March 24, 2012

New Area Landscaped

Here is part of what Aunt B and I accomplished last Wednesday. We pulled the weeds out from around the few flowers we have and put wood chips down. It looks much better. 

March 23, 2012

Mini Landscaping Update

The leaves are just starting to come out on the trees. I was very disappointed how few trees survived the tornado and drought last summer. Most of the trees that didn't fall over in the tornado had too much bark pulled off to survive. I have been working on clearing areas with the most vines and thorns. I can't let those grow another year or it will be much harder to clear.

Another big problem holding back cleanup is how to remove the cut wood from areas of forest without good access. I'm planning on buying an ATV and that will help, but for now all I can do it stack it and wait. Last Wednesday Aunt B came over and we worked outside all morning. We landscaped the flowers above the parking area. We put down a layer of wood chips. I will post pictures soon. That is now the only part of the entire 21 acres that looks decent.

February 9, 2012

Forest Recovery Planning - Current Situation + Mini Tornado Update

Ever since the tornado I'm been thinking about the quickly, easiest and most effective way to restore and heal the forest. The tornado destroyed all of the large trees by pushing them over and pulling up the roots or just twisting them off above the ground. Some of the smaller trees (10 inches in diameter) survived but most of them lost bark. Unless damaged directly by other trees, almost all of the trees 20 feet tall or less survived without major injury. There are lots of small trees left in the forest, but now they have to be taken care of. They are too thick in some areas, and in other areas vines and weeds are choking them out.

Here are some pictures of the situation:

This part of the forest was cleared by a Bobcat. None of the small trees survived.  There has been very bad erosion in this area since the tornado. The Bobcat broke up and uncovered the soil, thus allowing for rapid erosion. For this area I will plant grass and then plant trees one by one. Most of the standing trees in this area are dead because all the bending broke the bark off the trees close to the base. I'm hoping to put the new trampoline and swing set in this area because of the nice grass. 

This is my future garden spot. Right now it's covered in fallen trees and rising weeds. Forest Recovery is a higher priority to me right now. I hope to be able to grow a garden here by spring 2014. I had a water system and electrical system at the previous garden location. I'm going to have to install a new system at this current location. 

This picture shows what's left of my water system. I had a 2,000 gallon system that would provide gravity pressurized water to my garden.  Trees fell on the tanks and broke the pipes. I haven't checked to see how much of it is still usable. 

I would like to put some type of simple landscaping along the driveway here. The forest on either side of the road is going to become large walls of green in a few years and I would like the first 4 feet on each side of the driveway to look nice. 

This is what's left of my pear tree after the tornado. I'm planning on planting more fruit trees. 

My garden shed after the tornado. Since I'm moving my garden closer to the house I won't be needing this anymore. 

This is my entire garden site. I did some mowing today. There is still a lot of cleanup to be done. 

This is what's left of my cold frame. The tornado took one of my glass doors but left the other. I had plants growing in it when the tornado hit. I haven't done any gardening since the tornado.

This has been a mixture of Forest Recovery Planning and just a normal status update. In this article I have just stated the problems that I"m facing. In future articles I will write about how to solve and work through these problems. For now it's a race against the approaching summer heat. I'm trying to do everything I can while the weather's still good. 

February 6, 2012


Due to a EF-4 Tornado that hit my garden on April 27, 2011, I'm suspending my garden. I will be turning my focus over the next few years towards landscaping. I will be planting trees, and other things landscape related. This will take most of my project time over the next few years. The tornado destroyed my cold frame, fence, pear tree, both garden sheds, water system, electrical system, and numerous tools. I'm also planning on moving my garden closer to the house. There's a lot to do before I can start gardening again. I have all my seeds in the freezer, hopefully they will keep till I start again.

Before the Tornado.

After the Tornado.

My garden after the tornado.

My watering system. 

My house. 

December 8, 2010

Winter Garden Started

A few days before Thanksgiving I started my Winter Garden in my cold frame. I pulled up the weeds and planted Lettuce, Swis Chard, Kale, Spinach and other winter crops. The seeds came up good and are still doing good. It's been very cold (20's at night and low 30's in the day) for awhile but they are doing well under the glass. As soon as it warms up I'll think them out some.

November 13, 2010

Fall Garden Update

The summer gardening season is over. I could have grown a fall garden but I chose not to this year because of how busy I am w/ school and work. Now the process of cleaning up the garden area begins. I need to mow the field, clean out the garden shed, shut down my water system, close up my cold frame, and organize everything. In just a few months the process of planning for a spring garden will begin. I better be ready!

April 20, 2010

Mini Garden Update

I have been very busy lately and have not had time to keep up with my blog. Yesterday I tilled a new area of the garden before it rained. Today we got a lot of good rain. It has been about 12 days since we have had rain and my garden needed it badly. I will soon be uploading more pictures from my garden. 

April 8, 2010

Garden Picture Update

I took pictures of the garden today so here is a picture update on how things are doing. 

My cold frame closed for the night. I have tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers planted in it so I need to be sure I close it on cool nights. (30's. 40's) 

When it warms up be careful about keeping the glass or plastic on your cold frame. Today I put it on in the late afternoon and it warmed up 20 degrees in it in less than 2 hours. ( it was 60 and it warmed up to 80) One day I left the glass on and found it warmer than 120 degrees. Always keep a temperature gauge in your cold frame. It lets you know if it's getting too hot or too cold.  

I made a small speciality garden where I am growing Comfrey and I might grow early tomatoes in the empty lasagna I have there. I marked the beds 20 feet long and 30 inches long. (That makes it 50 square feet) Then I tilled the beds and put wood chips in the walkways. (Don't put wood chips around the plants, it takes up the nitrogen in the soil until it breaks down) 

This is a picture of Comfrey, a great mulch, compost activator and fertilizer.  

Below: This is 5 bales of hay that my mom bought for me. I will use this as mulch around my plants.

The person who brought me the hay didn't realize how wet my field can be under the dry surface. =P 

Another example of how wet and low my field is. 

The solution for having low land. Raised beds! They are wonderful. The small green plants you see in the picture is my experiment with planting under peat moss. I sprinkled radish seeds over the area and then covered them in a thin layer of peat moss. I watered them every day or two and they all came up very fast. It was easy and I didn't have to do any digging with a hoe. 

I mulched my kale and swis chard. It has been very hot lately and the hay will keep the soil cool for the kale. There are many benefits of hay, I will have an article on it later.

April 7, 2010

Mini Garden Update

Yesterday I planted some watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes in soil blocks. I did them in soil blocks so I could move them inside if it gets cold again this year. After planting I went down to the garden and planted carrots. Then I gave most of my plants some alfalfa meal and then watered them all. I called the Barn Owl and asked if they had Buckwheat seeds. They didn't but they said they could order for me. I'm going to call them today to get the price. I want to plant buckwheat in the lower part of my garden where I probably will not plant anything for a few months. Then I'll till the buckwheat under and plant summer stuff.

Ellis Richards

April 5, 2010

Mini Update

This afternoon I went to the Barn Owl. (It's a small gardening store) There I bought two 50 pound bags of Alfalfa Meal, to use as a fertilizer. Last night I left the glass over my cold frame and I forgot to take it off until about 4:00 this afternoon. It got about 92 degrees today. It was over 120 degrees in my cold frame when I took the glass off. I believe I just fried my poor lettuce. Later this afternoon I'm planning on planting the rest of my potatoes.