Monday, September 8, 2008

One Step Closer to Planting

This is sure taking longer than I thought! With the heat and the amount of physical labor involved I find I am limited by what I can do and what I can pay to have done. That being said, I am learning to ask people to help, whether I pay them or not, I am asking people I know, like my neighbors, to help me with the steps I cannot do myself. I suppose this is also part of the community building that goes along with such a bog project. I am just glad my first one of this scale is at my own home!

AND I am excited to announce the dead bermuda has been tilled and raked from the front yard. Eloy, who I met through our neighborhood community garden, had this great tractor/tiller. He lives so close he drove it over to my house and drove it over the lawn to till up the dead bermuda down to about 4-5 inches deep. Then he and another guy raked up the loosened grass and leveled the yard for me.

I had them take off some of the top soil as well, but the soil that was tilled up looks pretty good. I want to lower the garden beds from the driveway and sidewalk to keep the water on my lot. It ran off when I watered the grass so I knew it was high. Plus this will give me some room for amendments.

During the heavy rains this summer I took time to OBSERVE the water flow and puddling in my yard. I have a lot of water that runs off the roof, directed by 2 peaks on either side of the front porch cover, which is just an old aluminum roof. The dirt has eroded pretty deep. I can see the underside on the concrete footings of the porch. So I will build that up with some of the concrete debris I have from removing the brick path and use earthworks for the water to be diverted into the center of the yard where a future tree will be planted. This may not get done before planting.

Soil is heavy. It took two trips to the dump with my neighbor Kevin’s truck. What a great guy he is, he hired a few workers to shovel it all off my driveway and into his truck. They did a great job sweeping up afterwards as well.

And ALL of this happened when I was not at home! (I did get a chance to take a few pictures for my blog.) The only casualties were a few sprinkler heads, But now they I can get to them so easily with all the grass growing up into them, I was able to replace the broken heads myself.

I still have more to do before I plant my cover crop. I will order the compost tea through my friend Jennifer, buy the mustard green seeds (Don said Whole Foods has them in the sprouting section) and I still have some digging out of bermuda around the existing planter beds.

I will also do a jar test of the spoil to see how much clay, loam, silt and sand I have so I know how to amend it. That may mean a load of compost from Ken Singh.

I am targeting the weekend of September 20 & 21 to get the seeds in and tea sprayed. Anyone want to join me and learn how while I do, you are welcome. Just give me a call!

Doreen Pollack



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