Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday May 6

I harvested spinach (5 oz) and lettuce (17 oz) this week – the same two leafy vegetables I’ve been getting for about a month.  It won’t be long before the cole crops are ready, first kohlrabi then cabbage and broccoli. There's about one more pound of lettuce to get from the Earthbox, then in go the celery seedlings.  I'm finding that the Earthbox grows some really nice lettuce.

With the 10 day forecast looking promising I’ll seed a small patch of Provider green beans tomorrow.  This week I’ll start preparing the solanacae bed for the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  Those seedlings as well as okra and cucumber are growing under the lights right now. 

The gash in the levee from the recent hard rain has been repaired.  First the large wild rose bushes were cut down.  I got tangled up in the thorns a few times trying to crawl underneath the thorny canopy to reach the trunks with the chainsaw - working on a steep bank no less.   Since the rose canopy was a large ball of vines the best I could do was push the entire ball of foliage down the slope of the bank with a rake.  I realize now that the overgrown rose bushes were the problem.  They only anchor the soil around their trunks and the canopy is so dense that nothing else grows underneath, leaving areas of soil with no root system to anchor it. 

Once the rose bushes were out of the way I set concrete blocks into the gash, making several levels of crude retaining walls to help hold the new dirt in place.  Then it was time to add dirt.  The dirt was loaded into the cart, pulled with the garden tractor to the levee and then shoveled into the gash.  It took 8 yards of dirt to fill the gash and make a smooth slope.  This picture shows the first blocks put into the gash.  About 20 more blocks were added.

By Wednesday all the dirt was in place.  Since the dirt was delivered dry (much lighter than wet) it needed wetting.  To reach the repair with water I ran 125 feet of extension cords toward the levee, set up the pump and attached 130 feet of hose which just reached the far end of the repair.   That’s when I found that the dry soil would not absorb water very much water without forming rivulets of water that would eventually form channels.  I lightly watered the soil once an hour for the remainder of the day and several more times the following morning. 

The next day I seeded the soil with grass seed and tossed loose straw over it as well as I could.  I had bought a seeding mat, a 4 foot wide roll of netting that contains straw inside the netting.  Since the dirt on the slope was not walkable, I stitched together two pieces of the mat side by side with garden twine, using a nail as a needle.  The resulting 8 foot wide piece was laid on the bank and anchored at the top with pegs.  To help hold it in place I set some PVC pipe that the builder left behind on the whole affair.  Holes were drilled through the pipe at one end and rebar was inserted in the holes and tapped into the ground to hold the top end of the pipes in place.    

It’s been raining nearly all weekend.  Fortunately it has been a very slow rain and it looks like the repair has held together.  I think an intense downpour would have washed much of it away again, so a bullet has been dodged.  There’s still some minor repairs to do and the remaining dirt will be put on top of the levee to raise up a low place in the embankment.  I hope that I never have to do this ever again.      

1 comment:

kitsapFG said...

Wow, I would not have had a clue how to go about repairing that gash in the levee. Your lettuces look great. I find lettuce (and onions) are ideal container grown plants. They seem very happy to grow that way.

Post a Comment