Sunday, April 15, 2012


Not much came out of the beds this week, just 8 oz of radishes.  There’s a lag time between the spinach plants that overwintered – just two made it – and the spinach that was planted early this spring, leaving me bereft of spinach for a week or two.  Snap peas are about ready to begin their climb up the trellis, some cole crops are progressing, and I’ll put potatoes in when after the soil dries out a little.

Today I’m resting.  The past week I’ve been working on building a flower bed over the two septic tanks.  The installer probably wanted to get the tanks as high as possible in order to have enough fall out to the septic field.  There’s about four to five inches of soil over the tanks, not enough to sustain healthy sod.  Every summer the grass over the tanks turns brown then dies.  Two years ago I built a terraced bed that is open on one side into the slope over one of the tanks, then planted some bushes around the tank.  I realized that I needed to completely enclose the bed over both tanks or have to deal with an ugly patch of yard every year.
The bed was layed out with stakes and a trench for the the edgers was dug.  The edge of the bed will be made from scalloped concrete edgers where the ground is more or less level.  The terracing was made with three rows of limestone blocks. I’m going to add one more row of block to the existing terrace then continue around with edgers.  The block is from a quarry in Bloomington, where they sell the reject blocks for a penny a pound.  Hard to pass up a deal like that.  
After the edge structure is finished I’ll get some topsoil/compost and dig it in the bed.  I’m hoping to raise the bed another three inches.  Then it’s time to put in some plants.  The parts of the bed around the tanks can be planted with some perennials, and I’ll put in groundcover over the tanks.  (If anyone can recommend a tough groundcover that can survive moisture extremes I’m listening).  It will take a few years to get everything established.
I planted two apple trees last week.  Don’t know why I did not think of this a few years ago, but I realized that there is a sunny area on the slope toward the pond with enough room for two trees.  I purchased Golden Delicious and Fuji semi-dwarf trees, both of which are supposed to bear in mid-fall, so they should pollinate each other well.  Maybe I went overboard when planting these trees, but this is clay soil and it needs to be amended.  I dug a hole about two feet in diameter and two feet deep and mixed the soil with four bags of compost, then set in the tree after unbounding the roots.  This is the Fuji.  I pruned lightly since it’s a little late to plant them, and will get serious about pruning them early next spring. 
This is a spreader that I made for the Golden Delicious.  This tree had two leaders very close together so I decided to just forget about a central leader and train the tree as a fork (if that makes any sense).  The spreader is just a ¼” thick piece of wood with some holes drilled near the ends.  Tie straps are fed through the holes and around the branches.  I’ll ratchet the straps a little more every week until the branches are at a 45 degree angle.  The straps should probably go through some sort of sleeve since they might abrade the tree somewhat.    

1 comment:

kitsapFG said...

You have been working hard! I promised myself I would focus on the front landscaping area this coming week and not fuss with the garden much at all. I have ten rhodies to plant to fill in the area we cleared of tall trees and I have our front containers of flowers (on the deck and hanging baskets) and a whole long retaining wall bed that needs completely reworked with new plantings. Should look marvelous once finished but lots of work to do. I kind of ignored the front for the most part last year and it was looking pretty scruffy as a result.

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