Aphids, Rocks, and 90 Degrees. Oh My.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Do you have any idea how long it takes to plant enough food to feed 5 people for a year? No? Neither did I.

I am the queen of underestimation. Done planting by June 1st I thought. Bahahaha! Cute.

I was estimating based on how things would have went in Colorado. But you see, nothing is the same here. It's not so much the amount of planting that needs done, it's the rock situation.

Let's talk about rocks. I like rocks. My kids like rocks. We've been known to come home from hikes with pocketfuls of rocks. We've always had a rock garden. Rocks are cool. 

I really like river rocks. I used to admire landscaping, houses, and fireplaces with river rocks. River rocks are cool. 

I am now the proud owner of more river rocks than I could ever endeavor to count. 

When you dig a hole I swear more rocks come out than you could ever possibly fit back in!
When I said in my last post that we have more rocks than soil I wasn't exaggerating. When you dig a hole you can barely get a shovel in for all the rocks (and sometimes you in fact can't get a shovel in). When you dig a hole the actual dirt comes out like peanut brittle that you picked the peanuts out of. It's just little bits of dirt among tons and tons of rocks. 

So many rocks.

Growing food in that kind of 'soil' is going to take some maneuvering. Which of course equates into taking more time.

Anything we have to dig into the ground, like fruit trees, we are way over-digging and adding soil back in to help give them a fighting chance. 

I dug two holes for cherry bushes and about keeled over. Hubby dug the spot for the blueberry bushes and was ready to go buy a tractor (the tractor 'issue' is a whole other post...). Thankfully the neighbor brought their tractor up to dig the holes for the apple, pear, and plum trees. 

Everything else we are doing various forms of raised beds and hills. Lots and lots of hills.

Melons! Several different heirloom varieties planted in these hills.
We bought 2 dump truck loads of soil, but it's pretty clay-type, easily compacted, soil like what we have between the rocks. So we have to amend it for the plants to thrive. To the soil we are adding barley straw and horse manure. Fortunately we got a giant bale of barley straw and we have horse manure galore because the previous owners had horses.

Originally we wanted to do all raised beds out of reclaimed pallets. Unfortunately that has become too time consuming. We have to build a raised bed. Haul the horse manure in a wheel barrow to the dirt pile. Mix our soil, manure, straw concoction. Haul that in a wheel barrow to the planting spot. Then, fill the raised bed. 

Even though we'd built some raised beds in the spring before we could plant, it wasn't enough. We definitely aren't going to have time to build as many as we'd need.

So, I have resorted to hills. Lots and lots of hills. For a hill I just have to mix the soil, manure, straw and make a pile. Plant, then mulch with more straw. Much faster than building beds, though not as handsome.

Raised beds that Darran and the boys made from reclaimed pallets. Fingers crossed I have time for a diy tutorial on these before the snow flies!
Even that feels like it is taking forever! 

Considering our short-ish growing season, I'm a little concerned with not having some things in the ground already. Ah, well, we can only do what we can do. Darran is working a lot, as he does this time of year, so this should get interesting...

Oh yes, and we have an aphid infestation. First, I discovered the existing raised beds that I planted strawberries in were infested. I bought some lady bugs and lacewings. NO big deal.

Well, then some of the nursey plants I purchased were covered in them a few days after bringing them home. Eek. Now my stevia and herb starts are covered with them too! They even killed off some cilantro my son had planted. They're all over everything that hasn't made it outside yet.

Thankfully, lady bugs do in fact eat aphids. I just went outside and caught a couple and brought them in...

And? It's 90 degrees today. Which is why I'm inside writing this post instead of out in the garden like I should be.

Crazy enough, I'm also stupid happy. And completely still hopeful.

Go figure.

First strawberry!
I know this post may sound like a rant, but it's really just an update. This is what's going on, but I'm also enjoying every minute of it. I'm planting, my hands are in the dirt, my heart is full. This is what I'm meant to do. This is what I love.

I do believe we already have enough spinach for a salad. YUM.
Life is good. Things will be what they will be. I'll do my best. But I have to say, it takes a whole lot longer to plant enough food to feed 5 people for a year than one might suppose.

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