Solar Tracking

Solar Tracking
How low can you go? Snow and ice and cancelled school.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Raised bed in December


          Although I swore not to do any yard work in December, I could not stop myself when I woke up to a clear, bright, cold morning. Digging in the rain is vile—and counterproductive to soil structure—but tossing leaf mulch and weeding the fig tree on a sunny day is a different story.
            I started by turning over the soil in the two beds that had been chicken tractored already. The first, most recently occupied, bed had a layer of chicken straw and poop over the winter’s leaf mulch. It needed to be turned. The leaves, straw, spilled food, and poop will compact and turn anaerobic if left untouched all winter.  It smells nasty and nothing will grow in it come spring. But, if I give the whole bed a rough toss, mixing soil into the organic matter, it will all break down, slowly in January and February and quickly by April.  I turned the first bed and then gave the older bed, which had just a layer of leaves untouched a toss as well. All the while, the chickens were having a discussion; they wanted to dig around in the beds themselves. Before I moved on, I let them out.
      
      The second project involved prepping a bed for the coop. There were still a few top-less beets (Thank you, Bunzilla), a leek, and some parsnips hanging out in the soil. The beets and leek were harvested quickly, but the parsnips were a challenge. Several were huge, reaching down into the clay subsoil under the good garden dirt. I dig and scrambled and tugged until they came out.  Two required the pitchfork. Kayli the fluffy cat walked the fence line, calling me over to scratch behind her ears. I stopped to oblige, then gave the final bed a quick toss and went in for lunch.
      
      After lunch, I returned to clean up the hedgerow on the north side of the house. Our fig tree has been slowly growing in the strip of land between our house and the neighbor’s driveway, which is nice because it is an excellent screen in the summer. But, it also collects weed seeds and vines. I grubbed out small hazelnuts, a holly, several armloads of wild clematis, a nasty vine that was once a rose but is now a wiry green  thing with thorns, and some nightshades, filling a garbage can with rough compostables. I did NOT start to prune out the suckers, although I was tempted, because, after all, it is still December and I will not work in the yard during December.
           
           

     

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