The Weekly Digs #111

by Becky

In the Garden

Noelle, my youngest, is funny. She knows there are some crops we don’t eat (she is speaking of cover crops) and she keeps telling me, “Those are just a waste of time if you can’t eat them!” 

Cover crops do seem like a waste of time until you see how well they work!

I remember in our last garden I did a little experiment of tomatoes planted with an inch of compost vs. tomatoes planted right after pea/oat cover crop.

They started out similar but the tomatoes that followed the cover crop were healthier and produced more than the ones with just compost added. I didn’t take down specific data, but it was an obvious enough difference that it convinced me to use cover crops prior to planting as much as possible.

Ever since then, I’ve tried to devote more time and effort into feeding my soil naturally. I planted many cover crops this year in preparation for the plants the are big feeders.

I have a pea/oat cover crop that I covered this week with silage tarp. The crop will die under the black tarp leaving all the nutrients behind and a nice pile of in place mulch for the tomatoes which are going in after.

In addition to covering the area with tarp to prepare for the tomatoes, I also needed to move up the tomatoes to larger planting pots while waiting. They had long since outgrown the soil blocks. Last year, I was able to pot up my tomatoes from the 2 inch soil blocks to the 4 inch and that was that!

This year, my tomatoes were way too leggy and I needed to pot them deep. So I went to our local nursery and asked for 120 four inch pots. Luckily, they did have that many!

I got about 90% potted up because I ran out of the pots. I started to feel a little bit like a crazy plant lady in our residential neighborhood where we are renting because it is an usual sight here. They take up a quarter of our driveway. 

We are Novices with Cows!

I think I may have forgotten to mention a funny blunder we made with our calf. Cameron saw it right after birth and declared it a boy. A few days later, he purchased some green cheerios and a tool to put it on for castrating the cow.

He went out there one day with the kids, fully intending on castrating it and as they were waiting for a good moment. All the sudden the kids were like, “Dad, it’s peeing out the back!” And sure enough it was.  Even though we are new to rearing cows, do know enough to know that a girl pees out the backside and boys go from underneath. Haha!

Cameron had thought it was a boy because he had seen the umbilical cord hanging down. But it is a girl as we soon found out. The kids changed the name from “Jed” to “Pearl”. 

House Progress

We are literally about ten days from moving from this rental! We have been so focused on the garden, the animals, and decisions with our new home that our move from our rental came up fast. I’ve been starting to pack boxes. 

We got permission from our county inspector to get a temporary occupancy permit so we could at least put our boxes in the garage and our fridge and freezers in place. 

Deck is going in!

I’m really glad they approved that. As of the time of writing this, the painters still need to paint the walls and the electrical needs to be hooked up. I hope they can finish that soon so we can move that stuff in there. 

Even though technically we could live there with the permit, we still plan on sleeping outside or in the barn in a tent so we are not in the way. We don’t want to slow anything down.

The painters have been working on filling holes and priming this week. We also finally got the septic started.

Cam is finishing up the shelves for the built-in bookcases this week!

Cameron’s house project for this week was putting up bookshelves above the builtins by the fireplace. We didn’t have the cabinet company do it because we had already gone over budget for cabinets. Cameron decided the shelving in that area was something he could easily do himself to save some money.

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