Saturday, May 12, 2012

Garden Trenches

I'm trying something new. Okay, maybe not new but new to me. I've watched a couple food programs on Netflix lately and since all my gardening books have it too, the experts have spoken and I'd better join the band wagon, for surely it must work.
What works, you say, well those garden trenches I keep seeing.

Being the lazy bum I am, I decided to start on the easiest part of the garden. The part that only needed rototilled once. I'm not sure all the garden will get this treatment. Depends on how much clay worked its way up through the manure and sawdust I've been carting in for years.

Our ground should be devoted to clay pot throwers only, its too ugly for anything else. The sage brush is even puny in this section of the countryside. This ground either has to be soaked for a day or manned by two grown large adults hanging off the tractor's post hole digger to penetrate the ground to drill a post hole. In other words, this is not farming country but here I am gardening in it.

This manure pile section of the garden is the only part of the garden I've rototilled to date as I have a tendency to rototill and plant and rototill and plant working my way from the easiest areas to the hardest getting in the bulk of the garden first.

This area is heavy with manure since I've been trying to raise it up and hopefully someday slant it toward the south instead of the north, a task made more difficult since we are on the northern slope of a hill. Next place we buy, it will be flat or on a south slope. 

A southern slope is the best garden spot since warm air rises and you need all the warmth you can get in this part of Wyoming with a scant 90 frost free days a year.

I took out the shovel and rake and strapped on the sore back  and began digging. Well, maybe I didn't strap it on but it came along for the ride none the less. I knew it would since I have a crowd of bulging disks and a plate in the bottom of my back.That being the main reason I haven't done this before. But as I dug and heaped, I wondered how much the cold air would sink into the trenches and the warm rise up onto the platforms, enough to make a difference?

The task turned out not as bad as I thought it would be and though there weren't too many big worms in this area, there were tons of tiny babies wiggling, an encouraging good sign that the soil was healthy. 
We all know raised beds are the king of gardens and this trench digging and heaping method is the raised bed approach without the wooden sides. With a big area to cover, you just can't afford all that wood. Though I've planned for this section to be tomatoes, carrots, beans, beets, and onions, I couldn't help but think how much my potatoes would love it. But as you know, tomatoes hate potatoes, they are too closely related.  

Since I'm spreading out my tomatoes around the area, there just isn't any place for them to reside. My other goal beyond trenches is to enlarge my experiment on confuse them method. Insects that is, but we'll talk more on that next week.

What I hadn't thought about when I was digging was how clearly this marked the walking paths, excuse me, running paths. That is until our grand daughter pointed it out to me. She was over Wednesday, it's our Storytime day at the library. While I dug, she played in the chicken coop I build last year, I mean play house for it has yet to have any chickens put in it. We have fence down due to re-siding the house last year and since we have dirt that needs brought in to slant the ground away from the house, not towards like it has sunk, then there isn't any point in fencing. Hence, no chickens because dogs can get in to our backyard.
But before we get back to discussing trenches, I have to fulfill my promise of showing you our grand daughter's new slippers a friend gave her at Storytime. 
The left one and the right one. Though which is which, I have no idea.

They were her lawn shoes of choice but  as I was gathering up my tools, she wisely showed up at the garden's edge wearing her turquoise colored chore boots. "Ammaw, where do I step?" she asked?  It dawned on me that this might be the wisest reason yet for digging the trenches. The grand kids will know just where to walk. I mean run for she tried out all the lanes several times each, counting 1,2,3, and yelling, "Run!" as she sprinted down the paths.

Who said gardening with the Little People wasn't fun. Okay, that was me a long time ago when I was writing for the local newspaper. LOL but I've changed my mind.

That was back in my early years when our kids use to help me garden by asking for a handful of seeds and them dump them in the rows, equating to three plants per inch and then run back for another handful. Back when they tripped every few minutes over the strings marking the rows instead of going around and then burst into tears, back when I had three little ones in three and a half years and I didn't know how quickly those precious years would pass nor how fully to enjoy them.

Gardening with the Little People has definitely changed and I've learned a thing or two. This year I've learned that trenches might just be a very good thing.

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