Do you ever have a week that seems to present one challenge followed by another and another, and on and on it goes? We’ve kinda had a week like that here so far.
Challenge #1 Chris discovered a wet area of earth just outside the door of the yarrow greenhouse. That prompted an entire day of digging on his part to find out where the water was coming from. He unearthed the water line that delivers water to each of the greenhouse spickets, but nothing seemed obviously wrong or broken. He was about to give up and we turned on the main water line again when the leak, a very tiny hole on the underneath side of the pipe, presented itself.
After lots of effort he repaired the pipe and now the greenhouse watering system is back online.
Challenge #2 The same greenhouse which had the outside water leak also decided to deflate unexpectedly this week. The greenhouses are covered in two layers of 6ml plastic that is inflated with air by a small fan that runs 24 hours a day. This inflation helps keep the climate control inside the greenhouse a bit more even and it keeps the outside plastic from ruffling in the wind and getting torn off. So, plastic that doesn’t inflate is a really bad deal. First we thought it was a bad fan, but no that wasn’t it. The electrical outlet seemed not to be working, so Chris checked the breaker and found it had gone off. When he tried turning it back on, sparks went flying and then the whole thing shorted out.
Ok, this isn’t something Chris could repair alone, so we called our electrician, Ed, and after about an hour’s time and replacing some old wiring, everything was fixed and the greenhouse is re-inflated. Whew!
Challenge #3 This is an old challenge that has been haunting Lizz and I for several years and nothing we’ve tried to date has solved the problem. As often happens with perennial gardens, grass and stubborn weeds can move into the garden and become a huge problem to get totally removed. Not for a lack of trying many different solutions to the problem, we have been unsuccessful in solving it, and this year with all the extra rain in spring the grass and weeds have been extra large and extra persistent!
Last week I was so frustrated by the whole deal. Lizz has spent hours and hours tending the gardens! I have spent hours and hours tending the gardens, mainly digging out bindweed and grass and as soon as we think we’ve gotten the problem under control, a few days pass and it looks the same way it did before…just like the first picture with the rabbit in it. There is no pleasure in this kind of gardening! I made a desperate decision. We would lay down a thick layer of cardboard mulch over top everything that was growing in a big area of the garden…weeds, grass, perennials and herbs. Lizz has been working on this for more than a week. It was a very big task.
This morning we hauled loads and loads of wood mulch and covered the cardboard with about 6″ of wood mulch. The garden is effectively a new garden now. A big area is no longer planted in perennials and herbs. There are several shrubs planted in this part of the garden, which are small right now, but will mature and fill in the space over the next couple of years. What was a very large perennial and herb garden will now have several smaller areas planted in herbs and perennials, with larger areas in shrubs.
This had been the long-term plan for the garden anyway, but I had thought it would be several years out before it actually happened. We have so many gardens here on the farm that really there are more gardens to tend to then is reasonable, so I’ve been planning and slowly implementing a shift to some areas becoming more wildlife and pollinator hedges with a lot more shrubs and less perennials and herbs, leaving special areas in the gardens that are planted with perennials and herbs. There are still loads of those areas as part of the gardens, but as we get older it feels better not to have quite so many areas that require intensive weeding care.
The new area really looks good and the areas left that have perennials stand out more now. I’ll spend the fall season putting in some rock borders to further define everything. We have a lot of iris to lift out and divide, so that will be part of the process too. Then we’ll have many colors of iris for sale in the farm stand next spring.
There is still a large area that Lizz will put cardboard down in and we’ll cover with wood mulch, so the project isn’t complete by any stretch of the word, but hopefully we’ll have an upper hand on some of the grass and bindweed now. Once all this is done, there are pathways throughout all the various gardens to be mulched with wood mulch too, so the fall is going to be garden busy, but in a good way.
A few weeks back I was sharing about the garlic harvest. I have a bumper crop this year and these baskets above are only a small portion of the harvest. Sometime before too much longer I’m going to take my friend, Jame’s advice, and puree up a bunch of peeled garlic with olive oil and then freeze it for use this winter. I think I’ll also roast a bunch, as Chris and I really enjoy roasted garlic in our cooking. Of course, some will be planted back into the food garden next month as the beginning of next year’s garlic crop.
Other great news, among all these farm challenges, is that I finished my book manuscript this week and sent it over to my editor at Storey Publishing. That feels like a huge project accomplished, and indeed it is. Now that the manuscript is in the hands of my editor, she’ll go to work on it, with the Storey team, and later in fall it will come back to me for some editing work that always needs to be done on these book writing adventures. Then later still in the winter, I’ll have a last bit of work to review the final edited book and then it goes to the printing and marketing stages. With a bit of good fortune it will be on schedule for release in December 2016 or January 2017. As you can see, book projects take a long time before they end up being for sale in a bookstore, but this first very big portion of the project is complete now.
That leaves me catching up on other tasks that have been set aside to allow time for writing. Hopefully, now I have a bit of time for a little fun (hiking, working on my needlework, and reading books for pleasure), and I have friends who have been patiently waiting for visits and who have been giving me so much moral support during my writing. I’m looking forward to starting to catch up on a little visiting too.
It’s almost the autumn! In fact, today was actually a bit chilly, but that will be short-lived, as tomorrow we’re supposed to be back in the 90’s again for temperatures for the foreseeable future. Summer is still here for a while, but soon the autumn will arrive. I can’t wait! My favorite time of the year, with comfortable temps, beautiful fall colors in all of nature, time for my own gardening and personal projects. Maybe even a camping trip mixed in with a bit of luck. We still have plenty of farm work to do, but nothing like the late winter, spring and summer seasons when farm chores seem endless. It’s a season to look forward to.
With Green Thoughts, Tammi