So what have I been doing on the holiday? Looking at this mint I grew from seed from Diggers.
And cutting it to dry to make tea.
Looking at my veggie gardens and being driven to despair…
So I called my brother-in-law Frank in. He’s like a builder/handyman type of guy. (Plus I didn’t have an electric drill to put the chicken tractor together.) I decided that I simply don’t have the time to keep the weeds under control, so I may as well just bite the bullet and start getting spaces around the garden fixed up as I mean to continue. Even though I’m attacking the mortgage all guns blazing, I still don’t feel happy if a year goes by and I haven’t done some work on the infrastructure here. I decided to totally weed mat the entire section. Dig in fox/weed barriers around the entire perimeter. Lay down pavers around 3 garden beds the size of the chicken tractor. Then cut out the weed mat in the garden beds. It’s a shame in that I’ve done a lot of work on the soil in this garden, but at present the weeds are pretty much the only things getting the benefit and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future. So practicality wins out.
While Frank was doing his thing, he gave Ryan18 the drill and set him to work on the chicken tractor. He also hired him to dig some holes to concrete some patches in the path, which made Ryan18 happy because he earned $$.
At the end of the day, here’s the result. Most of the pavers were given to me by G from work, when she had about 30 left over from a project at her place. They’ve been sitting in my garage for over a year, just waiting for the right job. I wasn’t at home when the job was done and I got home after dark. I had to wait till the next morning to walk out and see the result. I can’t tell you how fantastic it was to see NO MORE WEEDS.
The photo was taken after I had an afternoon to start preparing one of the garden beds, so that’s why there’s pea straw there. I put down MASSIVE amounts of cardboard (thank-you thermomix owners!) and newspaper that I’ve had sitting in the garage for 2 years when I brought home piles of them from work to make no-dig garden beds in the front yard. (Still be be done.) Of course this bottom layer is to stop weeds from coming through. The trouble is, it’s going to stop worms trundling their way through the garden beds for ages and ages, so I’ll probably raid the freezer worm farm and put my babies to work out in the ‘wild’. Then I’ve got green leaves from my ex-husband’s fruit shop, thanks to Tom21 who brought a big boxful of them home with him for me. This was mixed with all the potting mix I had, with Dynamic Lifter and aged cow manure. Then I dumped a whole bale of pea straw on top. I figure I’ll let that do its thing for a season or so. It was only this morning that I realised I forgot to sprinkle some rock dust through. Typically me to forget something.
And here’s the chook tractor in position. It has to be propped up by bricks to raise it to a level above the garden beds so the door can be opened, but that’s no drama. There’s a possibility I may be able to get some baby chicks from school once the year 7s have finished weighing them, raising them and generally harassing them, so if that happens I figure I’ll put them in here to live. They won’t know any differently so they’ll be happy. My older gerls would hate to be so cramped up, so they’ll stay in the chook run. Even though it looks small, it’s still far bigger than in a battery hen cage, so they’re still going to be lucky little chookies. This cage fits 2 -3 chooks.
Here’s a view of next door – the left hand garden bed. Frank says he can come back in January to do a similar thing. Looking at this, I have to agree that it’s a good idea.
I’m also planning to convert my apple ‘orchard’ to a no dig garden bed. Ryan19 can’t easily get the mower in there any more and I’m worried he’ll end up ringbarking the trees. Seeing as Frank is already here, I’m getting him to put in a little barrier ro run around the outside of the garden bed, just to discourage the grass and to give the mulch something to lean up against. I had a vague idea in my head about what I was going to do and then I woke up this morning and this was in my Feedly. The internet provides yet again!
We had a huge storm the night before last. Gale force winds the like of which I’ve rarely seen. Turns out that at about midnight Ryan18 and Evan17 heard a strange noise in the backyard. They got up to investigate, then went out in the teeming rain to rescue Molly and Bertie. The wind had blown the roof off their kennel and flung it into one of the wicking beds! They fixed the kennel, brought the dogs inside to sleep in their room and didn’t wake me to tell me about it. *sniff* I think my boys are turning into men.
Thermomix Recipe: Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble. In this cold snap we’re having, this sounds too good to pass by.