side of the large drainage ditch which is our property, but as of yet has not been used for anything. i have some cutters which should be able to take down the honeysuckle bushes back there and then i can use those branches in piles around the transplanted saplings. right now all of the honeysuckle bushes are loaded with fruits.

    the strawberry harvest was about half the crop of last year but that was still plenty for us as i have jam put up plus we ate strawberry shortcake and fresh berries for about a month and still gave a lot of fruit away.

    ok, this break is over, time to get back out and get some more gardening done, perfect day out there... :)
     

Share This Page

-->