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April Showers

April 23, 2011

Raised bed of lettuce, tomatoes, 6 different t...

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Rain in Bippus Slow to Disperse

Since the Sunny day we had on the Friday before Good Friday, every stinkin day has been overcast.  Gray with a chance of rain.  The sun did come out briefly on Good Friday, but (as reminded by Wifey) it was still cloudy between 12 noon and 3 p.m.  My Bible study readers will get that,  others will have to *Google*  something like 3 hours of darkness on Good Friday or some such.

The point here is that it has been MOIST.  As I look out across the fields beyond the raised beds of peas and potatoes, I clearly see the low spots in the farm fields.  Our basic soil structure is CLAY.  Clay soil is made of the finest particles, absolutely tiny, and they bind together to form a nearly impervious layer.  So the low spots in the fields become obvious after ten or more days of rain in a two week span, because they are puddles.  Puddles that may reach twohunnert feet across.  The ground is saturated, the low spots retain their water, and the ditches, streams and rivers are running near their crests with water the color of coffee with cream in it.

Who Cares about Puddles?

So who cares if puddles are forming in the farm fields?  Ha!  Good question, dear reader.  My back garden, the one right next to the chicken pen, is a mini version of the fields I described above.  That garden may only be eighty by sixty feet, but IT has puddles.  the earth won’t absorb that water, and the low spot can’t drain it away.  If one walks out there, their feet become giant clods of clay, despite the fact that we’ve added 4 to 6 inches of leaves, grass clippings, straw and animal manure each fall.  It means we can’t work in the garden.  No digging, no tilling, no tractor dragging the plow or the disc through the mud.

So What If…

…if there was a raised bed over there then maybe we would be able to plant some seeds or transplant some of the greenery from indoors.  Raised beds just plain drain better.  If built properly, they hold their shape against the onslaught of the April Showers.  The downside is they prohibit tractor travel, requiring the use of hand tools.  Right now I am lamenting the fact that I don’t have one or two more (empty) raised beds, since the forecast for the G.B.A. holds six days of rain or showers in the next ten days.

And that is what makes this home made food production idea so much fun.  How many raised beds (total square feet) is enough?  How much shovel work can one team do?  Should I purchase a bigger tiller?  Will it pay for itself by offsetting the cost of aspirin needed after days upon days of too much shovel work?

Too many rain days in a row without getting dirt under one’s fingernails can really get to  a guy.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2011 1:50 pm

    Grinning, sounds a bit like my new garden plot. I am putting in my ‘new’ garden in the middle of what as a large wheat field. Like you my soil is very tight clay with little or no organic matter in the soil.

    Hang in there, keep adding organic material and in time you will build your plot into a wonderful garden.
    good luck and Happy gardening


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