Friday, April 25, 2014

Mushroom Equal Soil Life

Spring is here and the weather is warming.  All across the property mushrooms are cropping up.  Mushrooms indicate a good amount of fungi in the soil.  The fungi feed the plants.  Dozens of mushrooms are in the mint and lavender patch that is outside our front door.  For the last two years I have been laying down bark and pine shavings from the chicken coop.  The mushrooms look like Saint George mushrooms and the timing is right for them to appear.  Since, I'm not a mushroom expert I am not going to try to eat them.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Front Berry Bed

One of my daughter's favorite shows is Backyardigans. There is an episode that involves worms. For months she was obsessed with collecting worms around the yard. To get worms, meant digging.  After a few months of putting in a mini swale and digging in other areas, I was running out of places to dig. I decided to turn an area between the driveway and fence into another berry area. I figured we could dig a giant trench and find some worms.

It took a few weeks to dig a trench that was about 18 inches deep along the 30 foot stretch of fence.  The reason it took so long is my daughter had to collect her worms as we dug the trench together.  A three year old doesn't have the longest of attention spans.

Once the trench was dug, wood was buried with a mixture of alpaca manure and soil that was originally removed. The wife was happy to have the wood pile at the end of the driveway gone. The bed was then lined with cement blocks. In theory the cement blocks will hold up to accidents when someone backs into them. Go figure a few weeks after finishing, my dad backed his trailer into it and displaced the blocks slightly.  

The cement blocks have 3 x 6 inch holes in them. I tried transplanting some strawberries that went crazy in the garden area in the holes. The strawberries were growing in the wood bark path of the garden. It was simple to get a hand under them , pick them, and keep a lot of roots. I filled the holes with some potting soil and planted about 50 plants. A month later they are doing great.

In the bed itself, 3 rhubarb plants were planted. They are coming up nicely. For bushes I planted three elderberries and three goumis that fix nitrogen.