Monday, May 2, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - Weekend Update

Ok, it's been a week since the last update. Mostly because I haven't done anything... it took me all week to recover!

On Saturday, we finally had a break from the rain and I was able to mow. It's not that I mind mowing, it's that I dislike that it's a requirement and wasteful of time and fuel. However, until I accumulate the soil amendments and am able to start my mini guilds, it's a necessary evil. The best answer is to nurture the land so that it can heal itself over time. I also don't like relying on external inputs. Any oil disruptions and the mowing is no longer a doable task and the weeds will choke out all the plants I've put in so far.

Also on Saturday, I got about a dozen small strawberry plants that have overrun my original practice beds out at Granny's farm. Strawberries make for an excellent groundcover. In the process of digging one of them up, I discovered a tiny (about the size of a dime) Calvatia gigantea preparing to burst above the surface. I didn't have my phone nearby, so, sorry, no picture. I did use this as an opportunity to "seed" my current mulch pile with the mycelia though!

While digging up the strawberries, I noticed a couple of other plants with markers. One was extremely faded but I could barely make out "Chrysanthemum cinquefolium". Not quite sure why I used that name. I did a quick web lookup when I remembered it was Pyrethrum which is classified as either Tanacetum (or Chrysanthemum) cinerariifolium. The other marker was completely faded, but I brought it home anyway. In another keyhole bed at Granny's, I noticed where I had dug up all my Helianthus tuberosus that I clearly didn't get all of them! Six healthy plants were sprouting.

3 Yacon in the back and fig in the front
I finished Saturday up transplanting some Polymnia edulis and a Ficus carica "Chicago Hardy"  into some containers since they don't like our cold winters.

New hoop houses holding up just fine in the strong winds!

Saturday night through Sunday afternoon visited us with rain. Again. After it cleared up, I followed the advice of my friend Tony and built two 4' x 4' hoop houses, not with PVC like my first attempt, but with 8' (x 4' 6") lengths of cattle panels. The panels were $1/ft so the price was about the same as using the PVC but the heavy gauge wire made it much sturdier. Another improvement I made was to wrap the bottom of the plastic around 4' long pieces of wood trim and put it on the inside of the bed. Of course, this was all done in 25 mph winds so my two youngest helped me keep the plastic from flying away like a giant kite. One small problem with using the cattle panels is that the metal poked through the plastic in a couple places pretty easily. The holes were small so I think this type works much better. After finishing the hoops, I planted 6 tomato plants and 3 peppers in each raised bed. I still have 36 'maters left to plant. Hmm.

Six tomatoes and one of the three peppers - all happy out of the wind.
All this digging and rolling around on the ground makes for a dirty boy!

Not sure why it's not visible, but my hands, arms, head, and face were just as dirty as my pants.

I don't know how my oldest daughter took this picture, but I really do have normal length legs.

Plan for this week: mark and plant the potted fruit trees. I also haven't received shipping confirmation for my 85 other trees, so they'll be a priority if they come in.